How To Land Your Dream Job Right Out Of College | My Top Tips

Hello, friends-- Happy Friday! As some of you may know, I recently landed a fabulous new job in NYC. Throughout the process, I realized how much I learned since the first time I was applying to jobs out of college and how much I wish I knew all this stuff the first time around! 

Landing a job certainly isn't easy-- It takes a lot of time, work and some disappointment, but once you find the perfect fit it will all be worth it! I wanted to write out my top tips for recent college grads (or those looking to leave their current jobs) since I think my experience can help others! Keep on reading to find out how to land your dream job!

Where to Even Begin?
First things first, you need to figure out what you want to do. When I first graduated with a degree in Communication, a minor in Digital Comms and a few social media/PR internships, I really didn't know HOW much was out there.

My Biggest tip here is to start searching through job sites (more on my go-tos below) using keywords for things you're interested in. Once you find a job posting that sounds right for you, begin searching that specific title and companies similar to the company the original job post was for. 

It took me all of the summer after graduating to realize the title of the job I wanted was "Community Manager." I had never heard that term before and it took me stumbling upon a job posting while searching "social media jobs" to find it, but once I did, my search was much more successful. I was able to search by job title and find a ton of companies that worked in the social space and eventually, I landed one of those jobs.

Kill Your Resume
You've heard all about how important this little piece of paper is for the past four years, but your professors weren't kidding! This one-paged document will help you land phone and in-person interviews and serve as a talking point for all communication with potential hiring managers. Below are my top 4 tips to keep your resume ready for their eyes!

1. Add relevant experience only. I know this can be hard when you're first out of college if you haven't done any internships and only worked a few jobs like waitressing, cashier etc, but you can turn a lot of your general positions relevant for your career. For example, if you were a waitress in college and you're applying for a client-facing role, you can expand on how you had to create relationships with all customers to ensure they had an excellent visit.

2. When writing your resume, make sure your points are concise and the tense you're writing in is consistent. For example, if you currently work at your most recent job, all points should be in present tense, where past jobs should be in past tense. Below is a clip from my resume (changed a bit for privacy reasons) to showcase tense and how I was able to make my sentences short and sweet, but descriptive enough to get my point across.

3. Keep your resume to ONE PAGE ONLY. Seriously. 99% of hiring managers will not look at a resume that's over 1 page. This is part of the reason you need to stay concise and relevant to make every line count. The hiring manager most likely won't care too much about the 2 month babysitting stint you did freshman year of college, but they will appreciate a job you held while going to college. Be picky with what you want them to know.

4. My last tip, which may be a bit tedious (and trust me, I never wanted to do it haha), is to revise and edit both your resume and cover letter to speak directly to the position you're applying for. You should re-order key skills and tweak wording to match the job description. The edits to your resume will likely be minimal, where the edits to your cover letter should be quite drastic. Your cover letter should hit on most of the points in the job description and should be fully customized to the position.

Step Up Your LinkedIn Game
I had to create my LinkedIn profile as a part of my first internship in college and connect to at least 20 people to get credit towards my degree. I remember being quite annoyed (since I didn't know anyone on the platform yet) and didn't really know what I was going to use it for. Fast forward a few years and LinkedIn is one of the most important parts of the job search process.

For those of you who don't know, LinkedIn is a professional social network. You can follow brands, colleagues, influencers and more to stay connected to those who's paths you've crossed in your professional endeavors. Your LinkedIn profile should be an extension of your resume. This is where you can really build on what you've done and accomplished since there is no "one page limit" like your resume has.

LinkedIn is also an amazing place to find and apply to jobs, as it's mostly "one click" and all you have to do is upload your resume! Another great thing about LinkedIn is a lot of recruiters use the platform to find candidates so the more thorough you are here, the better!

One final note on LinkedIn, make sure your photo is of just you and not in a "party" type setting. Make it as professional as possible!

Recruiters Are Your Friends
As mentioned for a hot second above, recruiters can really help you find something that's perfect for you! I used to think you'd have to pay a recruiter (which is some cases you may, but you would know up front) so I didn't respond when they would reach out to me on LinkedIn-- Biggest mistake ever! Recruiters, especially those who reach out to you first, are looking for people with similar backgrounds to you. They get paid by the company, so you don't need to worry about that! It's so worth hopping on the phone with one and letting them know what you want to do and what experience you have and they can help guide you/send you recommended jobs based off of that. 

Where I Searched For Jobs
Disclaimer; where you should search for jobs will definitely depend on the industry you're looking to get into. As mentioned, I work in advertising, so while these sites were great for me, they may not be the best if you're looking for, let's say, a teaching job (another note, I could be wrong and these could be great for that too haha.)

My number one site for jobs was LinkedIn. You can get very specific in your search which was super helpful. Another feature that I really liked about LinkedIn is that when you went to a job posting or a companies page, they display "similar jobs" and "similar companies" where you can then click through and check out postings you may not have found otherwise.

I also searched on Media Bistro, which houses a ton of media/advertising jobs. And lastly, is heading directly to the source, the company's website. There are a ton of huge advertising agencies that house all their jobs on their website only. While these applications are usually much more in depth, it's worth heading right to the source!

My Final & Biggest Piece of Advice (For Now :P)
Don't get discouraged. Job searching is hard and takes up so much of your time so it's natural to get really bummed when something doesn't work out. You will likely apply to 100 jobs and only hear back from 10 and only get an interview at 5. You can't let that get you down! I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason and when the perfect opportunity arrises, it will all work out. I got so upset when I didn't get some of the jobs I interviewed for, but looking at where I am now, I'm SO thankful those didn't work out as I'm exactly where I want to & should be. It will all work out, so keep positive. You got this!!

So I really apologize for this long-winded post! I just wanted to make sure I got as much of my advice in as I could since I recently lived the struggle of finding a new job. I'm thinking of doing a few more posts around this subject (possibly interview tips, resume & cover letter templates, how network, how to to keep a job etc.) so let me know if there's anything you're interested in hearing about in the comments!

Thanks so much for reading! Happy job hunting :)


1 comment

  1. This made me laugh a bit only because this is essentially what I do/am doing. Also, the world is small so it is usually more about who you know than what you know. Networking gets you jobs faster than any amount of experience in the world.

    S .x