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9 Ways to Land Your Dream Job

9 Ways to Land Your Dream Job

Unemployment rates in the US are holding steady at below 5 percent, and new jobs are being created monthly in almost every field. Therefore, this is a good time to try and break into a new industry or to get your dream promotion. After all, employers are much more open to bringing on new staff than they were a few years ago. Fields like the technology field are also booming and need an influx of fresh workers. However, even though there is less competition now, it is still important to stand out if you want to land the job of your dreams.

1. Send a thank you note

It used to be a more common practice to send a thank you note after an interview, but many job hunters have stopped doing this. Unfortunately for them, this could be exactly what is standing in the way of their career aspirations. It may be shocking, but 15 percent of hiring managers will not make a job offer to a highly qualified candidate just because they failed to send a thank you note.

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Approximately one-third of employers have also indicated that they lose some confidence in their preferred candidate if a thank you note doesn’t arrive in a timely manner. As people continue to move away from this courteous approach, you can stand out by sending a short, but well-written, thank you email after the interview.

2. Create an online portfolio

Although you will most likely be required to go through the process of submitting a paper resume or filling out an online application, it is still wise to go the extra mile by creating a virtual portfolio. Even if you are in an industry that wouldn’t require you to have a traditional portfolio, you can still offer a more visually appealing resume by going this route. The best part for job hunters is that this doesn’t even cost anything. There are many ways to build, launch and host your online portfolio with no fees.

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3. Flesh out your LinkedIn profile

Many employers search for potential candidates on LinkedIn, and 94 percent of recruiters take the same approach. You can ensure that your profile stands out by listing your accomplishments and receiving endorsements from others. Keep in mind that employers are typically looking for someone who has the right skills and is also a high performer. This can shine through in how you describe yourself and your skills in your profile, so don’t hesitate to list recent relevant projects and any performance-related awards that you have won.

4. Solve a problem for your desired company

After you land an interview with your ideal company, it’s time to turn things up a few notches by looking for a way to truly stand out during the interview. One method that often impresses employers is showing up with a presentation that offers a potential solution for one of the company’s biggest challenges. If this isn’t an option for you, consider putting something together that showcases your skills and incorporates the business in question. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you could create a new logo that represents the company’s mission statement or helps to advertise one of their products.

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5. Allow your personality to shine through

Cultural fit is very important to most hiring managers. As a result, many people attempt to have the so-called “perfect personality” in the initial stages of an application process. However, this can be problematic because you may come off stiff, and you also run the risk of misrepresenting yourself. Instead, infuse some of your true personality into the cover letter. Also, don’t be afraid to showcase some of your humor and outside-the-box, puzzle-solving skills during the interview. As long as you remain professional at all times, this could actually be the thing that makes you stand out enough to get hired.

6. Provide statistical data

Anyone can state on their resume that they improved sales, but by what percentage did sales increase? Offering statistics within a job description is a great way to capture attention without making your resume too long. Be prepared to provide detailed examples during the interview of how you hit those metrics. You can also tie this information into ideas about how you’d accomplish the same thing for your new employer. As always, relating these details to actual products or services is the perfect way to show the interviewer that you have invested time into researching the company.

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7. Time your application correctly

A lot of people send out resumes during the weekend, but it turns out that this is not a good idea. Instead, research indicates that almost a third of applicants who are called for an interview had sent their resume on a Monday. This number drops to a paltry 14 percent when job hunters apply on a Saturday. In other words, even if you have to do your job searching on a Saturday or Sunday, it is best to wait until the beginning of the week to send your application.

8. Be kind and respectful to the receptionist

A big mistake that some candidates make is snubbing the receptionist while waiting for their interview. You don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of time talking to the receptionist, especially if they’re busy. However, it is imperative to be polite, kind and respectful during your interaction with them. Some hiring managers ask their receptionists how they were treated by each interviewee, and this can make a huge difference in the decision-making process.

9. Take the P-I-E approach to interviewing

Do you spend the entire interview spouting pre-planned responses and trying to anticipate the interviewer’s next question? This may make you feel more in control of the situation, but it is probably hurting your chances of getting a job. Instead, it is better to remain in the moment, even if you have to take a second to gather your thoughts. In fact, hiring studies have found that utilizing the P-I-E approach (positive, interested, and engaged) will give you the best chance of getting hired.

Putting these tips into action will make it much easier to score your dream job. You should also remember that if, for some reason, you don’t get a callback, there are still many important lessons you can learn from a job interview rejection.

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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