When you’re searching job listings on your computer, do you think you’ll find your dream gig?
Chances are you won’t.
Between 70 and 80 percent of jobs aren’t published publicly, and 85 percent of jobs are found through networking. Yet, we often feel compelled to spend the majority of our time on job boards. There’s a danger here: Often, the path of least resistance wins, and you may in the process miss out on opportunities that align with your ultimate career goals.
Despite the current economic climate, it IS possible to land your dream job in 2021. It may just require a more creative approach.
1. Dream big, and take action
It’s OK if your dream job sounds quixotic. Perhaps it’s to produce music for Taylor Swift, but you don’t know where to begin. Just start small. In this case, it might mean reaching out to local music recording studios for internships or volunteer positions. Or, it may mean asking a local musician if they’d be interested in working with you on a recording. Watch a series of YouTube videos on recording music to learn the software and skills, then blog about what you’ve learned to further communicate your passion for the industry.
The takeaway is, you need to build your experiences and skills – and be honest with yourself on areas where you’re lacking. In my book, “#Qualified: You Are More Impressive Than You Realize,” I call this “building your qualified.” By building tangible qualifications, you also gain confidence.
Keep your future dreams big, while also taking small, practical actions today.
2. Identify your crew
Most of us think we’ll achieve our dreams on our own. But the career journey is not a solo one.
There are people out there who have your dream job right now. And these people have the blueprint on how to get there. Chances are, they will help you. Think about it, if someone admired your work, wouldn’t you be willing to give your time and advice?
Search within your network, starting with your school’s alumni listings or on LinkedIn. Find employees in your dream role. From there, look at where these professionals got their start and take note. It might be a smaller brand unknown to you. In fact, there are more than 14 million companies with 50 employees or less. There’s a good chance your dream job may be with one of these companies – you just need to discover it!
3. Connect courageously
After you’ve narrowed down these people, craft a concise message asking for a 15 minute informational interview
Start with a friendly approach, like “How are you?” Then add in some information about your passion. Share that you are inspired by their career and would like to learn more about their journey. Lastly, make the ask: “Are you available for a 15 minute Zoom call to connect this week or next?”
Yes, hitting the send button can feel terrifying, but what’s the worst that can happen? The upside is that a “yes” will help you uncover your career blueprint, build your network and open doors to opportunities. One courageous connection a day can get you exponentially closer to your dream career.
4. Level up your network
At your informational interview, show up curious and ready to learn about their career journey.
And be sure to share your passion for the industry. If the experience feels positive, ask if they can recommend anyone else you should reach out to. Professionals are often well connected and may suggest opportunities and ideas for how you can pursue your career dreams. If it feels appropriate, you could ask them to give you feedback on your resume and cover letter since they’re experienced in the hiring process. More likely than not, your courageous connection is going to see a little bit of themselves in you and want to help you succeed.
5. Get ahead of the game
Don’t wait until the stars align. Instead, apply before a position opens. You can reach out to an organization to let them know you are passionate about their work and interested in an opportunity, no matter if they’re hiring or not. This will set you apart and keep you top of mind for when there are positions available. You’re putting yourself out there—you’re doing something most people would never think to do. And you may be surprised to find that they are in fact hiring.
If you’re ready to go after your dream job, follow this process and doors will open. It’s a different mentality; instead of a scarcity mindset (telling yourself the only jobs out there are the ones listed on Indeed.com right now) it’s a mindset of opportunity and attraction (my dream career exists, and I’m on a journey to discover, connect, and achieve it). What are you waiting for? Go after your dream job today. Remember, you are more qualified than you realize.
ABOUT AMANDA NACHMAN:CEO and publisher of College Magazine, the trusted guide to navigating college, reaching millions of readers, Amanda Nachman empowers young professionals to achieve a career they love. She’s developed a career strategy over twelve years coaching thousands of students. It’s the same strategy that helped her to quit her boring day job and launch her dream magazine. Her graduates have gone on to careers at NBC, USA Today, Vox, Washingtonian, Us Weekly, National Geographic, and more. She’s also a TEDx speaker, keynote speaker with APB Speakers, and host of the Find Your Passion Career podcast found on iTunes and Spotify.