First things first, a dream job is a fallacy. Even that desperately glamorous job that flies you to Paris and Tokyo weekly will at times make you feel like you’ve been banished to Dante’s 7th level of hell. Many an idealistic youth with a romanticized perception of their future job have been immeasurably disappointed to find that day to day realities of their job is a stark difference to what they expected. It is essential to conduct extensive research into the company and work culture to prevent unpleasant surprises at your interview or even on your first day.
After you’ve done your fair share of internships, resume editing and informal coffees with industry influencers, the key is differentiating yourself from the other candidates. To help, we’ve compiled a list of how eight people managed to land their dream job against all odds.
1. Be willing to go a step further than other candidates
The difference between an outstanding applicant and an average one is a willingness to do what most aren’t.
“TB completely H though, moving without a plan wasn’t easy.”
However, she shares that she probably wouldn’t have landed that dream job in a big city if she didn’t take the plunge.
2. Find out who your future boss is
One of the most important aspects of your job will be your co-workers and your boss. Even if your boss isn’t part of the main hiring process he/she will still most definitely be involved in determining whether you’ll fit in well with the team.
David Ly Khim, a growth marketer at HubSpot did a little research on who he would directly report to before sending his application out. After a quick search on LinkedIn and Google he eventually found her on Twitter before engaging her casually on social media.
This opens a point of interaction between you and your future employer and attaches a face (and twitter handle) to your application among a pool of indistinguishable candidates.
3. Kiss a few career frogs before finding the “one”
It is common knowledge that when you start your career you will inevitably start in an industry you have relevant skills in but completely hate. Unless you eventually start to love your job, most people tend to use this as motivation to find their true calling.
Bobby Schuessler, the West Coast style director of online fashion magazine Who What Wear found out that he wasn’t suited for PR from an internship. This experience helped him realise that fashion journalism was where he saw his future.
It is important to keep in mind that you’re only where you are right now so that you can get to where you want to be in the future.
4. Get on LinkedIn!
Despite LinkedIn being the leading social network for professionals, many don’t see the purpose of having a solid LinkedIn profile. Admittedly for a good four years, my LinkedIn profile was skeletal without so much as a profile photo or any identifying information apart from my name.
Think of LinkedIn as an online resume where employers can use for verification as listed skills are endorsed by your social connections.
Michaela Alexis, a writer at LinkedIn landed her dream gig at LinkedIn by optimizing her profile and utilising all of its social networking tools. Exchanging recommendations with her connections boosted her visibility and showed employers she was a highly recommended individual by her co-workers.
It is increasingly becoming important for job seekers to have a strong online presence, showing employers or industry influencers a professional aspect of a candidate.
5. Seize every opportunity
A majority of our dream jobs are distinct career paths paved by many who have tread before us. What if your dream job could be anything you wanted it to be?
For Ryan Burk, head cider maker at Angry Orchard, it was cider making. He is thankful that he pursued his interest relentlessly and even left law school when the opportunity presented itself to attend brewing school instead. This turn of events led him to discover his unconventional dream job.
Don’t be afraid to pursue a path you’re passionate about! As beloved poet Robert Frost once wrote,
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
6. Fake It Till You Make It
If you have no experience in your desired industry, it helps to get lots of amateur work done to build your portfolio. Creating a photography or cooking blog is a great way to get your amatuer work looking professional to impress industry influencers.
Scott Tweedie, a popular Australian TV presenter started working on his demo reel for local TV stations by going to various locations pretending to be an actual presenter. This strategy paid off as he got hired out of thousands of contenders to host a hugely popular TV show that started his career.
Getting as much exposure in your field of work helps you practice your skills as well for when you land your dream job!
7. Do your homework
Prior research about the company of your dreams is not only important but necessary. Much like how you wouldn’t go to class without preparing for assignments, you wouldn’t send an application without first researching about the company.
Annik Spencer, a PR executive at CooperKatz constantly checked the company blog and social media pages to find out what the firm has been up to lately. With this information, she went into her interview wishing one of the company founders a happy belated birthday as she saw office celebrations for his birthday on Instagram the previous week.
Taking initiative and doing research shows employers your conscientiousness and how you will approach tasks in the future.
8. Fall seven times, get up eight
Rejection is a large part of the application process and in the words of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger”. Failure teaches us resilience and determination.
Jonathan Treptow, a U.S. veteran and an associate at PwC got rejected numerous times from his dream job but never gave up. He continued applying after making changes to his resume and eventually landed his current job at PwC.
It is easy to feel discouraged when receiving more rejection emails than interview requests but persistence is key to landing a job of your dreams
Although strategies may differ in certain industries, try one of these techniques the next time you’re sending out an application to get started in the career of your dreams!