As the new year approaches, many of us are re-evaluating our lives, and part of that has to do with our job status.
We ask ourselves, "Do we really want to keep working at the same place?"
Right now, a lot of us are dreaming of finding that one magical place to work, of finding our dream job.
If you're looking for new opportunities in the new year like so many others, follow these five steps to help you land your dream job in 2017:
1. Find your dream, and learn everything about them.
Chances are, your dream job is not going to fall into your lap. You have to go out and get it.
Start by finding companies and opportunities that you think will align with your goals and generally what you want. Luckily, this is something you can do at night in your PJs with a cocktail, if you want to.
While you're searching, think about what exactly it is that you want. Do you really like your current role, but just want a different environment?
Are you aiming for some legacy brand with a big office? Do you want to do something entirely different than what you're currently doing? Do you want to be in a different city?
Answering these questions will help you find your dream opportunity, and maybe you'll find several!
Once you find who you think you want to work with, learn everything about them.
What do they do? How do they think? How does their audience think?
What additional skills might you need to work with them?
The closer you can make yourself fit with their culture and mindset before reaching out, the more you'll be able to impress them, and the better your chances will be of landing your dream job.
As a personal example, my dream is in marketing with Condé Nast. I idolize the company's work, and I'd like to move to NYC. I'd basically like to do the same things I currently am, but for its audience.
There are a few additional skills that (I feel) I need to develop before I reach out, and in the meantime, I've been reading and watching everything it's put out that I can get my hands on.
Employers tend to respect and appreciate initiative, and that's exactly what you're doing here.
2. Create a killer resume.
The first step to creating a killer resume is, well, learning how to write a resume.
There are two common ways that recruiters and hiring managers proof resumes, so it might make sense for you to create two, tailored accordingly.
One way is that all applicants fill out a bunch of information online and upload a resume file. Usually in these cases, no one bothers to look at your application unless your resume passes an automated, computerized screening process.
Before you apply, search through several job postings by that company and others like them, so you can mimic their lingo and phrasing to give yourself a leg up.
Another common way recruiters and hiring managers screen applicants is by skimming through their cover letters and resumes.
If you don't have a cover letter sharing what value you can bring, you won't be taken as seriously as other applicants who did take the time to write a cover letter.
Next, your resume needs to be super easy to understand. Recruiters spend their lives pouring over hundreds and thousands of resumes, mostly bad.
An easy way to stand out is by having a resume that clearly defines what you're looking for, what you can offer and what you've learned from past experience.
Keep in mind your resume will likely only get a few seconds of attention. So be clear, be concise and remember that less is more.
(It's also best practice to have all of this information on your LinkedIn profile, too.)
3. Get the word out.
When searching for a new job, it's common to hit up all the major job boards for opportunities. If you want to land your dream job - and have followed step one - you really should take a much more personal approach.
Find the contact info for someone relevant in your dream company (eg recruiter, manager, someone who'd be in your department).
Reach out to them directly. Tell them why you really like their company, and what value you think you could bring.
Here's the approach I took to land what I thought would be my dream job, and the job after that when my original dream turned into a nightmare.
I went to someone who I knew was very connected, asked them whom they might know in that industry or company and then sent all of those contacts this message.
Hey [Name], I'm friends with [contact], and I'm really interested in a career with [role/company]. When I asked [contact] of some good people they knew in [the industry], your name was one of the first to come up! I think it's great that [company name] focuses on [key differentiator pulled from company website], and believe my skills in [X, Y, Z] could add a lot of value there. I'd love to come to your office to learn more about the company and to pick your brain on what an opportunity there might look like. Is there a time [next week] that's best for you? Thanks! I look forward to hearing from you. Best regards, [Signature]
I can't promise this will work for you as well as it did for me, but most people responsible for hiring have quotas to hit for bringing in new talent.
By going to them directly and saying, “Here's my talent, bring me in,” you've just made their job a lot easier. It also helps you stand out from everyone who doesn't have a personal connection.
4. Follow up until you know something.
People are busy. They get distracted.
Even with the most enticing email and best connections, there are plenty of reasons why someone might not reply to your email or give you call. That's OK!
Just keep trying. If you don't hear anything for a few days, try another email. If you still haven't heard anything in a few more days, try calling.
In sales, there's the rule of seven. It takes an average of seven “touches” to close a sale. This applies surprisingly well to landing your dream job, too, so make sure you're patient.
You might also need to follow up after you meet with the person you reached out to. (For some, this might mean a phone call instead of a face-to-face meeting.)
People are still busy. People still get distracted. And in this case, they probably also need to talk to someone else about you.
It's always good to shoot over a "thank you for meeting with me" email shortly after you get-together, along with a recap of any next steps that might be needed.
And unless you're expecting to hear something on a specific date, it's a good idea to check in every week or two.
Basically, it might take some time and a bit of persistence to land your dream job, but wouldn't it be worth it?
5. Don't be greedy.
When you're trying to land your dream job, you're really focusing on the duties and the environment of that job. Pay and perks come second.
Obviously, you have to support yourself and your family. But you're probably not a good fit if all you care about is money and benefits.
Any employer is making a really expensive bet when they hire a new person.
If you've done well enough to get to the salary and benefits negotiation stage, don't make that bet any harder for the company to take.
Ask for what you're worth, based on Glassdoor data, what you're already earning or some other reputable source.
It happens all the time when someone's an ideal candidate, but they get too excited. They go big, then they get sent home.
Don't let that happen to you, especially when you're trying to land your dream job! You don't have to sell yourself short, but just be flexible.
If you're re-evaluating your employment status, maybe it really is time for you to consider other opportunities.
Should that be the case, just follow these steps to help you land your dream job in 2017.
Happy hunting, and happy new year!