(Guest post by Alan Corey – author of one of the very first books I ever reviewed on this site! Woo!)
Landing at your dream job is, indeed, a dream for many people. But it remains a dream unless you start working on it.
There are countless ideas on how to land your dream job, but choosing the way to start is sometimes confusing. To keep things in trouble-free perspective, start thinking about what employers want. Bosses and employees are human just like you, so this won’t be a difficult thing to do.
1. Always present your qualities in a concise manner
Employers always expect something from prospective applicants, which they try to find out via resumes and interviews. But they don’t have the luxury of reading a 4-page-resume along with a 2-page cover-letter for 30 minutes; make it easier for them by revamping your resume in a concise time-saving way, and filling it with info that employers need.
2. Don’t be a negative person
Improve chances by having a positive attitude – that is in-scale with reality. Negative people (also known as skeptics) tend to spend most of their time worrying when they face challenges, while positive people worry less and do more.
It all starts with positive thinking; about yourself, the present situation and your future situation. Positive people can accomplish more things and are happier in their jobs compared to negative-thinkers. Also positive thinkers look at obstacles as challenges, while negative thinkers look at challenges as obstacles. You will a much better chance at success with the mind-set of the former.
If you were a business owner, would you want negative-thinking people to work for you? Since employers are partial towards positive thinkers, keep in mind that there needs to be a balance, you don’t have to be a ‘yes-man’ all the time.
3. Be knowledgeable
Take classes that will put you closer to your dream job. If you dream of being a photographer, take up photography courses and put your collection online for everyone to see. Continuing education is also a factor that will help you increase your salary, so don’t take it for granted.
Take up proficiency tests, relevant seminars and workshops in your free time, not only it will improve your chances of landing your dream a job, it will also increase your know-how so you won’t appear like a rookie in interviews.
In my opinion, as long as they are related to your dream job, any extracurricular activities and unique continuing education certifications look more impressive on a resume than a Masters degree. And it’s much cheaper to obtain!
4. Create relevant work history
If your dream job is a completely different line of work than what you are currently doing, then you have to create relevant work history. The fastest and easiest way to do this is to freelance on websites like elance.com or odesk.com. Sure you’ll be working at a reduced rate, but the payoff in the end is an increased chance that your resume will lead to an interview at your dream job. Also, you’ll have earned exceptional client-management skills and real-world experience which can pay off handsomely.
5. Clean up your image online
Never assume that older people don’t know how to use Facebook; many employers seek information from prospective employees using social networking sites. Online presence is very important today because a few clicks and key strokes will yield information on any person.
Make it easier for employers to see or find information about you! If you spend lots of time in Facebook and Twitter posting trivial photos and nonsense jokes, make it worthwhile by updating educational attainment, career highlights and positive experiences. Clean your accounts of discriminating evidence of bad behavior (you know what I am talking about).
Also, in your online profiles make it clear you are business first. Of the two, would you hire the Twitter bio that read “dog-lover pining for Paris” or the one that read “Senior Account Mgr, Paris expert, and dog aficionado.” Both say the same thing, but one clearly stands out as professional.
6. Learn to fare well in bad times
Perseverance is also important in job-hunting and career advancement, because there will be times when things get difficult; like when you’ve sent hundreds of resumes without receiving a decent reply, or if you’re rejected in all of your interviews.
Take a look at the bigger picture, you are trying to live your dream! There is nothing wrong with that. If your dream interview didn’t land you the gig the first time, follow up 3-6 months later and check in on that job you didn’t get. Express your interest again and inform them what you have accomplished since you last spoke. And repeat until they either hire you or refer you to their competitor so you’ll leave them alone. Either way, just keeping at it is the best thing you can do!
Alan Corey is the author of the entertaining personal finance memoir “A Million Bucks by 30.” You can learn more about him and his financial advice at www.alancorey.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: First off, I can’t agree more with the difference BEING POSITIVE makes. People want to feel GOOD around you and the more they do, the more they’ll be on your side with whatever it is you’re working towards! And secondly, that Facebook/Twitter image stuff is no joke either. People get fired (and not hired) left and right cuz of crazy stuff people put online… If you still wanna be all feisty with your friends and what not – that’s fine, just create a separate, more hidden, account and do it there – but leave your main one drama-free! Unless you’re applying as a blogger somewhere (we tend to like that kinda stuff), it’s not good when employers dig it up ;) Thanks for the post, Alan!
