Finding a job, let alone your dream job, is not easy in today´s challenging economic environment. But, it´s not impossible if you work for it! You will have to compete with plenty of other great candidates and you need a plan, but if you´re willing to go for it you can make it happen and land your dream job with your favorite employer.
1. Have a clear view of what you want
Before you start applying, do you know what your dream role is? What would you like to do? Instead of starting to apply randomly to vacancies, hold for a bit and have some reflection time to think about your dream role, preferred industry and favorite employer. Make your top 5 for each. Once you have that defined for yourself you can start your job search much more focused and target the right roles.
2. Make a plan & stick to it
People often say that applying for jobs is a full time job. So make sure you dedicate enough time to this process. Make a plan, a schedule for yourself and stick to it. If you´re currently in a job, make sure to block your time during the evenings as any other calendar event and force yourself to stick to your planning. If you´re currently unemployed or still studying, plan your days as if you had a job: block your calendar with slots for your job hunting activities.
3. Prepare yourself
Before you do the actual applying, make sure you´re prepared. Do you have a resume that is up to date? Do you have a digital curriculum? Is your profile on LinkedIn up to date and consistent with your resume? How is your online presence? Google your name and see what turns up. Do you see anything that you wouldn´t want a future employer to see? Take action, because they will also do their research once they receive your application.
4. Find a job to apply for
Go back to your top 5 dream roles, industries and employers. Find vacancies that fit your top 5. If there are no vacancies available for those exact roles or companies, either go back to your reflection step to re-evaluate your top 5 or consider sending open applications to your dream employers.
5. Network, network, network
What do you think works better, a candidate on paper or a candidate that comes recommended from the inside? Great people know great people right? That´s how employers also think, assuming that they trust their employees and didn´t hire them for nothing, internal recommendations will be valued. Do you know anybody at the company? Does your network know somebody there? Check on LinkedIn if you have any shared connections. If you don´t, try to reach out to employees working for that company in similar roles to the ones that you´re interested in and ask if they would be willing to have a chat with you about their job. Don´t focus this as a “I need you to recommend me”-conversation but ask them questions about what they like about working there, what their role is like and what experience they think is of great importance for the role.
6. Prepare, customize and send your application
Remember you updated your resume? Well, you´re going to have to do that again. A standard resume is not going to cut it here. Research the jobs (what experience and skills are required?) and the employer (what is this company known for? What are their values? What do you admire in them?). Then make sure you customize your curriculum by emphasizing relevant experience much more. Write a cover letter specifically targeting this employer, never use a standard cover letter and just change the name to whom it´s directed and the role you´re applying for. Customize it and make very clear what value you could bring in this specific role and why you would love to work for them. Also, if you have contacts there or managed to speak to people working for the company make sure to mention that! Something like “After speaking with John Smith, I realized that…” will immediately show them that you were proactive in reaching out and also did your homework!
7. Ace the interview and always follow-up
If you were successful in the previous steps and get invited to an interview, here the researching and preparation starts again. Research the company, their products / services, their results from the previous year(s), the specific department and the role. Prepare a list of what value and experience you can bring in this role and sell yourself. After the interview, always follow-up with a thank you note to the interviewer and you could also reach out again to your contacts.
Good luck with landing your dream job!