Top ten tips for landing your dream job.
By Therese Merry Heeg, ICF Certified Coach
In my work with hundreds of clients, from GED applicants to PhD holders, from CEOs in transition, to new college graduates, I have used these tips to help them land their dream jobs. I hope you find them useful.
10. Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Get It
Whatever you focus on, grows. I personally have experienced this in my life. At age 30, I was so focused on what wasn’t working in my life, that it kept me stuck, angry and depressed. Lucky for me, our pediatrician recommended the book, You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay. From this book, I learned the importance of managing my thoughts and – – as I shifted my thoughts from resentment, anger, and blame to gratitude, hope, and health, I created more happiness in my life and work than I ever thought possible.
That is when I learned to be careful what I wish for, because as I focused on the positive, I experienced health, happiness and joy at a level I had never known before.
So, this is a key step for job seekers – When you are in transition, make sure you are focusing on possibilities and take time to identify what you want in your life and work, not what you don’t want.
Get Focused on What you Want
You are more than a job title so don’t describe yourself by using one, especially in this gig economy. It is important for you to be able to describe the work you do without limiting yourself to a title. The more clearly you can picture what’s next, and learn to describe it, the more likely you will move toward it. To get started, consider these questions:
- What is most important to you in life?
- How do you want to show up?
- Who do you admire and why?
- How can you replicate the qualities you admire?
- What do you really enjoy doing?
- What are your strengths?
- How do you add value?
Become very clear about how you like to contribute. Think of a time when you were fulfilled and in the flow. What were you doing? Write all of this down and you will start moving toward what you really want. If you have never written a personal mission statement, maybe now is the time.
9. Let Go of the Fears that Surround You
Letting go is a process. When you lose or leave a job by choice, you need to be ready to talk about it.
Where are you in this process? When others ask “How are you doing?” or “What happened?” Be ready with a powerful, positive statement about your current transition. Don’t go into the war story or how your last employer wronged you.
When others focus on the negative part of your experience or theirs, you can say to yourself “That may be true for you, but it is not true for me. There are plenty of opportunities out there for you and me.”
“What happened at your last job? Why did you leave?” These are questions you will need to answer while networking and interviewing. Your “reason for leaving statement” should be brief and include a description of where you are in the process of your job search. For example, “At first, it was difficult, but now I am using this as an opportunity to find the right fit for me. What I really enjoy doing is using my technical skills to solve problems in the XYZ industry. Who do you know that I can talk to?”
This is a critical step in your job search.
You will also want to make sure your friends and family understand that you can handle this transition and that they can move beyond fear and see opportunity also. That way, they can introduce you to others, knowing they are supporting you. When I work with clients, I help them coach their loved ones on how to support their networking. If you get stuck in fear, I recommend the audiobook – Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.
8. Be Strategically Curious
One of the biggest mistakes people make in the job search process is to be afraid to say, “I don’t know” or “I am looking for advice and information.” Before you can explore options, you do need to know a few things, but you also get to be a learner. It is safe to ask yourself and others questions.
Here are some things you may want to consider as you begin to think about your next move:
- Where do you want to put your energy?
Will you pursue:
- Same job, same industry?
- Different job, same industry?
- Same job, different industry?
- Different job, different industry?
When you are not sure, talk to others. Be willing to say something like this: “As you may know, my company recently downsized and I find myself in a job search. I am not sure where I will contribute next, but I do know what I really enjoy about the work I do is “XYZ” (for example, streamlining processes and contributing as a team member).” “I am exploring other companies in this industry. I don’t expect you to know of a job, but I am looking for information and advice. Who do you know that I can talk to?”
7. Connect and Reconnect with Others
In survey after survey, the number one way people get jobs is through other people. You may call it networking, or personal referral, or schmoozing. It is all the same. And now it is even easier to find others to connect by using social media, but you must still meet people in person or via Skype or on the phone.
Personal connections are critical to your job search.
Remember the old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?”
Well I believe that it is only half true. It is who you know, but it is also what you know — What do you know about you and who are you telling it to?
Do you know your strengths? Have you done enough research about the industry or company you are exploring? Have you developed a powerful reason for leaving statement? If so, it is time to connect and reconnect with others. If not, you may need a coach to help you move toward what you really want and deserve.
Tips for connecting: As you grow your network, expect the best and do not discount anyone you meet. Everyone you know and everyone you meet is a potential bridge to someone you need to know and meet!
