5 Tips for Landing Your Dream Job
A job search can be stressful and overwhelming, no matter how many years you’ve been in the workforce or how many job interviews you’ve had. If you feel like you’re struggling, you’re not alone—most people feel similarly when they’re going through the job application process. However, applying for your dream job takes things to a whole new level because you don’t want to get a single thing wrong. It ups the ante and increases the pressure, making it even harder to handle the stress.
Whether you’re just starting to look at what’s available or are already preparing for your interview, make sure you do your research and learn as much as you can about your dream companies and roles. Have a clear and realistic vision of where you want to be, but be ready to compromise and make adjustments based on the challenges and opportunities that come your way. If you’re too rigid in your expectations, you may unwittingly pass up tremendous opportunities to realize your dream.
Remember that just because it’s something you’ve been dreaming about and working towards, that doesn’t mean you automatically know everything about it, so don’t take anything for granted—you still have to prove yourself. Be confident while also acknowledging your strengths and recognizing there’s always more to learn, and continue to strive for improvement. Although passion and enthusiasm are key, you also need to prove why you’re a dream candidate and be able to back it up with your experience and qualifications. While you certainly want to let your passion shine through during the interview, don’t go overboard and start rambling—the interviewer will see how thrilled you are, but you’ll come across as unprofessional.
If you’ve been invited to interview for your dream job, congratulations! You’re probably nervous (understandably so), and with so much at stake, you want to absolutely ace the interview and maximize your chances of landing the job. If you’re confident in your technical skills but think your interview skills could use some improvement, set up a mock interview with one of our job success experts, who will give you constructive feedback and help you prepare to take the next big step in your career. Simply having all the right skills and qualifications isn’t enough—your soft skills and communication skills also need to impress, and doing a mock interview is one of the best ways to prepare and hone those skills.
If you’re just starting to apply for vacant positions, here are a few things you can do to get closer to bagging your dream job.
1. Be picky
If we’re talking about your dream job, that means you’re not trying for every single vacancy you find on a job board, right? While you shouldn’t be too rigid in your specifications, you also don’t want to spread yourself too thin and waste your time and energy on applying for roles you don’t actually want. If it’s your dream job you’re after, you should pace yourself and only pursue vacancies that align with your skills, expectations, and career goals.
From work-life balance to salary and responsibilities, your dream job should check as many of your boxes as possible and be something you’re truly excited about. Compromise where necessary, but figure out your non-negotiables and stick to them. Resist the urge to apply for jobs that might feel like settling (in case you get hired) or distract you from a better opportunity down the road.
You don’t want to disappoint yourself because you were too impatient to wait for the right job, so be picky about the companies you target because job hunting is no easy task. If you apply for all sorts of jobs with little regard for their suitability and requirements, you’ll probably wind up with a lot of rejections, which can become a heavy psychological burden.
If you’re desperate for an income, it may be better to look for a filler job and focus on securing your dream one when your financial situation stabilizes. You may also want to consider alternative ways for making money on the side as you hunt down your dream job.
2. Be confident
The number one skill you need to bring to the job search, especially if you’re in the market for your dream job, is confidence. To convince someone to hire you, you must know what you’re good at, what your strengths are, and where you want your professional path to take you. Even if you’re struggling with self-doubt, train yourself to recognize your strengths and tap into them—if you can’t see your worth, a hiring manager certainly won’t, either.
Knowing your goals and the qualities that make you an exceptional candidate will boost your confidence and help you focus your strategy for landing your dream job. You won’t be stumbling around, wasting your time on less rewarding opportunities. In addition, be sure to continuously work on your skills and industry knowledge, whether by practicing your craft or poring over books. The more you practice and learn, the more confident you’ll feel applying for jobs.
3. Be competitive
This isn’t the minor leagues: If you’re going after your dream job, chances are it’s someone else’s dream job, too, and you want to get to it first. It’s not enough to simply prove your suitability—you have to show why you’re better than potentially hundreds of other candidates vying for the position. So, make sure your application stands out by customizing your resume for the specific skill set the job requires and writing a compelling cover letter that entices the reader to learn who you are and why you’re the best candidate.
In fact, simply including a cover letter can give you an advantage over other applicants since many companies today don’t make cover letters mandatory. However, don’t just regurgitate the information from your resume—focus on the things that make you special. Use your cover letter to showcase your personality and passion, and highlight information you couldn’t fit in your resume (or explain parts of it you think could use more context).
4. Be real
Confidence is key, but being honest about your weaknesses is just as crucial. Candidates who acknowledge their weaknesses feel more genuine, but that doesn’t mean you have to present a blooper reel of your greatest failures. The point remains to sell yourself, so you don’t want to shine a spotlight on your biggest shortcomings.
Instead, focus on weaknesses that won’t directly affect your suitability for the job, showing you’re self-aware and speaking truthfully without making yourself look bad. It’s also advisable to highlight your attempts to address your weaknesses, thus positioning yourself as committed to continuous learning and self-improvement.
5. Be ready
You never know when your dream job will become available, so it’s best to be prepared at all times. Stay informed through news, podcasts, and blogs focused on your field, update your technical skills as often as necessary, and set up alerts to receive notifications from job boards and professional networks such as LinkedIn so you never miss an opportunity. You may feel lucky if you stumble upon an opportunity to secure your dream job, but in many ways, you make your luck by being proactive.
Whatever your professional goal is, continue working towards it and honing your skills, always keeping your dream job in sight. If you’re not sure what steps you need to take to get there, talk to one of our job success experts, who can offer personalized coaching and help you take your career to the next level.