Just because you didn’t go to Harvard or Stanford, doesn’t mean your chances of landing your dream job won’t be a reality.

 

While there are recruiters that target these schools for new employees, there are ambitious grads at other colleges too. You need to work a little harder to stand out, but your hustle will pay off when you land your dream job!

 

There are ambitious graduates with a plethora of skills and talents and can make their career happen in Silicon Valley and NYC. There are tons of jobs that can launch your work like, whether you’re technical or not.

 

No matter what role you play on your company’s team, it is important to contribute your skills and ideas.

 

  1. Secure internships during college

Internships have become a “must-have” for many technology and finance recruiters. Internships allow you to learn the inner workings of a company before you get hired. Also, you get to form relationships with current employees who can go on to be advocates for you during your entire career! Career mentors and advocates can be extremely beneficial, because they can vouch for you if someone tries to question your skills and abilities.

 

  1. Research your company

Doing your homework on your future company helps you stand out from the other college grads. Learning about the various aspects of your company helps you see how you fit in the big picture of the organization.

 

After interning at a few companies you have a better framework for what type of company you want to work for. Maybe there’s a company that stands out for you based on your values, or they have an amazing training program. Do research on the company and get to know everything you can about it! When it’s time to interview, there will be no question you can’t intelligently answer!

 

  1. Add new skills

Just because you got hired at your company to work in marketing, doesn’t mean that you can’t learn the fundamentals of, say, developing Android apps. By networking with other departments in your company, you’ll be surrounded by people with skills and expertise in other fields. You’ll learn something new and may even start to see your work in a new way! It also adds some great resume building skills. A marketer that can code would be an asset to your technology company (some areas of finance too!).

 

  1. Share your story

Once you have new skills under your belt, it’s time to share it with others. Crafting your story so it’s exciting and compelling will help you in networking and the job search. What brought you to Silicon Valley, instead of a more traditional path for a non-techie? Explain why you’re a good fit for the company. And what interests you about the technology and/or startup world are just a few questions to help you get started on your story.

 

  1. Networking

Ambitious graduates know networking is the single most important thing you can ever do secure work.  

 

Networking doesn’t have to be superficial. Genuinely getting to know people, their background(s) and motivations can help you form lifelong relationships of mutual respect and support. Networking leads to some outsize career moves for those who invest in their network relationships.

 

There are many ways to start networking. Don’t be shy about asking industry veterans who come to your campus for their contact info, so that you can follow up via email with specific questions. Or, if you find a potential mentor on LinkedIn, send them a message introducing yourself and ask to meet for coffee to talk about your job path. Another great way to meet new people in your field is your school’s career office or alumni programs. Professors are another great resource to build your network.

 

  1. Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are an under-utilized tool in the job search arena. If you have your dream company established and met with some of their key players, then email one of them and see if you can setup a time to come into their office to learn more about the company and their position.

 

  1. Get a company reference for your application

Now that you’ve graduated from college, it’s time to start submitting resumes and perfecting your interview skills. When you submit an application reach out to those in your network that work at that company. They may serve as an internal resource for you that help move your application through the process.