Want to Land Your Dream Job? Tips for Recent College Grads

pursuing a career

The following is a guest post by Nick Murphy.  His bio follows.

You did it, congrats on your college graduation! You should take the next 5-10 days to celebrate, relax and get energized because what’s coming next is work… lots of it.

The good news is that you don’t ever have to cram for another final exam. The bad news, is that having a career is sort of like having a final everyday of your life for the next 40 years. Your performance will be monitored and reviewed and you’ll be consistently pushed to do your work more efficiently, at a lower cost and with fewer resources than you enjoyed the year prior.

To help you enter your career with a positive mindset, ready to kick ass and take names, it’s imperative that you have a definitive guide to get you started off on the right foot.

Here are my Top 4 Tips for New College Grads to land your dream job.


Your career is just getting started, and while you may feel like you executed your plan of earning a degree and landing a job, you must have a career plan as well. Chances are your first job out of school isn’t going to be your last. Amen.

Because of that, it’s critical to understand what you’re looking to learn and experience in your first role. If your first job is a stepping stone to another job – say Business Development Manager to Enterprise Sales Executive — understand what you’ll need to be great at in your future role to be successful. How can your current role / team / company provide you with opportunities to learn and experience other aspects of the business that may not be directly in your job description?

As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Always think about what’s next and use the resources at your disposal to help prepare you for it.


No one knows what they don’t know. But let me assure you that know a lot less than you think you do. The key is to quickly learn where your gaps are and look for opportunities to fill them in by observing, contributing to or learning from other employees across departments.

For example, you may know how to sell advertising, but do you understand the indirect factors that influence your pricing? The competitive landscape? The perception and needs of the prospects you sell to? How they measure your product or service’s value? Do you understand the internal components of supply chain, logistics and margin necessary to provide great products at a competitive price?  If not, start learning ASAP.


With rare exception, the career advice you get from Mom or Dad is going to be downright harmful. But don’t worry, they still love you and mean well. It’s just that the working world has changed a lot since your parents were in your shoes. “Start at the bottom and work your way up,” doesn’t work anymore. Career advancement happens on purpose through planning, awareness, opportunism and hard damn work. What worked for your Mom and Dad when they graduated college likely won’t work for you in 2017.



Your greatest assets inside your new company are your coworkers, but likely not your direct supervisor. Find a mentor on Day One and make sure that that person understands that you are eager to learn. Absorb everything and be a sponge. Pay attention to how they speak, how they dress and their reputation inside the organization.

What you learn may not be exactly how you choose to do your job, but being mentored by a well-respected tenured employee can help you avoid common pitfalls related to performance, internal politics, and more.

On the first day of my first job I was equal parts excited, proud, terrified and uncertain. It’s OK to feel many different emotions in your career, and you undoubtedly will. Stay committed to your plan, know your real value, chase your passions, and do it with focus and energy. If you do that and take heed of my tips above, I have no doubt you’ll quickly become as successful as you aspire to be. Good luck!

About the Author

Nick Murphy is a former NFL player, a seasoned Jobs Expert and the CEO of Mid-America Careersand Job Spot, Inc. His insights have been featured by Fox Business, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo.com, ERE.net, Business Insider, and many regional outlets. His ideas and concepts are sought for keynotes at leading conferences, national webinars and have been featured in HR.com’s HR Genius series.

 Find him here on Facebook and Twitter.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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