What To Do If Your Dream Company Doesn't Recruit On Your Campus
Your dream job isn't out of reach.
Recruitment season is in full swing, and it’s likely that you’ve received a flurry of emails over the past few months listing all the events and employer visits hosted by your university’s career center. But what happens when the employer you’ve dreamed about working for doesn’t appear at any of these career center events? Since many top-tier companies only visit a select set of campuses, it’s easy to feel like those jobs are completely out of reach. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a shot. It just requires being proactive! Make your dream job a reality by using one or all of these methods to get your foot in the door at your ideal employer.
Network through LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the best tools for connecting with recruiters and current employees at a company you want to work for. You can use LinkedIn’s advanced filtering function to search for people by company, location, job title, and more. From there, curate a list of company employees you want to connect with either in person or remotely. Through LinkedIn’s university pages, you can also find alumni that work for your dream company and request an informational interview. Since you already have something in common (attending the same university), alumni are particularly likely to help you learn more about the company and its recruitment process. They may even be able to personally refer you to a recruiter!
Whenever you network through LinkedIn, include a personalized message introducing yourself, providing context for your decision to reach out, and letting them know how they can assist you. Be courteous and as specific as possible. And don’t be discouraged if some of your messages go unanswered; chances are you’ll be able to make a few solid connections if you reach out to several people. Read our article on tips for networking through LinkedIn for even more tips.
Attend onsite recruitment events
Even if a company doesn’t recruit at your campus, there’s a strong possibility that they host other onsite recruitment or networking events. For example, companies like Goldman Sachs, PNC, and Amazon offer career days and other opportunities for job candidates to get to know the company, network with current employees, and have their resumes reviewed by a recruiter. Some companies will even host interviews on that day! If your campus is located near the company’s office or where the event will be held, you might be able to work with your university to arrange transportation for a group of interested students to attend.
At the event, you should talk to recruiters and other employees to learn more about the job application process outside of campus recruiting, and make a personal connection that you can reference in your cover letter. You should also collect their business cards, and follow up with a thank you note and/or LinkedIn request after the event is over.
Go to conferences where the company will have a presence
Whether you have a specific employer in mind or want to explore a few different options, you should attend conferences related to your focus. For example, the National Society of Black Engineers has an annual convention that draws many top employers who are looking to recruit talented engineering graduates. Similarly, the annual Grace Hopper Celebration brings together women and employers in technology, and a limited number of scholarship opportunities are available for student attendees. While recruitment isn’t always the main goal of these conferences, you can still take advantage of networking opportunities and demonstrate your commitment to your field. If cost of attendance is too expensive, you can reach out to your school’s career center to see if they can sponsor the conference or provide funding for students to attend.
Join professional organizations related to your field
Similar to conferences, professional organizations can open doors to a wide range of employers within a given industry. In addition to their industry focus, like tech or HR, professional organizations might be specific to a demographic or a region. For example, organizations like the Society of Women Engineers and National Association of Black Accountants offer an excellent network for meeting recruiters or employees who work for your dream company. Some organizations, such as the Public Relations Student Society of America and the American Marketing Association will also offer discounted student membership rates as well as scholarships and awards.
Apply through other job sites like RippleMatch
While your university’s career center probably has a job board of its own, expanding your search to other online resources can expose you to a much broader range of companies – including the one you want to work for. For example, you can create a profile on sites like RippleMatch and be matched with recruiters and roles that fit your career interests. Through RippleMatch, you can also follow your ideal company’s profile, gain an insider’s knowledge of what makes them stand out, and be notified when they start hiring. If you are looking for a job board, you may wish to visit sites like Indeed, The Muse, or LinkedIn Jobs. The individual company’s careers page will also be a valuable resource during your job search.
Employers may not be able to visit every campus during their recruiting efforts, but they will certainly be receptive to applications from students from other schools. In fact, using one of the methods above might impress the employer even more because it shows your initiative in seeking opportunities to work for the company. And remember, the earlier you start, the better your chances of getting the job you want.