When we graduate college, most of us have no idea of what we want to do. We take jobs that come our way without thinking that much. But as time passes we start living on ‘auto pilot’ -going to work, coming home, hanging out with friends at the neighbourhood bar after work and doing it all over again the next day.

That might have made sense back in the days when a regular job meant a steady income and a retirement package.

Your goal therefore must be to find the perfect job for you, the one that only you can perform the best, because it is a manifestation of your personal dream and life goals. With these 10 tips, you will be on a path to a fulfilling career. Are you ready?

  • Understand your job search criteria

Figure out your top five priorities – whether it is the company culture, salary or a specific job position that motivates you. “If you understand what motivates you as an employee, it will be easier to target your applications to opportunities that match your skills and ambitions.”

  • Create a job list that matches your criteria

Once you are able to articulate what you are looking for in a job, use these criteria to guide your search. Create a list to keep track of information

  • Invest

Once you figure how you can make yourself a more attractive candidate, for your dream job get working on it. Take a class or join a professional association or volunteer in your desired industry.

  • Do some research

Are you missing something crucial from your resume? Research online, talk to people and spend some time brainstorming how you can make yourself ready for your dream job.

  • Customize your resume and cover letter

Write your resume and cover letter which showcases your skill set or prowess in a particular arena that the company is looking out for, draft your resume carefully and considering the company’s requirement. Doing so would basically give you an edge over other competitors. This way you’re able to connect with the company and the company knows that you are the appropriate candidate at the moment fulfilling their requirements.

  • Activate your referral network

Many job openings are not advertised, which is why attending relevant industry events and conferences, career related lectures and seminars. Let people know you are in the market for a job and ask for open positions.  Ask for recommendations from your work colleagues or companies that you have worked with endorsing your skill set and highlighting your qualities. Also let your friends know that you are looking for a job and email them your resume to provide an informal idea of your experience. Many a times your friend may connect you to the right contact.

  • Prepare , prepare and prepare

Once you get an interview call, give it the best shot. Research the company, have experiences and examples to speak about, try to get in the hiring manager s mind and figure out what the company needs and how you can meet those needs. If this is your dream job make sure the passion shines through.

  • Take your confidence to nonverbal communication

When you finally land an interview at the job you want, be confident of your skills and abilities, try to make a mark on the job recruiter‘s mind, as the candidate knows the job and doesn’t buckle under pressure

  • Make Job hunting your job

Job hunting can be a full time job. You want to put a lot of work in crafting your cover letter, formatting your resume and communicating in person. Take breaks and make sure to engage in stress relieving activities. If you are too stressed about your job then you will not enjoy the process.

  • Be on the radar

Before you quit your present job or graduate from college you can and should network socially with companies you might want to work for. Social media not only makes it possible but also necessary.

Even if you're lucky enough to hold your dream job, there's no such thing as the perfect work situation. Every job has its ups and downs, and aspects we love and aspects we don't love. And "dream job" doesn't mean "cushy job." There will be days when you feel like just snugging up in bed and not go to work. However, in the end it’s all about either pursuing something you like vs. some job that you don’t really enjoy doing. Hence, the fact that you are pursuing your interest is what matters.