Disclaimer: The advice in this article is mainly aimed at software engieeers but the principles discussed here can be extrapolated to any field.
Most young professionals in the field of software engineering only focus on polishing their competetive coding skills by solving DSA problems and hope to use the skills aquired there to get placed in a "FAANG+" company. Although working in a large conglomerate has its perks, but sometimes the work you do there can be mundane and leave very few opportunities for career progression.
Although starting your career by working in a "FAANG+" company might be lucrative, but there are numerous other opportunities that you should explore while searching for jobs. Picking your first job is arguably the most important decision that you'll make which will affect you for years down the line, so be sure to thoroughly research the job market before making your decision. In this article, I will share some of the tips that I found useful while job hunting.
1. Work in the companies whose products you aready use
Getting paid to build a better product that you already love and use is the best job in my opinion. If you find an interesting product or service, scan their job board to look for open positions. If the company does not have a job board, consider to following them on social media and signing-up for their newsletter (I found my first job this way).
I personally like the 80,000 Hours and Console Jobs job boards and recommend you to take a look at them as well. They have not sponsored me in any way, I just find their service useful and worth promoting.
2. Reach out to your extended network
Creating long and meaningful connection pays off while job hunting. You should talk to people at companies that work on things that you find interesting. You can catch them at conferences, hackathons, or even reach out to old classmates. Have a chat with these people, ask them what opportunities there are. There's a high probability that the opportunities they tell you won't even be listed on the careers site.
3. Find people who have already achieved what you want
Figure out what interests you, find people who do that, figure out how they got there and how you yourself can get in the same position. You can skim through their resume to see their career progression and plan your next job application accordingly.
4. Start your own venture
If you don't want to work 9-5, you can start your own business where you can have flexible working hours and work according to your needs. If your business succeeds, you can scale up and even generate employment for more people.
One major drawback of this approach is that most businesses do not generate profits for a long time. This is an great ordeal and even after putting all the hardwork that you possibly could, your business might ot succeed. Therefore, this path is only recommended to those people who are willing to take the risk of failure.
Fianlly, Getting a chance to pick a job is a luxury and many people can not afford to wait additional two or three weeks to look for a better job but if you are able to do so, you should definitely do it. Take time to look for jobs that you will actually like, otherwise six months down the line, you might feel stuck and unfulfilled.