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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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Published on October 8, 2019

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

1. Define What Success Is for You

There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

7. Pick Up Some New Skills

Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

9. Make Yourself Indispensable

Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

10. Get Off the Fence

People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

18. Join a Professional Organization

The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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