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How to Get Your Dream Job in 6 Easy Steps

Updated on August 1, 2011

It CAN Be Done!

Six months ago, I was a senior in college contemplating graduation and how I might find employment in one of the most intimidating job markets we've seen in years.  I was concerned that it might take months to find work, and that I may end up doing something I don't like just because nothing else is available.  Six months later, my worries have been dispelled- I have signed a job (a ridiculously awesome one at that) doing exactly what I wanted to do and exactly where I wanted to do it.  How did I get here?  Luck- definitely, but also a pretty simple process I developed that helped me search for and apply for jobs in the most efficient way possible.  I'll walk you through it- it's only 6 steps!

It doesn't matter where you are- just write down what you're looking for- on a napkin, on your laptop, in a journal... what's important is that you realize WHAT exactly you want- so you know exactly what  to look for!
It doesn't matter where you are- just write down what you're looking for- on a napkin, on your laptop, in a journal... what's important is that you realize WHAT exactly you want- so you know exactly what to look for!

Step 1: Describe Your Perfect Job

You're not going to find what you want if you don't know what you're looking for.  Write down some of the details of your ideal job.  Where is it?  What kind of company is it?  In what industry is it?  What are you doing? What are your coworkers like? How much do you earn? Do you have benefits? What are your hours like? Do you telecommute?  Do you have your own office, or work in a shared space?  Do you make your own schedule, or have others set it for you? Do you work alone or in a group?  Is it a large or small company?  Do people dress formally or informally?

These are just a few of the factors you should consider.  What you should end up with  is a nice sketch of your perfect job- something clear and understandable, but with a bit of wiggle room (e.g. you can't say "I want Samantha Brown's job.  Because we all do. And you can't have it.

Overall, your sketch looks pretty sweet, right?  Well, here's the cool thing- it's possible.  Now let's find this shindig.

Step 2: Create a Resume and Cover Letter

I am not going to go into the specifics of this process, because so many guides exist on the topic.  It is suffice to say at this point that you should have a general cover letter (highlighting your abilities and explaining your interest) and resume on file.  

Ideally, the generic cover letter should be short and to the point, and should be easy to customize for each application.  You are, of course, free to write an original cover letter for each job to which you apply, however you'll find that certain points and structural formalities are repeated no matter what company you are writing to, so a starting template really is the best way to go.

Your dream job awaits!
Your dream job awaits!

Step 3: Start The Search by Creating Filters

There are a TON of job sites out there, and when I started my job search I made an account on pretty much all of them. That said, I found that they were only good for one thing: sending annoying spammy emails. Even those which sent job postings related to my interests or locations were disappointing- often the filters did not work well and even more frequently, the jobs of which I was notified were no longer available! If you create an account on one job site, let it be Linkedin. Linkedin is legit, plus some employers prefer Linkedin profiles over old fashioned resumes.

For all other job search activities, however, I recommend Craigslist and Google Alerts. Most of my job discoveries have been through Craigslist feeds read via Google Reader.

Step 4: Review The Results and Filter More

Once you have set up your RSS feeds and Google Alerts, you need do nothing more than check your email and Google Reader account for new postings.  The vast majority of job listings will not apply/be of interest to you, and you will only be qualified for a certain prorportion of those that do.  

I would not recommend applying to each job that looks right as soon as you see it.  At this step, all you have to worry about is setting aside the listings that meet your criteria.  This can mean bookmarking them, starring them in Google Reader, or emailing them to yourself.  Just make sure you have them on record so you can take action when you have time.  Feel free to immediately apply to positions if you want to, but due to the sheer volume of job postings and the mental exhaustion that results from culling through them, it is often best to give your brain a rest before putting together a sterling cover letter.

Step 5: Apply to Positions That Match Your Description

If you find a posting that seems to mesh with your ideal job description, by all means apply!  

To make the application process as streamlined as possible, utilize the template cover letter and resume you created in Step 2.  Each cover letter and resume can and should be customized for each position you're applying for.  

OK... To be honest, I never touched my CV- I just left it as it was- but cover letters absolutely must be customized.  If you're not willing to explain why you are a good match for the company to which you are applying, do you really want to work there?  In an ideal world, you'll be so excited about this position, you'll be brimming with things to say to your potential employer.  Then, all you'll have to worry about is keeping the cover letter short and to the point.

Step 6: Interview!

You may think that once you have an interview, you're golden- you've got the job.  Alas, this isn't exactly the case.  It's with preliminary phone interviews, as well as in-person interviews, that you truly find out if you're a good match with the company- and if this job posting really does match your initial description.  

Sometimes, a potential employer will politely (or impolitely) reject you after an interview, but more often than not, you will reject the potential employer.  It's OK to be picky- your job is out there.  Of course... things get a bit more urgent if you're hard pressed for cash, but even taking on part-time work in the meantime can buy you the flexibility you need to find your perfect job.

How will you know once you find the right job?  Believe me, you'll just know.  Because you've gone through the process of sketching out your desired position in your head, you already know what your job will be like, and you will feel it in your gut when you find it in the real world.  It's that simple.  

If you’ve really found the right job, and it truly is right for you, you’ll get it.  Be yourself in your interview- don’t hide anything and be honest.  And above all, have faith that things will work out.  If you are willing to go the extra mile to get the job of your dreams- to actually hold out for something that’s perfect- you’ll get it.

A Note on Patience

One final note is that you must be patient.  While I signed on with a company a week after I graduated, I had been sending in job apps and searching for good positions for three months already.  By graduation time, I had already submitted over 100 applications.  Of those 100, only 25% replied at all, and after phone interviews, I decided about 90% of respondents weren't a good match.  So please understand that the perfect job isn't going to jump out and grab you in a manner of minutes- but also have hope.  It's there- and now you have some decent tools to help you find it!

Comments

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    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks mishel ronld! It definitely worked for me.

    • mishel ronld profile image

      mishel ronld 

      6 years ago from New York, NY

      Hey nice hub for finding job it will really helpful for job seekers.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Indeed, thesingernurse! And I'm so glad that you found the right employer at long last. I'm sure it was worth the wait and persistence!

      Thanks, accofranco :D Though you do make a very valid point. And it's a dreadful shame that one does not always have the luxury of waiting around for the perfect gig. Though one can still commit to looking for something better after finding a tolerable, if not ideal, source of income.

    • accofranco profile image

      accofranco 

      6 years ago from L Island

      wow...this is a nice hub, but the matter is that sometimes, you don't even find job adverts to apply for, meaning less companies are hiring nowadays...but you absolutely made nice points...thumbs up!

    • thesingernurse profile image

      Tina Siuagan 

      6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      You are right. Patience is definitely a VIRTUE in job applications. Landing on your dream job is not done overnight! When I was applying for jobs after graduation, it took me almost six months to find the perfect employer for me. Most of the time, they would just turn you down. You have to be cool about that because while you're looking for a a job that would best work for you, employers are scouting for their preferred and qualified employees just the same. Sometimes, your ways might end up unmatched.

      This is very helpful for college fresh grads in their job hunts... Voted up! :)

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 

      6 years ago from The Zoo

      Awesome, I really didn't know what Linkedin was all about. Now I get it! Thanks.

    • Bilaras profile image

      Edward Happer MSc 

      8 years ago

      Ahhhh dream jobs... Best thing about dreams jobs is that they stay in your dream. I hope every one gets their dream jobs. Thanks for posting this hubs.

    • liljen23 profile image

      Jennifer Crowder 

      8 years ago from Shreveport,LA

      Great hub on finding your dream job..keep hubbing..

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