You spend a huge portion of your life at work, so when you enjoy the work you’re doing, it can make you feel happy and content with your life. However, getting the job you want isn’t always easy, especially if you work in a competitive field. It takes a lot of hard work and perserverance, and sometimes there’s a bit of luck involved as well. Here are some helpful tips to help you land your dream job.
Know exactly what you want
You have to know what your dream job is before you can try to get it, and this is what holds many people back from finding a career they are satisfied with. If you aren’t entirely sure what your dream job is, start by thinking about your skills as well as your interests. Make a list, and then research careers in which these skills and interests could be beneficial. This can help get you on the right path to a career that you will love. Look for ways to explore these new fields in a non-professional sense before exploring a new career path, just to see what types of work you enjoy the most and where your talents truly lie.
Another common obstacle that many people encounter is not being able to find a company they truly want to work for, even if they know which industry they want to work in. This is when to dig in and really do your research. Look into a variety of companies, not only in your city, but in other cities where you might want to live. Instead of just reading the job listings, go to the company’s website and read up on all of their products and services, as well as their company history and ethics. You should also read up on press coverage about the companies you are interested in. Doing this research will help you narrow down job options in your field to help you find some openings that really appeal to yours.
Bolster your skill set
If you are struggling to get the job you want, spending some time improving your skills can go a long way towards getting hired. Ultimately, no matter how impressive your resume is, what employers care most about is that you can get the job done. No matter what field you are in, there’s always more to learn, and just a little bit of extra work can make the difference between an average job candidate and an outstanding one. For example, learning how to use some new software programs, expanding your knowledge base on a relevant topic, or even mastering the basics of a new language might only take a few hours of your free time each week, but it can make you infinitely more useful to your dream company. If you’re not sure exactly what skills to work on, try to find out as much as you can about the day-to-day experience of your dream job, and master any required skills you don’t feel 100 percent confident in.
Reach out to your network
Networking can feel a little overwhelming at times, particularly if you are an introvert. However, it does get easier with practice, and it can seriously up your chances of landing your dream job. Most companies would prefer to just call up a good candidate they are aware of and offer them a job instead of holding a lengthy interview process. Here are some networking tips to keep in mind when you’re looking for your dream job.
- When you meet someone new in your industry, be sure to get their contact information - even if you don’t think it will be useful. Jobs are constantly in flux, and you never know when that person could be your ‘in’ at a company you’re interested in. Don’t delete contact information either - instead, keep a digital folder of all of your industry contacts just in case.
- Attend industry related events where you can meet new people in a relaxed setting. These are an ideal place to network because everyone else is there to meet new contacts as well, which takes away some of the awkwardness. If you’re not particularly outgoing, look for events that have an activity to encourage you to open up - games are always good. You can also bring a friend with you so you don’t feel completely alone.
- Casually let people know when you are looking for a new job. If friends and family are aware that you’re on the hunt, they can mention you to their contacts as well, and let you know if they have any jobs open. This will also put you at the forefront of their minds, so the next time a job comes up in your field, they can reach out to you.
- Learn from your contacts. Your network is an incredible wealth of information, and it’s definitely something you should take advantage of as you are job hunting. If you know someone who has a job similar to what you want to do, don’t be afraid to ask them about it! Of course, be polite when you do so - prepare very specific questions ahead of time to direct the conversation, and be grateful for whatever time they take out of their busy schedule to talk to you. If you can chat in person, that’s always going to be helpful, but don’t be afraid to make a phone call or ask questions by email instead.
Practice your interview skills
Interviews are incredibly nerve-wracking, but unfortunately, they’re a very important part of the hiring process. However, you can actually practice your interview skills ahead of time by having a friend or family member ask you questions. If you know someone who actually conducts job interviews as part of their work, they are going to be an amazing person to practice with, because they can give you very relevant feedback. Practice staying calm and looking confident during the interview, because your demeanor is just as important as what you say. Be thoughtful, clear, and concise with your answers, but try not to make them too scripted - no one wants to hire a robot. With some practice, you will start to feel more calm in an interview setting, and then by the time the actual interview comes around, you will be able to channel that practice into a great first impression.
