How to Get Your Dream Job in 6 Steps
If you're looking to transition into another position after your first job or two post college, this post is for you! I recently went through finding my "dream" job and thought I'd share some tips on finding the career you really want.
1. Know your interests and passions.
Yup, this can be a tough one, but it was the MOST important for me. I knew I always wanted to use my creative side & marketing side, I just didn't know how. Then I majored in Marketing/Advertising in college, but available jobs were so broad in these areas that I needed to narrow down my interests even more. Looking back as far as middle & high school, I loved yearbook & newspaper clubs, computer graphics and even writing classes. There was a start. College also helped me learn what I was good at - and wasn't. I learned quickly that for me to be successful it would have to be doing something I was REALLY interested in. Kudos for you guys who can make do with anything! I'm definitely not one of those types. For me, genuine interest tended to generate a skill set, which then developed talent. It might take me longer than others to get there, but darn it if I didn't try! Knowing my interests and habits of being successful was a huge first step.
2. Before you start looking to apply, build up your background!
ALSO A VERY IMPORTANT STEP! I knew that without a proper resume and background I wouldn't receive the opportunities I dreamed of. By only taking internships & jobs that related to my interests in marketing, advertising, or graphic design, helped me to not only build up my resume, but also provide clarity of my strengths, weaknesses & what I liked/did not like to do. Yes, at times this meant taking less than pretty jobs with attractive titles, but knowing they were temporary helped me to push through.
3. You have the tools, now take a smart step - Research!
After knowing your interests and having a kickass resume, I have three very important things you should research:
a. Research Companies: Have you dreamed of starting from the bottom at a mega corporation, or wanted to learn entrepreneurial skills at a small business? Whatever your desired direction, know what you're getting into with both of these options. Example: If having corporate benefits are a priority over learning ins & outs of a small business, then a corporation might be more your speed. I think I fell somewhat in the middle here, and have tried both corporation and small business routes.
b. Research Contacts: You never know where that next job tip is going to come from. There's tons of different ways of getting in the door, but having a contact is probably the best way of getting in front of someone. In all of my jobs post college, I have to say I've rarely had to rely on someone to help me get in front of a human. But it came at a price - I probably worked longer & harder at finding the right job than if I had known someone upfront.
c. Research Location(s): Both times I've moved, it was because I had already scoped out the area and knew that's where I wanted to be. It was important for me to research local culture, things to do, etc. so I wouldn't feel so foreign when I moved there. Starting a new job is already information overload, discovering your new area should just be fun!
4. Start Applying. Everywhere.
Refer back to "c" in the last step. Over the course of 5 months, it took me over 200 applications to receive several interviews. But then again, I applied for EVERYTHING that had to do with Marketing. The cool part is one of the positions I applied for, I remember thinking "Liv, you aren't qualified for that." Turns out the company called me and wanted an interview. Throughout the interview process, I discovered they were also looking to hire a marketing candidate with specific knowledge around the apartment/real estate industry. I couldn't even believe how perfect of a fit that was. Today I work for them and love what I do! But, what if I grazed over that position because it wasn't the right fit? You never know - the company could have other positions opening that aren't posted yet. Seriously, apply for Everything!
5. Then Be Picky
Once you receive some calls and go on interviews, now is your time to decide what you want. The "at least it's a job" mentality worked after college, but it shouldn't be a factor when you're applying 3 years post grad. If you really want to do something you're passionate about, it will come. Don't Settle! Which brings me to:
I read somewhere to add a month onto your job search for every $10,000 or more you want in your salary. So according to this unwritten rule, don't expect to land your dream job with an amazing salary in the first month of searching. (Unless you have an awesome contact or have a freakishly amazing resume, then this doesn't apply to you). But for the rest of us, mentally prepare for a little bit of a wait. I promise it will be worth it!