Everyone wants to work in a role where they feel fulfilled, motivated and energised to do their best. Finding your dream career is not usually easy. The current job market is tough and it takes dedication and hard work to land a job that you’ll be excited to turn up to, every single day.
The good job roles are out there, it’s just that there are usually many candidates that want them. Landing your dream job when you have little or no experience in an industry (or at all, if you are new to the job market) can be challenging but I’m here to tell you that it is certainly not impossible!
Follow these 10 tips and get your foot in the door of your dream job in 2014!
Believe it or not, the business world has been turning around much longer than email and the internet. So, how did people connect before Facebook? By using the phone! Calling people and speaking to them can help to forge a better, deeper and more personal relationship that the one that can be garnered by connecting via digital means alone. Why? Because it is often easier to fob someone off when you don’t have to speak to them.
Make a list of the top 10 or 20 companies that you would like to work for and hit the phones. There is a skill and an art to effective cold-calling. Do your research, use a script, prep before the call and be persistent. Here is a great article which will give you some handy tips on effective cold-calling.
2. Reach out – send your resume
Another great way to get your foot in the door of your dream job is to send out a personalised copy of your resume, with a cover letter, suggesting roles that you might be suitable for. While this can seem a bold step, it often works, particularly in small industries where there are a limited number of players.
Find out who the boss is, and who heads the department where you would like to find work. Research the company as much as you can. Locate their (professional) social media feeds on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When sending your resume and cover letter, make it as personal as possible.
3. Find a mentor
By far, one of the best ways to connect with an industry is to find a mentor who has invested in your career to a certain extent. People in positions of power and influence are always busy, but many of the good ones make time in their schedules to talk to and mentor up-and-comers who show dedication, skill and enthusiasm.
Finding a mentor can be challenging, but by far the most important part of the process is finding someone who is a good personality match to you, with shared values and ideals. Here is a great wikihow article on how to identify and find a mentor in your local area.
4. Send something eye catching
Have you heard about the woman who scored her dream job by baking a gruesome cake? Like sending a personalised resume and cover letter, sending something eye-catching to a hard-to-reach contact can be a winner. This is particularly true if you are seeking work in a creative industry, such as graphic design, TV promotions, fashion or hospitality.
Remember, that the worst thing that can happen is that you do not get a job. Be creative! Think outside the square and let your imagination run wild. Make sure you think through your actions and always, always follow up with a call or email.
5. Find 5 contacts at your level and remain in contact
As well as finding a mentor, it is also good to make five contacts within industry that can keep you informed on the sector and what’s happening. These could be friends, former colleagues, friends of your family or even friends of friends.
Look to sites like LinkedIn to make connections, or connect with people via social media. Does the sector you are hoping to work in have any specialist websites where you can post and comment on current issues? These are all great ways to make casual contacts who can aide in your job search, even if they are not in the direct position to get you a role.
6. Volunteer or intern
Previously in Australia, internship was known as work experience and it was something that students often did for a week or two while they were at school, TAFE or university. These days, the popularity of internship is rising in Australia, often with mixed reports about how fair the arrangement is.
For some industries, internship or volunteering is essential to finding work, particularly in very competitive sectors such as design, media, photography and events. If you are looking to work for an environmental cause, here’s a resource on finding work in the green/environmental industries by volunteering.
7. Get involved in sector activities
Whether you’re hoping to work in hairdressing, marketing, window cleaning, painting and decorating or accounting there are industry events and activities happening in Australia. Depending on where you live, it may be easy or difficult to get to these events.
Look for trade shows, open days, conventions and other events that you can attend to meet contacts and see new industry trends. Start your research online and keep in touch with your contacts to see what’s going on. If you can’t attend an event personally, try to connect with someone who may be going and ask if you can call or email them for a review of what happened.
8. Be a good listener
A great tactic in all business, being a good listener is a top skill to have. As Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Learning to listen effectively can be a great tactic to eventually land your dream job.
Keep your ear to the ground and listen carefully to what people have to say. When you make contacts and connections, listening can be a great tactic. Make any contact more ‘about them’ than ‘about you’. Sell yourself and your skills, but listen to what they need, what they are really saying and what information they are trying to impart. Show yourself as a mature and valuable potential future employee.
9. Ask for advice and help
Once you have a mentor or some networking contacts- use them! Ask them questions, listen to their advice and take information onboard. It’s also important to be specific. This great post from Brazen Careerist mentions the one biggest mistake that people often make when asking for advice: being too unspecific.
When you need help, you need to have done some of the work yourself. Nobody is going to take over your job search for you and land you a job. You have to take the initiative to find out as much as you can, so you can ask intelligent, well-planned questions. If you need spoon-feeding, you’ll soon have your mentors and contacts off-side and you may come across as unmotivated and lazy.
10. Research, research, research!
There are now so many ways you can gather information about the industry you are hoping to find work in, the main players in the sector in Australia and the various companies, businesses and people that make up the employment portfolio.
Check out this excellent infographic on research tips to help you land your dream job. It suggests everything from Googling the name of your interviewer to joining the company’s Facebook page. What are some ways you can research without using online resources? Check your local library or community centre to see what else you can find.
What are your tips? Tell me!