lifestyle

So you've finished your degree, but your dream job hasn't appeared.

This advice goes out to anyone who’s got their dream degree but not their dream job.

I remember having a conversation with a young acquaintance who was enrolled in a PR/Comms degree. She boldly said to me: “When I finish my degree I’ll walk STRAIGHT into a management role.”

At the age of 20.

Er, no.

Students often believe that a piece of paper will open all the doors with loads of money — but unless you’re a graduating doctor or dentist, this is pretty unlikely.

Here are some tips to help students get the experience they need while studying. Whether you’re a student straight out of school or the parent of one (or you’re just looking to change careers), this is advice worth taking.

1. Do your research.

What type of company do you see yourself working for? Is it a government agency, a private business or a huge conglomerate? These are pretty important questions to ask yourself, because they form part of your mud map in navigating the real world for your dream job.

There’s a plethora of organisations in the world, and there will be at least half a dozen that you’ll want to work for. You just need to work out which ones they are.

Check out company profiles, their ethos and their work, all of which will usually be on their company website.

2. Seek guidance.

I was always a great believer in obtaining feedback to check in on how I’m travelling.

Your lecturers are there because they have the experience to not only teach you but to guide you. If graduation is looming and you’re in a flap because you’re not sure which move to make next, your lecturer is the first person you should be having a chat with. They’re the people who will know where your strengths and weaknesses lie and how you can work on them.

This also prepares you for working under a boss that will give you feedback from the minute you get a job.

3. Prep your resume.

This is a big one. You need to have a kick-arse resume.

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Forget the hobbies of ‘walking on the beach’ or ‘travelling the world’; these are nice things to want to do, but don’t really relate to working.

You can impress your future boss with your ‘interestingness’ when you get an interview. But for now, populate your resume with things that the employer you want to work for will be looking for.

Don’t worry about end-of-year exam results: just demonstrate an understanding of the role and show the evidence for this.

4. Find an internship.

Think work experience is just for bored high school spotty teens? Think again.

When you’re doing your degree, you need to be scoping the industry out for some work experience, which is usually called an internship. You need to be doing this in your first semester at the earliest.

I tend to advise students that they need to find their groove with the course content to make sure they’re happy with the course they’ve chosen and then start to approach employers they’d like to work for.

An internship is a wonderful opportunity to get a sense of the industry you’re planning to work in and, offers you some actual experience you can put on your resume when you graduate. If you do manage to score one, always be punctual, dress appropriately and be enthusiastic for any task you’re given.

Sadly there’s no magic potion for finding a job when you finish up at uni, but these tips should help you get prepared and more importantly, get noticed.

Now, go forth and find work.

Footnote: The family friend’s daughter is now working as a receptionist. She didn’t follow any of this advice. I rest my case.

What advice do you have for finding your dream job?

Want more? Try these:

The job interview mistake I didn’t even know I was making.

How to make your CV look impressive (no graphic design degree required).

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