Take your cover letter seriously
You probably have already spent a lot of time on your resume, but you,shouldn’t neglect your cover letter either. The cover letter is going to be your potential employer’s first impression of you, so it needs to be an accurate representation of your talent and your personality. Instead of using the exact same cover letter to apply to every job, create a general template, but customize each letter to the specific company you are interested in. It shows the hiring manager that you researched the company ahead of time and are genuinely interested. Make sure you read the job description in full to see if there are any specific application directions you need to follow. You also shouldn’t be afraid to show a little bit of personality in the cover letter, as long as it’s professional. Most cover letters are very generic, so if you say something different with yours, you will stand out.
Another key is to avoid making your cover letter too long or wordy. Keep things concise and you will actually sound more professional and make a stronger impression. You also shouldn’t be afraid to highlight why you would be a great fit for the company. Instead of just re-writing your resume in paragraph form, focus on one or two key things that would make you great for the job and really expand on them. Think about it from the perspective of the hiring manager, and show them how you can help the company grow - not the other way around. Never highlight or apologize for any weaknesses here - this is a time to show off your strength. Finally, find the hiring manager’s name and ensure the letter is addressed to them - this is an important personal touch that you should never skip. Do a final read-through of all of your materials to proofread for spelling and grammar, and then you’re ready to apply.
Be open to internships or temping
Sometimes the best way to get an ‘in’ to your dream job is to work your way up. This is a particularly effective strategy if you have the right skill set for the job, but just don’t have the experience the employer is looking for. If you’re still young, look for internships at your dream company - even if they aren’t paid, you can often leverage good performance at an internship into a paid position later on. Another strategy is to look for temp positions in your industry. You typically don’t need as much experience to get these jobs, but if you make a good impression and prove yourself useful to the employer, they could turn into a long-term job. Everyone has their own unique path to success, so don’t be afraid to do something a little atypical to get where you want to go.
Be social media smart
Although many people have mixed feelings about it, the truth is that hiring managers do look at social media profiles when sifting through applicants. You don’t need to have a million followers in Instagram, but your profiles should reflect well on you. Go through and get rid of anything that could be considered controversial before applying. If social media is particularly important in the field you are interested in, you may also want to make an effort to post regularly and show off your personality a bit more. Finally, you should make sure your LinkedIn page is up to date and that you check it frequently. An increasing number of employers are checking LinkedIn when they hire, so it’s worth the extra effort to spruce up your profile.
Don’t be afraid to follow up
Many people are scared to follow up after an interview, but it’s actually a crucial part of the hiring process. Keep in mind that the hiring manager has a lot on their plate, so following up with them can serve as a helpful reminder that will help you get the job. However, it’s important to be very professional while doing so. Ask about the time frame of the hiring process during your interview. If the interviewer mentions that it should take them about two weeks to make a decision, wait two weeks to follow up with them. In some cases, it may also be a good strategy to send a thank-you note the day after the interview. When sending your follow up email, maintain the same tone your interviewers used with you in the interview. For example, if the setting was very casual, don’t feel like you need to use overly formal language - instead, just keep things friendly and pleasant.
Don’t let roadblocks stop you
The job search process can be incredibly tiring and frustrating, but try your best not to let it get you down. Just because you didn’t get one job you were interested in doesn’t mean you won’t get the next one - and who knows, the company may come back to you in a few months when another position opens up. Although it can be discouraging to get rejected, try to take it as a learning experience when it does happen, so you can do better next time. You should also never assume that you are going to get any job, and always have a plan in place to keep moving forward so you won’t feel stuck if you don’t get a job.
Landing your dream job is going to take a lot of hard work, but it’s not an impossible task. Stay positive and take every opportunity to move forward in your career. With time, the small steps will start to pay off.