(Photo by matt512)
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These are all great tips! Also, if you’ve taken any classes, try to throw that out there either in your interview or on your resume. That helped me a lot when I was looking for a job.
Nice post – it took me ages to find my dream job but now I have it, I love being able to give advice to people who aren’t quite there yet. It’s not easy guys but it’s definitely possible!
@Michelle – There you go! It all helps to separate you from the crowd :)
@Daniel – Best Money Saving Blog – Exactly!!! Hard work but if you have the perseverance it’s reachable. Nicely said, sir.
The tip about freelancing is great — building experience in a new field is difficult, but freelancing can help bridge the gap!
I agree Christa, it’s just a same some people don’t know what’s out there regarding freelancing. It helped me out a hell of a lot last year.
These are all tips to becoming a great salesman. When you interview, you are selling yourself, your benefit to the company and why they can’t pass you up! I always ask myself the question “would I hire me for this position?” and start from there.
I’m looking to hire someone for a P/T leasing agent position. After weeding out the bad resumes, the first thing I do is Google each person and check out their social networking sites — there’s a few resumes that made it to NO pile because of their Facebook pages.
Definitely some great replies above, thanks for the additional advice and feedback everyone. Something to keep in mind is that “dreams” take work, otherwise everyone would be working at their dream job!
Thanks for letting me guest post, J$!
Being positive is huge! I have worked both in positive and negative environments and being positive makes all the difference in the world.
Also make sure you bring what makes you different and better in the forefront. It isn’t bragging, it is informing others of your hard earned designations/accomplishments.
A buddy of mine works in the HR dept at a small company and one of his jobs is to pre-screen job applicants. A whole lot of them get eliminated after a 5 minute search on Facebook and Twitter.
I don’t agree with that – but my FB is always private anyway in case this happens – I’d be screwed if my employer looked at it.
I’m assuming if you are trying to land your dream job, you already know what your dream job is, but I’d suggest spending time making a list of things you want in a dream job. Salary, work/balance, chance to grow, passionate industry, etc. before applying all over the place.
I liked A Million Bucks By 30. In fact, I think I still have my copy.
Thanks again Corey! Always a pleasure, my friend.
@Christa – That’s pretty much how I was able to start blogging full-time too – hustling on the side!
@Jacob @ iHeartBudgets – “would I hire me for this position?” YES!!! Exactly!!
@Jessica O. and Mike Collins – Yeah! Facebook/Twitter can def. hurt you at times.
@Financial Uproar – Awesome! It’s the first book I ever got with “J. Money” scribbled into it ;) I remember thinking how awesome that was! haha…
Why do I always see posts against skeptics and cynics?
I absolutely think they are essential to any organization. In fact, they are the promoters of change. Sure, they’re annoying to be with as your ego might be crushed around them. But some “negative” people are really necessary. If you’re a skeptic, just make sure you are smart and you’re making constructive criticisms.
I will agree with that, as long as it’s done in an appropriate fashion. A lot of people are cynical and shooting down things left and right, BUT they never come up with any solutions or add anything positive to the mix. If you can find issues and then fix them (or even make them better) then more power to you! We def. need more of those types of people at a company :)
Thanks for the great post. I think a lot of people struggle to find their dream jobs- I know I spent most of my life struggling to find the answer to this. I have finally figured out what it is in life I am good at- thanks to Scott Edmund Miller’s latest book, “The User’s Guide to Being Human: The Art and Science of Self.” Now that I know what my inner talents are, I know what it is I want to do in life- what my dream job is. Thanks for the great tips. Very useful!
What was it that you found out about yourself? Those “inner talents?” And more importantly, what are you going to do about it? :)
Well, I found out that I was a very creative person, and that I love working with websites. I am taking an online class right now to brush up on my skills, and then I am going to market myself to create websites for other people/small businesses. It is a work in progress, but at least now I have direction.
Cool!! I’m a fan of that stuff too, so I totally get ya :) Good luck with it!