This story was originally published May 18, 2018.
Whether you’re a new graduate or having a quarter-life or midlife crisis, it’s easy to feel like the job you truly want is snapped up before you even have time to apply.
Knowing how to land a dream job might be easier than you think, however. It requires networking so that your connections can help you get there. But before that point, it’s imperative to create a roadmap toward that ultimate career so that you can work your way there as efficiently as possible.
Consider these and other tips to learn how to land your dream job on a faster timeline.
When Laura Mael was laid off from a banking job she liked in 2011, she did what many newly unemployed people do: She regrouped.
“I found my dream job by evaluating what I really loved to do over my 25-year career and listing the things I wanted to keep doing as well as stop doing,” Mael, who now works for a consulting company, tells Student Loan Hero.
There were 17 things on the positive side, and Mael got to do all of them at her next job.
How to land a dream job: Consider other strategies to ensure that the dream job you’ll be chasing is worth getting. Start by interviewing someone who currently holds the position you covet. Don’t just ask how they got it. See if you can shadow them for a day or more so you can get a feel for what the job is really like.
Rachel Carroll had the benefit of knowing during her college years that she wanted to be a designer. Upon graduation, she sought out a junior designer role only to be rebuffed.
“Before landing my dream job, I was an intern,” Carroll, who’s now a product manager, tells Student Loan Hero. “It isn’t always easy pursuing an internship, [as] the demands are high, and many internships are unpaid or provide only a small stipend. [But] the payoff is invaluable.”
How to land a dream job: If you find yourself in Carroll’s shoes, don’t think internships are beneath you. They could lead right into your preferred role.
If you’ve been out of college longer, see if you might have to retrace your steps to earn a different degree, continue your education or take on an entry-level position. You won’t want to be disqualified by hiring managers for your dream job because you never gained a basic certification.
Your road map should outline each step up that it’ll take to answer the question of how to land your dream job. Carroll, for example, wanted to lead the UX team for her previous startup. So she started on a spectrum that included titles such as intern designer, UX or user interface designer and head of design.
If Carroll didn’t enjoy the ins and outs of UX design, she probably wouldn’t have loved managing a design team. So, working her way along the spectrum also gave her confirmation that she was pursuing the right gig.
How to land a dream job: Make your career road map even more worthwhile by estimating how much time you should spend in each position. You can find hints by considering the job description for your dream role. The description could reveal what experience you need to qualify.
Also, getting hands-on experience is imperative. It could prove to hiring managers that you’ve experienced — not just read about — everything you need to know for your ultimate gig. It’ll also confirm your career choice for yourself — as it did for Carroll.
Throughout her career, Mael hasn’t been afraid to switch employers if it kept her pointed north on her road map.
When trying to figure out how to land a dream job, she knew a switch might be necessary. So Mael started reconnecting with friends and colleagues, including those she worked with at four previous companies.
“I started sharing with everyone, ‘I love to do this, do you know anyone who needs someone who does this?’” Mael says.
How to land a dream job: Keep in mind that every former colleague and current co-worker is a connection that could help push you where you want to go. Your alumni network could be useful too. Include all your contacts as you network your way to the top.
|More networking tips from Mael|
|● Attend seminars, talks and conferences related to your dream job field.
● Find a career coach or mentor with experience in the field.
● Make connections at every turn, and add them to your optimized LinkedIn profile.
● Remember that not all career advice is good advice.
Now imagine interviewing for your dream job. You’re sitting across from a hiring manager, and they have your resume in one hand and the job description in the other.
What isn’t going to match up? It’s healthy to ask yourself this question as you follow your road map — and before you start applying for your dream job.
Mael, for example, had more than two decades of experience working toward her dream job as a public relations professional. However, she identified four gaps in her resume, including lack of experience with TV or radio and lack of connections with influencers in her field.
One of Mael’s less-than-dream jobs on her way up the ladder, however, allowed her to interview C-level executives on-air. That experience helped her fill some of the holes on her resume.
How to land a dream job: When critiquing your candidacy for your dream job, be constructive. When you identify areas where you’re lacking, strategize on how to improve. Volunteer to take on extra projects at work if you have to. Better yet, start a side hustle to build your expertise.
Not everyone’s career path is as straight as Carroll’s. It’s more likely that your path will resemble Mael’s.
Like Mael, it’s OK to be flexible. Your dream job could change as you gain experience and build connections. What you want to do today might be different from what you want to do in five or 10 years.
As long as you’re working in the right direction, you’ll end up in the right place — where your dream job will be waiting.
Oh, and if you have education debt to repay, consider dream careers that lead to student loan forgiveness.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|2.49% – 11.72%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.30%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|4.13% – 7.39%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.24% – 8.24%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.48% – 7.98%||Undergrad |
|1.74% – 7.99%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.69% – 9.92%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 6, 2022.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $9 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 09/09/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 4.13% APR – 7.39% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.99% APR – 9.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
4 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 3.99% – 8.74% APR (3.74% – 8.49% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (2.49% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.
5 Important Disclosures for Navient.
6 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 3.24% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
7 Important Disclosures for Purefy.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing Rate and Terms Disclosure: Annual Percentage Rates (APR) ranges and examples are based on information provided to Purefy by lenders participating in Purefy’s rate comparison platform. For student loan refinancing, the participating lenders offer fixed rates ranging from 2.73% – 7.99% APR, and variable rates ranging from 1.74% – 7.99% APR. The maximum variable rate is 25.00%. Your interest rate will be based on the lender’s requirements. In most cases, lenders determine the interest rates based on your credit score, degree type and other credit and financial criteria. Only borrowers with excellent credit and meeting other lender criteria will qualify for the lowest rate available. Rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Terms and conditions apply.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens.
Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%-9.92% (3.69%-9.92% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49%-10.11% (4.49%-10.11% APR).
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 6.39%- 9.60% (6.39% – 9.60% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.58% – 9.79% (6.58% – 9.79% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).
Education Refinance Loan for Parents Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%- 9.09% (3.69%- 9.09% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.28% (4.49% – 9.28% APR).
Medical Residency Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).