The Career Hoop, Part 2: Finding and Landing Your Dream Job
In the previous post in this series, we explored how to turn yourself around when your job search feels hopeless. However, that’s only the first step toward job-hunting success. If you want to arrive at the job of your dreams, you have to keep a few more things in mind:
1. Find the Right Field
Take a good look at yourself and consider the type of work and work environment that most suits you.
If you need help, you may want to take a career aptitude test to get a little direction. You may also want to talk to your friends and family. They can’t tell you what job is right for you, but they can give you insight into your personality, strengths, and weaknesses.
Read about some career fields that interest you. Ask yourself about each one: “Is this something I care about and want to do for a long time?” As you explore your options, keep an open mind. You might come across jobs you never even knew existed.
2. Apply Only for the Jobs You’re Suited to Do
Applying and interviewing for jobs that aren’t quite right for you is a surefire way to fail. If you’re interested in a position, research it first. Make sure you have the skills and disposition necessary for the job.
It’s understandable to want to apply for a job slightly above your level in order to take a step up the corporate ladder, but the chances of landing such a job are slim. There are plenty of people out there who actually are qualified for the role, and they’ll almost always be selected over you.
Similarly, it’s a bad idea to apply for roles for which you are overqualified. You won’t feel challenged, and you may grow bored quickly.
Your best bet is to apply for a job for which you are exactly qualified. It takes time to build your skills and reputation, and you can accomplish that best when you’re doing work you know you’re good at. Instead of taking a job above or below your skill level, take one that lets you shine.
Just as important as finding the right job for your skill level is finding the right job for your personality. For example, if you’re an introvert, you might not be happy in a role like sales or business development. If you’re an extravert, you might feel bored working as a statistician or technical writer.
If you are interested in a field that doesn’t typically suit your personality, you may still be able to find a role in that field. For instance, an introvert interested in marketing could be a good fit as a copywriter, while an extravert interested in statistics could head up a polling operation or run focus groups.
3. Research Companies Before Applying
Every company has a unique culture and wants to hire employees who share the organization’s mission and values. Before applying for a role, make sure you fit the bill from a cultural perspective.
Carefully peruse the company’s website, read through recent press on the company, and check out employee reviews on Glassdoor and other job sites. As you study up, pay attention to important questions like:
- Is the atmosphere casual or formal?
- Do managers care about work/life balance?
- What is expected of employees?
- Does the company’s mission match or contradict your value system?
If you can, find employees in similar roles with the company on LinkedIn. Do you share the same skill sets with them? Do you have similar interests and beliefs? Does it seem like you would fit in with them?
Ultimately, your goal is to determine whether the company seems like a place where you’d be comfortable working day in and day out.
4. Practice Your Interview Skills
One of the most common reasons people tank interviews has nothing to do with their skills or culture fit. Instead, many people simply don’t interview well.
Don’t worry: You can learn to be a good job interviewee.
Make a list of your job interview weaknesses to figure out what you need to practice. Are you too anxious? Do you stumble over your words? Fidget? Are you too abrasive? Too quiet? The more exact you are in pinpointing the problem, the easier it will be to prepare for your next interview.
Be prepared to answer questions. Practice what you will do if a question stumps you. Practice how you will phrase questions of your own without offending the interviewer. It’s okay to ask about difficult topics high turnover rates and earning potential, but only if you know how to raise the subject without putting the interviewer on the defensive.
For deeper insight, you can ask the last person who interviewed you why you weren’t a good fit. If they reach out to you with a rejection email, send them a response. Thank them for their time and ask if they can give you some feedback on how you could have performed better during the interview.
5. Be Open to Working With Professional Recruiters
Some people are skeptical of recruiters, but they can actually be valuable resources, especially when you’re struggling to find a job. Recruiters work to fill roles with a number of employers, and they might have the perfect position for someone of your skill set.
Once you get on a recruiter’s radar, they’ll be invested in helping you get the role, because your success is their success. Many recruiters will even help you draft a stellar resume and practice your interviewing techniques.
So, if a recruiter reaches out — or you find a recruiter who fills roles in your desired field — give the partnership a chance.
Interviewing for jobs can be stressful and unpleasant, but it doesn’t have to be. Your dream job is right around the corner, so long as you put in a little bit of time and effort.
Be sure to check out part three of the series, where we explore how to climb the career ladder once you’ve landed a job you love.
Bobbie Peterson is the regional manager for Affinity 56.