NEW YORK (MainStreet) — You don’t need to be told that the job market is tough and dream jobs - fun, challenging, engaging, good paying - often seem scarce. But know this: people continue to score dream jobs, and they do it by following what turns out to be straightforward steps. Here are seven steps to get your dream job.
Identify your dream job. Get very specific. It’s not good enough to say: I want to work in travel. That could land you a job cleaning hotel room toilets and, absolutely, that is important, necessary work. But probably it is not the dream job of many. What would a typical day look like? Why is this your dream job? Note: it’s your vision. There is no right or wrong. But until you begin to get specific, that dream job is likely to remain elusive.
A big help is to ratchet this up by specifying companies you dream about working for. That helps define where to look. Get clarity and much follows, including knowledge of what education/training/background you need to do the job. Do you have it? How can you get it?
Accept this reality: dream jobs are rarely advertised. You won’t find them on Internet job boards or in newspaper classified ads. That's why if your dream job is, say, coding for Google, good advice is to set up a Google alert to tell you that Google has in fact posted job openings. Career advisor Erik Episcopo elaborated: “One tactic that is widely underused among job hunters is to set Google Alerts for specific companies you hope to work for or positions you want to obtain. Using Google Alerts ensures that your dream job doesn't pass you by.”
Another, paradoxical reality: the way to find a dream job is not to look for it. Career coach Darrell Gurney explained that the tactic he teaches is “the stealth method” where you hunt for a job but don’t appear to be. How? Get involved in projects and activities with people who are directly connected to the dream work you want to do. Said Gurney: “Then, by nurturing and maintaining those relationships, one stays ‘top of mind.’ It’s simply a method of self-marketing that has one known and liked ahead of time, before those inevitable opportunities arise. And, rather than blatantly ‘looking for a job,’ it’s about simply knowing and being known by people who matter.”
You want to work at Apple? Get involved in a charity where senior Apple executives are known to be active. As you put in effort there, you may win the attention of an Apple exec with the clout to make a hiring recommendation. Bottomline: go after dream jobs by indirection. A straight-ahead attack often fails, but going the indirect route will pay off.
In a similar vein, career coach Maria Katrien Heslin advised: “Identify several professionals who work in the field in which you have interest and ask them for informational interviews. This will expand your network and let you learn a whole lot more about the specifics of a field, organization and job.”
Buttress the strength of your candidacy by crafting an accomplishment driven resume, said career counselor Frank Grossman. “My first recommendation is to develop an accomplishment-based resume, rather than a resume that provides your job description. Chances are that your potential employer knows your job description. They do not know what you accomplished at the job.” Don’t just itemize where you worked and the job title. Write up detailed accounts of accomplishments - and know you will need this info when you are called in for an interview. Know too: interviews today, said multiple career counselors, are make or break, often with no second chances. Get your interview skills up before you go on that must-succeed interview.
While you are at this, clean up your social media profile, urged career counselor Roy Cohen. Too many good job candidates are derailed these days because of a stupid Tweet or a dumb photo on Facebook - and, yes, some employers are known to ask for Facebook logins so they can take a quick look before hiring (or declining).
Last piece of advice: Stay in your job while looking for your dream, said career counselor Arthur Kaptein. “Looking for a job while having a job is the best strategy to get your dream job, because it takes of the pressure of having to accept a job at all cost.”
—Written by Robert McGarvey for MainStreet