How to Find a Job You Love Right Out of College

If there’s one question you can anticipate as a college student, it’s the inevitable, What are you going to do when you graduate? We might smirk, partly out of annoyance, but mostly because it’s the dangling truth. What will I do? How will I make money? Who will I work for?

While you may be contemplating post-graduation decisions, including the infamous job search, there are a few pieces of good practice that we careerists would like to offer. It may not be advice you necessarily hear in school, but trust us, there’s much more to finding a job you’ll truly love once you step into the “real world.” You may find it has little to do with chasing paper.

1. Ignore positions.

It’s common for recent grads to first jump to entry-level positions in their fields. Everyone knows this, because it’s what most people do. Though it’s not necessarily a bad method, it doesn’t consider the type of company you may want to work for right off the bat; you’re at the mercy of companies looking for that certain role. Furthermore, it severely limits prospective jobs that you may qualify for. Instead, start by creating a list of industries and sectors you would like to work for. Identifying jobs from the outside in, as opposed to the inside out, will assure you only apply for jobs within businesses that you yourself could buy into.

2. Reach out to your better connections.

It’s one thing to reach out to your connections, a.k.a. people who could potentially get your foot in the door. It’s another thing entirely to communicate with people you trust and have worked well with in the past. Think about it… is it more impactful to know someone who knows someone, or to be someone your colleagues will rave about because you’re an awesome team player? If someone is going to vouch for you, then they better know what they are talking about. Again, connections are good, but real relationships are always better.

3. Stick to your values.

As a prospective candidate, you should already be bought into the company’s “why.” This is probably the most important aspect you could consider. Not what a company does, but why they do it. In addition, you should do some self-evaluation by understanding what your own values are. For example, if you are strongly in favor of women’s workplace equality, then a company with an all-male executive suite may not suit you, no matter how glamorous things may seem on the exterior. Not being true to yourself will only lead to career misery. A few months of under employment or unemployment will pale in comparison to sacrificed values.

4. Know your growth capabilities and work style.

A good employer will want to hire you with the intent of increasing value for the company in addition to your own self-value. This means you should look for a job that challenges you and your potential, not one that simply offers incentive for doing more work. If you’re able to get insight, either from company reviews or during your interview process, also try to get a feel about how employees view that position and plan to utilize that role. The work style should match how you want to work with others. If you work best on teams, let that be known. Your expectations of the position should be fully understood in order to fully enjoy what you’ll be doing. Don’t leave any rock unturned. After all, it’s your career.

What are some suggestions for finding a job you’ll love after graduation? Tell us in the comments below!

Sarah Arrazola

Sarah Arrazola is a communications professional in Miami, Fla. Her passions focus on Latin American issues, fine art and the digital age. In her spare time she enjoys aerial silks and traveling. As a young professional with experience in the PR industry, she's excited to share her thoughts with you on Your Coffee Break. Follow her on Twitter @sarah_arrazola