American football player diving and catching the ballTurning a job into a career is one of the most difficult things that you are ever going to do. This is especially true if you are after a very specific career, or one that is in a popular market. And the first step to any career is having the right position to put you in place to succeed. The more competition there is for a position, the more difficult it will be to attain, and the harder that you will have to work to prove to the hiring manager or recruiter that you are the ideal candidate for the role.

Working toward a position is not just about creating a good resume and nailing the interview. Your work is far more detailed and will require that you truly dedicate yourself to the pursuit of your dream position so that you have the best chance possible of getting it.

Below are 10 tips that can help you get the job in your desired industry, which can help ultimately lead you to the career of your dreams:

1.  If you are applying for a position at a smaller company, though it is possible at larger companies as well, make sure that you find out the names of the people that work there, and the person that will be interviewing you. This way you can address your cover letter to a specific person rather than a generic “To Whom it May Concern,” which is more personable.

2. Be proactive. Don’t tell the recruiter that you can or will do something. Do it. Send in the paperwork that he or she asks for, present samples, or fulfill any other obligations that the recruiter asks for in the job listing.

3. Make sure that you have already developed a relationship through either several conversations, an interview, or other means before you start asking for favors, such as asking how much time off you will get per week.

4. Make sure that you review your spelling, grammar, and syntax so that you are not turning in papers that have misspellings in sentences that discuss your quality.

5. If you have an online reputation, make sure that you provide links to the things that you want the hiring manager to see, don’t just assume that he or she will find it. And it doesn’t hurt to mention how the content behind these links relates to the job you’re applying for. This will make the recruiter more inclined to take a further look.

6. Don’t put your GPA—for high school, college, grad school or anything—on your resume. This doesn’t really matter anymore. Any professional development programs you’ve taken, any trainings or seminars you attended and new skills you’ve attained, now these things matter.

7. If you are using a standardized note of any kind, make sure that you use consistent font, font size, tense, gender specification, and others throughout the document to give some disguise to the standardization. This said, try not to use anything standardized. Create something personal for each position.

8. If you say that you have attached something to an email, ensure that you have actually attached it. You do not want to come across as unprofessional or lacking in attention to detail.

9. If the job listing says “Don’t call”, then don’t call. It is as simple as that.

10. Don’t try to come across as though you know everything about the position or the company. Know enough, but be willing to embrace the fact that there are things that you don’t know. Show willingness to learn.

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