Before I wrote this blog, I did some research on what other bloggers are talking about on landing their dream job. I found that most bloggers discounted the importance of doing the fundamental things that you must do in order to set yourself apart in the job market.  Because let’s face it, as soon as you graduate, you are then put into a pool known as a “Job seeker”, and the transition from being a job seeker to being employed is based on your ability to prove to employers why they should choose you.

I would like to share these fundamental things that helped me among the thousands to land my dream job in just three months right out of college:

Step 1: I Knew What I Wanted

I think the most important thing to do first, is to establish your first step and to define what you’re passionate about. I know this can be difficult at times, especially when you’re just coming into college from high-school, and all that’s in your mind is parties, booze, and hookups…

Saving money in college - WalletGyde
In fact studies by PeopleResults, a human-capital consulting firm that advises clients like PepsiCo, Accenture, and Microsoft have shown that the No. 1 mistake job seekers make is not being able to articulate what kind of job they want. Many are not really sure what they want to do and this uncertainty is reflected in their interviews, causing them not to get the job. For me, this was kind of easy because ever since I was 16 years old, I knew I would be in finance or business. So I jotted down the top financial firms that I wanted to work for. Among the top of this laundry list of companies were Goldman Sachs, J.P Morgan, and Charles Schwab.

Once I knew the industry and the company I wanted to work for, the next step was to create a roadmap on how I was going to get there…

Get your dream job by starting your roadmap - WalletGyde

If you’re thinking, “I don’t know what I want to do” then the answer to this is to submerge yourself in a ton of different subjects and see what interests you the most.  Find different clubs to join in school that can keep you your mind thinking. When I was in college, I attended a variety of different student clubs and got my hands in as many programs as I could, all while still trying to maintain a stellar GPA.

Another suggestion..? Check out the local start-up scene to land your dream job.

Denver Startup Week - WalletGyde

I live in Colorado and Denver is among the fastest growing cities in America, and its start-up scene is even hotter. As a student, this is an opportunity for you to invest your time to learn a variety of different skills about the business world that will give you a competitive edge when you become a job seeker. Open a Meetup account and join clubs that pertain to fields you’re interested in! Organizations that I attended that helped me along my journey were; General Assembly, Galvanize, and Rocky Venture Club to name a few. These organizations taught me about marketing, product development, investing, and other skills that helped boost my professional brand.

Step 2: I Aligned My Personal Brand With My Goals

Once I knew what I wanted, the next step was to create a professional persona that would help me stand out in the job seeker pool. After just a little research on the topic, I quickly understood the importance of personal branding to land my dream job!

As part of my research, I spoke with Personal Brand Strategist and Founder of Cake Resumes, Erica Breuer, to learn more about what it takes to build an effective personal brand. Here are some highlights  from our conversation:

Caleb: Where do most people go wrong when using LinkedIn to build their brands?

Erica: A lot of the time, they tackle it from a “me-me-me” approach instead of a “we-we-we” mindset. Telling your story is the core of personal branding, no question, but most job seekers overlook the need to frame and present their stories in terms of what their target companies or audience wants to hear.

What they end up with are social profiles that look like sandboxes that capture everything and anything about their careers, rather than curated collections of stories that prompt visitors to say “Ooo! I can wait to learn more about this person!”

Caleb: Alright, let’s talk resumes. What’s the #1 piece of advice that you always find yourself offering job seekers?

Erica: It goes right back to that idea of curating and editing I just mentioned. A lot of the time my clients are compelled to catalog every responsibility, every twist and turn from their background—making it hard for their truly juicy career wins to stand out.

My number one piece of advice is to balance contextual details with those about your accomplishments in telling the story of any role you’ve held. Lists of duties just won’t cut it!

Caleb: Would you say the same is true of cover letters? Are most job seekers prone to presenting information that’s not really selling them to prospective employers?

Erica: Absolutely. A lot of people come to me with cover letters that are paragraph-style interpretations of their resumes, written in overly-formal language to boot. What these candidates are missing out on isn’t just the chance to tell a bigger story than what’s outlined on their resume, they’re losing the chance to show they understand the company at hand and to show genuine enthusiasm for it.

My conversation with Erica cemented everything I’d learned in researching personal branding. I built my brand by focusing on effectively curating my story on my resume and social media platforms.  As a result of doing this, I began to see traction in the form of job offers from financial staffing agencies such as RobertHalf while still in school. I was well on my way to landing my dream job!

Step 3: I Gained Experience Through an Internship

Contrary to most of the blogs that wrote about landing a dream job, internships still take precedence if you are looking to stand out in the crowd of job seekers…

Gain experience through internships - WalletGyde

Experience is still the 10- dirty letter word that most if not all job seekers have to have in order to make their Resume more attractive than the next job seeker.

To land my internship at Scottrade when I was a senior, I used Glassdoor. Another great resource is Internships.com. Check it out. It’s an online application that is powered by Chegg, the school supply company, and you can use it to find internships in your local area. It’s super convenient!

My internship with Scottrade really helped build my resume. By the time I graduated and became a job seeker, I chose Charles Schwab as the company to work for, and when I had an interview I had already done enough personal branding on my LinkedIn profile to build that professional image they were looking for, and my resume reflected that, which allowed me to land the Job in just three months after I graduated.

There it is! No secret to it all!  Let’s recap what I did again:

1)  I was clear about what I wanted.

2) Built my personal brand.

3) Got experience in the related field.

For more advice on how to boost your personal brand on social media check out Erica’s post titled Should I Use Social Media to Make a Career Change? It’s awesome!

Be on a look out for future blogs and vlogs coming from the WalletGyde team tailored to help you save and achieve your financial goals!

Please comment if you have any questions about this topic or reach out to me directly!

And of course, stay tuned for Walletgyde’s Beta Launch!