Don’t Settle, Use These Six Steps To Land Your Dream Job

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Looking for a new job? Are you polishing your resume, searching the internet for possible interview questions and posting to all the popular job boards? Congratulations that should drop you into a pool with hundreds of other applicants competing for the same “me to” job that you really don’t want anyway. You deserve better.

Here are six steps that will allow you to find your dream job and position you to get it.

Start Early ~ The best time to prepare for a job/career change is when you don’t need to change jobs. Prepare yourself to be more marketable when you are not under pressure to find something new right away.

Know Yourself ~ What do you like to do and how do you want to spend your time? Think it through because that the key question. It doesn’t matter if you use online tools to identify your strength, weaknesses and personality type or make a list on a piece of paper of what you like and don’t like just think it through and decide what is best for you. It’s that simple.

Prepare Yourself ~ Just wanting to do something isn’t enough, you have to make yourself capable to do the job. When I decided to leave banking and enter economic development I knew I needed to adjust my skill set to better fit my chosen field so I headed back to college. What will you need?  Prep/self-improvement work will make it easier to market yourself when you decide you are ready to make a change.

Understand the industry you want to work in ~  You should really know what you are getting into as you look for new positions. What is the pay range, what are the hours, how flexible are the hours, etc. Years ago I decided I wanted to be in public sector economic development. The key words there were “public sector”.  I needed to acknowledge the disadvantages of not being in the private sector (primarily pay) but to me the positives of doing something that I felt was important outweighed the negatives.

Look at yourself as a brand ~ To create demand for your skills you need to build a personal brand that positions you as an expert in your field. You need show that you would make any business you worked for better. Becoming an expert is not an overnight thing, it takes time. Start working on building your brand is before you are ready to make a change. There are a number of things you can do to establish yourself and get people to come looking for your talent.

  • Start a Blog ~ Just like businesses use content marketing strategies to attract people looking for their product you can do the same thing, only the product is you. Use the blog to share your expertise and thoughts on your industry.
  • Engage companies and individuals using social media tools ~ Social channels are great for finding like minded people. After a while you will get to know people and they will get to know you.  Once you get to know people on-line don’t be afraid to take the interactions off-line and have face-to-face meetings. By doing this you will be on their radar and when they have a need they will think of you.
  • Volunteer ~ I got hooked on economic development through all of my community activities. Although I didn’t have any paid experience I was active in the local Chamber of Commerce’s development activities, I was on the City’s Planning Commission and active with the United Way. These activities helped me get noticed and provided me connections in my newly chosen profession.

Sell Yourself in the Interview ~ Once you get to the interview you have to sell yourself. Be prepared, be confident, practice and act like you really want to be there.

In interviews I have conducted over the years here is how applicants have gotten my attention:

  • “Every Battle Is Won Before It Is Ever Fought”, Sun Tzu. Do some research on the management of the company and the interviewers if you can. Use the internet and social channels to get to know the people that you will be talking to. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn will give you an advantage when you interview.
  • Tie your experience to the company needs. Good interviewers really don’t care about everything you did on your previous jobs, they care about want you learned and how it will help their operation.
  • Be direct and to the point with responses. Keep responses tight and cut the bull shit.
  • Ask smart questions tied to the position. Understand the industry and the business so you can speak about the organization.
  • Show that you want to be a part of something important and aren’t just looking for a check.

To be clear you can probably find a job without doing all of this. The question to ask yourself is do you want just a job? Trust me having a job that you hate is a prison sentence you can avoid if you out in a little time and effort.  It will all be worth it when you are making a difference with your career.