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How to Start Your Dream Career: Tips for Students

Of course, you want to do what you love. Who doesn’t? The question is how do you actually go about doing it? What can you do to change your dream into something that actually represents some kind of plan?

Here we’re going to explore some of the most important steps you can take to getting the career that fills your head (and heart) at night.

It’s important to note that you can’t wave a magic wand to get where you want to go. Instead, it’s going to take some hard work and some real conviction. The best predictor of whether you’ll actually end up doing what you love isn’t intelligence, nor is it who you know; it’s perseverance and grit. So, whatever you do, don’t give up. Push onwards and upwards.

The sky really is the limit if you’re willing to reach that high!

Steps and leaps

The best thing you can do is to take a two-pronged approach. On the one hand make the Hail Marys (aka the long shots) and aim for the moon. On the other hand, you’ll also want to make some less ambitious plays — where you aim to just get a job that gets you in the industry that you want to join or where you can learn the skills that you’ll need to get closer to where you want to go.

The reason that you want to follow this strategy is so that if the long shots don’t pan out (which, let’s face it, often they don’t), then you’ll still have backup plans that move you in the right direction. Even better, by having the backup options, when one of the dream opportunities presents itself, you’ll be a little less nervous as though a lot rides on this, not everything does.

Take extracurricular activities in the right direction

When a real opportunity does present itself, you want to be in the best position you can be. To that end, make sure that you’re taking courses and opportunities that will look good to people in your dream sector. Take extra classes, read books related to your field of interest, join clubs and do anything else that you need to which will:

  1. Teach you the right skills
  2. Make it clear that you’ve learned them

Most people scoff at that second point. They think that people should just recognize their greatness without proof and think . Those are people who will not get far in life. Don’t be one of them. Understand the power of building a personal brand and the power of looking good and marketing yourself well.

Have your resume ready

Make sure your resume is up-to-date and ready to go. That way, when you come across job opportunities, you can send off a perfect copy of your CV without delay. This is much better than having to rush to put one together at the last minute, as it likely won’t be the best it can be. In fact, it might end up being full of mistakes and typos that you won’t catch because you’re too busy rushing around like a headless chicken.

Don’t let that happen.

Imagine what skills your dream job would need and write the perfect CV for it. Then ask for feedback from friends, family and trusted mentors that know how to make your resume even better. You may even consider using a resume-writing service to make it better. Here are some good writing service reviews to look through, so that you can find the best company.

Be proactive in your job search

Yes, it is possible to find your next job through the popular job sites. It is not, however, the easiest method. Because there is often a high volume of job-seekers searching through these sites, there is a lot of competition. This can be even more difficult if you are just breaking into the field and don’t have that much experience yet. For that reason, you may opt to tap into the hidden job market and go directly to company websites of interest and request an informational interview to get in the door.

Connect with people over social media that you haven’t spoken with for a while. Create relationships with professors and school faculty. Go to social events that are in the direction of your dream job. Ask for advice from anybody that you know who works in the sector. Do whatever it takes to appear on the radars of people that you think might know people. In fact, work hard to appear on everybody’s radar. You never know which people will have the connections that you’re looking for and sometimes perceived weak connections are better for finding jobs.

And then, just keep going. After all, it doesn’t matter how many “No’s” they give you. All you need is one “Yes.” So, don’t focus on how many times you’ve been rejected. Instead, see those rejections as stepping stones to your ultimate success.

The world is full of quitters. None of them will ever get their dream job. So keep going. Then you will.

Want some extra support in finding a job after college? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

About the Author Nelma Lumme

Nelma Lumme is freelance content writer. Originally from Finland, she now lives in Chicago, IL. Nelma studied sociology at the University of Tampere, and after her graduation, she worked as HR manager at the textile company. Now she helps people with career questions, providing useful tips for recruiters and employees through her articles. Her topics of interest cover mostly psychology, career development, self-improvement and relationships. You can follow Nelma on Twitter and Facebook..

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