Career Conversations

I’m not a graduate of a prestigious university, can I still land my dream job?

I’m not a graduate of a prestigious university, can I still land my dream job?

Spoiler alert: Yes!

In today’s highly competitive labor market where companies are looking for the best and the brightest, getting your education from a notable school might help raise your chances. However, receiving your degree from a seemingly “unpopular college” doesn’t mean your road to success is impossible.

Even if you’re not a graduate of the country’s best or world’s top ranking schools, you definitely have a fighting chance to land your dream job. Here’s how:

1. Start your career early

If you think that your career only starts once you get hired, then you’re missing a lot. In fact, it’s wise to start your professional journey even while still in college. If you dream of being a renowned fashion designer, start creating your portfolio. If you are eyeing a career in the country’s leading companies, there are internship programs you can try.

“I joined a lot of seminars and training back in college. At first, I thought it will only add up to my résumé in the future. But turns out, it really helped me gain valuable skills for my profession,” said Renato Cajigas Jr., an alumnus from the University of Caloocan (UCC) and is now a Trainer at one of the world’s largest oil and gas corporation.

2. Research about the company

A good research can be your key to a successful job application because it can set you apart from other applicants. When browsing the company’s website, go beyond their home page. Find out what’s their best product or flagship project. Visit their social media pages. See what projects they are currently working on, and learn how you can use your skills to support the company’s mission.

3. Master your craft

It’s normal that you don’t know all the nitty gritty of the position you’re applying for but it doesn’t have to stop there. Go out, explore, and never stop learning.

“I always wanted to enter the shipping industry and travel the world. So while I was still working as a lounge attendant at Sofitel, I enrolled in a training course for maritime servicing,” said Mary Grace Solomon, a graduate from UCC and is now pursuing her dream as a Cruise Ship Attendant at Regent Seven Seas Cruises, a luxury cruise line based in Miami, Florida.

4. Build your network

It’s true that skills and education are important in finding a job but having the right connections can help you reach your goal, too. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are just some of the ways to increase your network and get to know people from different industries. Do a social media audit of yourself and reconnect with old mentors, fellow school alumni, org batchmates, and many more. You’ll never know if any of them are hiring or looking for leads if you don’t ask.

5. Learn from unsuccessful interviews

Dealing with a job rejection is a hard pill to swallow, especially when you know you’ve brought your A-game to the interview only to receive a cold “we’ll call you back” message. But remember, your failure doesn’t have to be a complete loss. In fact, there are a lot of things you can learn from it. When an interview doesn’t go according to plan, take a step back and do some assessments

  • Review your resume – Is there any spelling or grammatical errors? Do the contents of your résumé match the company’s job requirements?
  • Study the most common questions – Is there any question you weren’t able to answer or you wish you answered differently?
  • Do a practice interview- Ask a friend or mentor to sit down for an interview with you using some of the interview questions you encountered. Take note of how you deliver your answer, your body language, and choice of words. And of course, ask for honest feedback and points for improvement from your faux interviewer.

Ultimately, the school where you come from does not define what you can achieve and who you will be in the future. With the right preparation and sheer determination, you’re all set for your dream career.

Need more tips and guides to help you get started on your career? Discover career options on and more career prep guides on’s Career Conversations section!



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