As you network, you will need to be able to tell others how you like to contribute – to build your skills in bragging, take a look at Brag: the Art of Tooting your Own Horn without Blowing it.
Finally, part of reconnecting with others is to make sure you are hanging out with other people who are moving forward in life. It is important to build a support system so you can handle transition with less struggle and more confidence.
6. Don’t Just “Work Hard;” Take Effective Daily Action
What does effective daily action look like for you? Effective daily action includes conducting research about your options, reading articles on networking and interviewing, using Linked In and Facebook to connect to others, and learning from people who have gone through this type of change.
If you spend your days only focused on job openings, you will miss out on a lot of valuable information and you will be ignoring the passive job market where jobs still hide.
By sending out resumes and responding to openings, you may be working hard, but are you taking effective daily action?
What does your weekly plan look like? It should be a mix of research, responding to openings while also building your network. If networking doesn’t come naturally, take a look at books like Self Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead, by Nancy Ancowitz.
5. Trust Yourself; Trust the Process
Once you do the daily work-– Reflection, research, resume building, connecting and meeting with people, then . . . trust the process.
When we struggle or try to force an outcome, it drains energy. You can control your daily actions. You can control your attitude. You cannot control the timing of interviews, call backs, etc. so learn to let go, take daily action and trust the process.
4. Show Up in Your Community
Many people spend way too much time at their computer during career transitions. I encourage you to go out. Attend professional association meetings, chamber of commerce events, local clubs and classes. Attend job fairs – virtual and in person; check out local workforce development support; practice your public speaking at Toastmasters, Rotaries, or Kiwanis, or attend your children’s soccer games and see who you might meet.
Get involved in a charity, health club, or homeowner’s association meeting.
Don’t hide from the world. Show up. Woody Allen says “80% of success is showing up.”
3. Practice Extreme Self Care
Transition is exhausting. My physician confirmed this for me, when I shared how my energy has been when I make changes in my life and work. Make sure to build in self care during your transition.
Transition is not the time to allow yourself to slip into bad habits like drinking alcohol, zoning out in front of the TV or computer, or eating junk food. It is the time forExtreme Self Care.
- What are you doing on a daily basis to take care of yourself?
- Are you rested, hydrated and eating healthy?
- Are you taking time out to stretch, breathe and exercise?
2. Learn Something New
Learning agility has been identified as one of the top capabilities needed in the workplace as we face constant, continuous change. Why not show your future employer you are a learner? Make a list of possible topics that you could brush up on and take a course online or at your local community college. Or jump on a webinar or watch educational Youtube videos.
Free university level courses are also available now through MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses. You can join millions of others from around the world taking a class at a prestigious university for free. MOOCS offer videos, readings, and interactive user forums that help build a community for students, professors, and teaching assistants.
AND the NUMBER 1 Tip for Landing Your Dream Job is…… Build a Positive Presence!
Employers are looking for people with the right chemistry. People judge each other within seconds of meeting. In order to be successful in your job search, you will need to create a positive presence.
It is not always easy to do when you aren’t getting positive results, but you must continue to stay focused on what is working in your life. Are you healthy? Did the sun come out today? Do you have a loved one supporting you? Food to eat? Starting your day with gratitude can help you maintain a positive presence. Tony Robbins, coach and guru to many, recommends that we identify 3 things every day that we are grateful for.
Another thing to be aware of is your non-verbal communication. People believe your non-verbals more than the words you say.
What does your physical presence say about you?
- Do you make eye contact with others or are you reluctant to look people in the eye?
- Do you approach others with confidence or are your shoulders drooping?
- Do you offer a hand and a smile to others or are you carrying fear and anxiety in your body?
If you do not feel you can show up with a positive presence, you may need to seek out support from friends, family, or a coach. I have worked with many clients who are naturally introverted to help them learn strategies for being able to show up and network. I help them learn to create a powerful, positive presence, where they to notice their anxiety, set it aside, take a deep breath, smile and move into a conversation, even with a complete stranger! I highly recommend Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk. Her research based techniques are fabulous!
There is not a magic pill you can take to land your dream job. It takes energy and focus. These are strategies that I have used personally and with my clients. Remember, let people know what you have to offer that is uniquely yours. Offer your authentic, energetic self, along with your skills and enthusiasm and you will land the job that you truly want and deserve! Then let me know you did! Or, if you are wondering what it is like to work with me as a career coach, visit my site.