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5 Steps to Landing A (Dream) Job

I interviewed for a company that was all about crystals and the zodiac. In my cover letter, I outlined how my sun and moon sign makes me a great candidate for the position.

In April I started my dream job. I’ve never had a specific title I’ve been gunning for or a particular company I dreamed to work for, but I had a very specific desire when it came to my next career move – and in the process of finding a new place of employment, I landed a dream position. Since November 2018, I had been interviewing and sending out my resume to different job prospects. By the time my job hunt had ended, I had 3 job offers on the table. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or haughty, but I’m sharing to support the claim I’m about to publicly make. I’m really good at finding a job. The last time I was hardcore job hunting in 2011, I ended up having 2 job offers at one time.

I don’t like job hunting, I find the process exhausting and stressful. But I feel pretty confident in my job hunting skills, enough so that I feel like sharing my process. This list will also basically reflect how my year has been so far.

*Disclaimer – I am a spiritual person, who believes in source energy and the law of attraction. I will have very logical and actionable steps for getting a job. But, as a reader you should know, I attribute 50% of my job to the spiritual work I did along with physical actions.

Step 1:  Identify What You Want.  

Get really clear about what you want in your life right now.

When I was job hunting I wanted to move into a position that would provide me with more financial stability, and help me grow as a professional. I had a specific number in my head in terms of income. I wanted to feel challenged by my work, not just stressed. Work on projects that I would be proud to share. I also knew the places I would compromise, like a title demotion in exchange for company/brand name recognition on my resume. Subconsciously, I also wished for a place with a flexible work schedule and a great paid time off policy. Benefits that included good health insurance plans and 401k. But I was mostly focused on income and professional growth versus company perks.

Being clear about what you want helps to guide the job hunting process.

Step 2: Get Your Materials Ready

LinkedIn profile, PDF resume, portfolio – be prepared to send them if asked.

Towards the end of 2018, I was feeling pretty lost in my career and knew I would be pursuing a new job in 2019, so I started working on my LinkedIn. I made sure my current position was updated with my responsibilities and included information around my various side projects. I looked over profiles of people whose careers I admired and used them as inspiration when crafting my bio. The LinkedIn makeover attracted the attention of a few recruiters, and I was having phone interviews before I applied to a single job.

I freshened up my resume with the information I included on my LinkedIn. And to stand out against the sea of black and white resumes, I added simple design elements built out in Word. Then I created a matching portfolio in PowerPoint. If you don’t have Microsoft Office, Google Drive has programs that act as Word and PowerPoint, which can be easily used and exported as PDF’s to send when applying to jobs.

Employers are sifting through dozens if not hundreds of resumes, a little visual disruption never hurts.

Step 3: Take Every Call and Apply Daily

Every No is practice that refines you for the Yes.

It wasn’t until the second week of January that I started to aggressively job hunt. Everything else had been passive, but I knew it was time to get serious. I checked LinkedIn and Indeed for job posts almost daily, and applied to everything in my field that felt like a position that would move my career forward. Even if the company seemed dull, or the commute inconvenient – I applied. When I had a bad day at my previous job, I would throw out my discernment and just apply to any position that had the word marketing in the description, because it helped make me feel like I was still trying to change my future.

I see it all as a numbers games, the more resumes I send and applications I fill out, the closer I get to the job that is meant for me. Because of how many places I apply when actively hunting, I keep track of it all in a Google spreadsheet, with the name of the company, position title, and link to the job post. Over 2.5 months I sent my resume out to 30 companies, had 6 recruiters reach out me through LinkedIn, 8 phone screenings, 4-second interviews, and 2 in-person interviews. I said yes to any call or conversation with whoever would have me.

When discouraged seeing your effort towards finding a position can help provide perspective. If I had hit 10 in-person interviews with 0 offers, I would have sought out an interview coach. But my next tip can help and is more cost effective

Step 4: Take Copious Notes

Assess what you are doing great, and what needs improvement.

I’m a researcher and data nerd. I love to analyze the facts of a situation and deduce a reasonable solution. Since I hadn’t gone on a job interview in 5 years, I looked up various interview prep videos on YouTube, like what questions should I ask and how do I spin a negative into a positive. I wrote down my answers and ran them by the most professional and smartest person I know, my sister. That was all my prep, but it wasn’t until I saw the headline of a Ted Talk video (yes, I haven’t even watched it yet) did I get the idea that I think changed the game for me.

The Ted Talk inspired me to track the performance of each interview. I made a timeline of initial screening to a call with the hiring manager, so I could anticipate an average turn around. I reflected on the interviews and wrote down the answers that I felt received a positive response from the interviewer, what anecdotes and knowledge resonated with them. I made notes of the questions where I fumbled or gave an answer that the interviewer needed clarification on. From there I refined my answers, till I knew exactly how to present my skills in the best way possible. When I went in for my 90-minute interview with the company I’m at now, I was like a trained athlete ready for the Olympics. I had practiced and perfected my technique, and it’s all thanks to my notes.

Use all the resources you have, and that includes the interview process itself.

Step 5: Know Your Worth, Know Who You Are.

At the end of the day, you’re either what they are looking for, or you’re not. And that’s ok.

As I expressed above, I analyze things. I OVER ANALYZE things too. I stress over my handwriting in a thank you card. I re-read post-interview thank you emails multiple times. (Oh yeah, don’t forget to send a thank you or follow up email to your recruiter). Remember when I said I didn’t have a dream company, well I guess did, because when they reached out to me I got as excited as a pre-teen going to their first concert headlined by a prepubescent popstar. It’s a company that sells art printed on kitschy items, perfect for me, and yet they totally brushed me off because I didn’t have any flashy brands on my resume. I could have beaten myself up over it but realized that it was their loss, not mine. And it really was, because now I’m with a better company, in an even better position.

Sometimes, what you think on paper is the perfect job – might not really be the perfect job.

I interviewed for another company that was all about crystals and the zodiac. Yeah, I outlined how my sun and moon sign makes me a great candidate for the position in my cover letter. They wanted an in-person interview immediately, but after reviewing their Glassdoor – it was NOT the place for me. Because I know my worth and value, I know what I bring to a company and what I wanted out of my next position – I was comfortable walking away from opportunities too.

My goal was to go where I would be challenged and my worth would be reflected in a tangible value. Knowing who I am, what I bring to a table, and what I wanted kept desperation at bay and perseverance high.

Also, I don’t want to make it look like I didn’t get bummed out, disappointed, frustrated, have stress-induced insomnia or cry in a little ball on my bathroom floor – because I did all of that. BUT, I didn’t let it stop me from believing that the right position was out there. I cried on the bathroom floor and then sent out my resume to 6 different job posts.

The company you’re interviewing with wants YOU to be the one, just go in and show them that you are.

 

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