Getting your dream job is a lot like finding your perfect lover. It can completely change the course of your future and the fulfillment you experience in life. Given that we spend a good third of our lives at our job why not put in the same passion you would to find a dream job as you would with your perfect lover.
Through my experiences, I have been almost everything from a paper boy to a bartender and from a leadership consultant to an actor. In that time I have learned to become really good at making great impressions and landing almost every job. I would like to share with you some key insights that I have gained that could potentially make the difference between missing out an opportunity and landing your dream job that will shape the rest of your life.
There are essentially two phases, the search phase (Part 1) and the interview phase (Part 2). Each phase will touch on 3 important strategies/insights each that will maximize your chances in making a strong impact and ultimately landing the job.
Keep in mind getting your dream job does not solely rely on these strategies but also includes you have the minimum job criteria, genuine passion for the role, and a good alignment with the company’s culture, values and mission.
In other words be “out-standing” – literally stand out from others. Employers are always looking for candidates that stand out from the rest. Why hire someone ordinary when you can hire someone extraordinary? Now this begs the question, how can I be different and stand out?
There are thousands of ways to be different it’s just a matter of being creative and courageous.
Give the Personal Touch
If you want a different result from everyone do something different. Provided you meet the essential criteria (technical skills, experience etc.) requested by the employer, send your résumé and cover letter not via email but IN person! It’s extremely simple but can be extremely effective.
Whilst most people don’t have the initiative to hand deliver their cover and résumé it's your opportunity to stand out. Apart from showing that you are proactive and enthusiastic you give yourself an opportunity to get some “face time” with your potential future employers/colleagues. In a world starved of the personal touch, a friendly face instead of 200 identical résumés on a blinking monitor can do wonders.
Be wary there will be situations and times when delivering your credentials are not possible or appropriate given certain constraints (time, geographic location etc.) The point is to be different, to go that extra mile and stand out.
Displays of Creativity
There are limitless ways to be creative, here’s one simple way to be different.
We live in rich media societies so save your recruiter’s time by giving them a break from reading hundreds of almost replica credentials and transform yours into an infographic or a YouTube clip – not only will you stand out from the crowd but you will make a far better impression than simply a word document. The key is relevance and creativity. Not all jobs will be impressed by your unorthodox approach so always be mindful of your recruiter’s time, purpose and industry.
Creating personal relationships involves getting to know your employer and colleagues as individuals not just as part of a collective. Just how you would get to know your potential lover it is equally as important to spend some time getting to know your employer and colleagues whilst opening yourself up to them. It’s about creating a genuine bond between you, so you are much more than just number or face in the sea of candidates.
When selecting the final candidate the one that creates the best relationship and impression with the employer usually gets the job despite there being far more qualified candidates available.
So how do we create these powerful relationships? Here are a few avenues to get you started.
If you have a few spare weeks, offer to do an internship for work-experience. This is where you will need to let go of your pride – a few weeks doing unpaid work might often be worth greater than spending the rest of your life at a job that makes you feel miserable and under-appreciated. The advantage of an internship is that it’s already a foot in the door or what they call in sales the puppy dog close where it’s almost impossible to say “no” after taking you in.
Most of us probably realize that a lot of the time business is more about who we know rather than what we know. Networking is incredibly effective for one main reason; People want to work with people they like and get along with.
By getting involved with the relevant networking events and associations in your industry you can meet like-minded individuals that could refer you to your dream jobs or better yet give you the opportunities themselves. It should be an organic approach rather than one that is intentional – don’t go to these events expecting to get a job or for others to help you, instead go there and get involved because you love doing what you do. You will be amazed when you let your passions drive you forward how many amazing opportunities will arise.
Each and every word that they ever hear from you, whether it’s from your resume, cover letter or you directly should be crafted with purpose.
If you are sending out generic resumes and cover letters to people then you will most likely receive generic responses. If the recruiter is seeing hundreds of these generic responses they will automatically filter through them and your application is likely to be overlooked despite how qualified or perfect you are for the job.
The key to being customized is researching as much as you can about the role, staff, business, culture etc. So do your homework because you only get out what you put in. See it from a long-term perspective. It is far more fruitful to spend a few extra hours to craft your credentials to perfection for your dream job than to spend hours on end searching and applying for mediocre jobs.
It’s not about ‘kissing ass’ – Pleasing for the sake of pleasing will keep you at the bottom rather than take you to the top. Be the best version of yourself and do what's best for both you and the employer, they will thank you for it.
Always adopt a long-term perspective – Spending those extra hours to customize and search for exactly what you’re passionate about can determine how you spend the coming years of your life.
Be aware of your social media – With the prevalence of social media it takes no more than a click to view your entire personal life. Be wary of what you post on your social media feeds, they can improve or jeopardize your chances.
Get seen as much as possible – Getting seen is all about becoming familiar to people. People like to work with people who are familiar – this is why brands spend so much on advertising to build familiarity.
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Follow Your Passions
These methods effectively bypass many of the automated processes business use to screen out their applicants. In other words, your competition is dramatically decreased and your chances of landing your dream job significantly increases. The key throughout this process is to be passionate about what you truly want and to not become too attached to the outcome (landing your dream job) - It will come when your interests and those of your prospective employer are perfectly aligned.
In the next part let's look at some effective strategies to maximize your chances during the interview phase.
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