Everyone wants a fulfilling career, but often we settle for a job that simply pays the bills. Once you’re in this type of rut, it can seem impossible to get out. However, your dream job might be closer than you think. To move into a job that truly engages you, here are five tips to follow:
Be Proactive: Identify employers that align well with your values and to which you can imagine devoting time and energy. Do you want an employer who is innovative? Creative? Strategic? Do you want to work for an employer who will help you reach your personal, academic or professional goals? Are you hoping to climb the corporate ladder or focus on giving back to the community? Once you have identified your priorities, research employers who are a strong match for those priorities. Review their websites to learn their mission, vision, core values and other important pieces of information. If you do your research, it will help you better prepare for your dream job when the opportunity arises.
Don’t Be Afraid to Learn: A degree alone isn’t going to be enough to land your dream job. Look for opportunities to gain experience. Go the extra mile at your current job or internship, because you’re going to need that valuable experience to set you apart from other applicants. And, if you don’t have a degree… get it! Increasingly, employers have come to expect a minimum requirement of a four-year degree for most positions.
Network, Network, Network…Did I mention network? I’m sure you’ve heard this hundreds of times, but old-school networking is still the best way to build a solid pathway to your dream job. Does your dream job have a professional association? If so…join! Attend meetings, go to conferences and hand out your business cards. The more you can get in front of people, make connections and build relationships, the more likely you will land where you want to be.
Take Advantage of Social Media: Social media is the way you present yourself to the world, and employers will review it to make sure you’re a good fit with their culture. Remember to keep a professional tone when using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. By utilizing social media to establish yourself as an industry insider, you set yourself apart from the crowd.
Resumes Work, but Portfolios Stand Out: Have a sharp resume? Excellent! What about your portfolio? While resumes are great for establishing your qualifications, portfolios provide concrete examples of what you can do for the company. Identify key indicators that you believe are needed for your dream job (i.e. leadership, fiscal, industry expertise, and people skills) and then go about demonstrating those in your portfolio. White papers, budget development, program/process development, social media samples, etc., are all ways to lay out a top-notch portfolio.
Landing your dream job translates into having a more engaged and fulfilled career. However, getting there takes preparation and strategy. These tips will contribute to establishing the necessary background for the job you aspire to achieve.
Jack McCallum has been with the online business department at Herzing University since 2011. When not teaching, she serves as the President/Principal Consultant for HR Balance LLC—a consulting company specializing in human resources management, organizational development, leadership coaching, and training/development. She started HR Balance LLC in 2003 after years of serving in a leadership capacity for a variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations. A keynote speaker and presenter, Jack has served as an industry expert for radio and print media.