Big Job Energy: 10 Things to Do to Snag Your Dream Job
Looking for your next career move is not for the weak. Just the thought of having to acclimate yourself into a new workspace, with new people, learn new systems, and leave whatever familiarity you have in your current position behind will have you signing off of LinkedIN in a hurry. Nevertheless, if you find yourself wanting to take the leap these 10 tips will make it just a little less painful. Whether you're already applying and not hearing back, getting the interview and bombing it, or you're fresh out of school and trying to shake the job search jitters, these tips will prove extremely helpful to anyone trying to snag that dream job.
1. Understand Your Industry
Every industry has different guidelines when it comes to applying, interviewing, and accepting a job. It's important that you understand what the industry specific standard is, because you don't want something little like HOW you applied or what TYPE of resume you sent in to keep you from landing the job. Do your homework. If you're in a creative space then it's likely not going to behoove you to send in a business style resume. Throw some color on that thing! Is it expected for your photo to be on your resume? Do they prefer you to apply online or do you need to do something in person? Is a cover letter necessary? These are the types of questions you can ask yourself and do a bit of research on for your particular industry to make sure all the little things are not going to make you stand out in a negative way.
2. Get Active On Social
Most positions are filled through word of mouth. Networking is so important and now that doesn't even mean you have to be in the room with someone. Social media has definitely become part of today's job search. Let's start by saying, if you don't have a LinkedIN, it's time. It's time to get your professional social presence out there. Use your full, and real, name with accurate information that matches your resume.
It's not good enough to just have a page; you need to be active on it. This shows the employer that you can be consistent, and that you take pride in your career and in building and maintaining professional relationships, which can prove valuable to them should you accept a position with their company. Make obvious connections with people that you already know, but be intentional too, reach out to connect with people that you admire in your industry. When it comes to posting, for the love of all things wonderful, leave the personal stuff on the 500 other social platforms. Keep it professional here. Share updates on professional development that you're working on, new experiences you're having, or current events that affect your industry.
It's preferable to get professional headshots taken to use for your profile photo, but they can be pricey, so in a pinch put on something professional, use a plain background, and a ring light if you have one. It's best to use a photo where your face is easily visible; so shoot for taking your photos from the bust up. You should fill most of the frame, make sure there is not a lot of empty space around you. Below are some good examples. Again, this is a great thing to check what the industry standard is. In some industries, it may be okay to have a little fun with your profile photo.
3. Engage in Self-Care
Along the same lines of dressing for an in person interview for a virtual one, self care helps you to feel your best and it shows through in an interview. Self care is different for everyone, but whatever that thing is that makes you feel like your best you, make sure you're getting enough of that when you're in the midst of a job search. This can be making sure you get to the gym, scheduling a massage, indulging in skincare, or spending time meditating. Self care is not selfish and you're entitled to the things that make you put your best foot forward.
4. Set a Concrete Filter
When things aren't going as planned it's easy to want to lower our standards to reach the low hanging fruit. This can happen in your job search just like it can in other areas of your life (am I right, or am I right). If you're wanting to make a career move, it needs to be strategic. This means that there has to be certain things that are not negotiable, and it's important that you stick to your guns. Remember, the goal is to land a job you love that will develop your resume and progress your career, not to simply get a different job.
5. Prepare Your Elevator Pitch
If you aren't familiar with the term "elevator pitch" it is an introduction that is all encompassing of who you are, and what it is that you do, compacted into a short enough speech that you could give it to someone you met on an elevator. Traditionally, it's 30-60 seconds long and is a high level view, not containing many details. This is an incredibly powerful tool, because you never know who you are going to meet, and most jobs are filled through connections, not through applications. Practice your pitch over and over so that it sounds natural and not rehearsed or mechanical at all. It is also helpful to practice in front of other people once you get comfortable with it. It can be super uncomfortable "pitching" to an unsuspecting person. The video below will help you come up with a pitch that is conversational, so that it includes the other person talking, and you aren't just talking at them about yourself.
If you aren't used to attending networking events, it can sound really intimidating at first, but the benefits really are immeasurable. There is no better way to practice your elevator pitch than on people that you don't know, in a professional setting. Additionally, you never know who you will meet at one of these events. The connections made when you intentionally put yourself in a room with other professionals can often be life changing.
If you don't know where to start or where to look, it's always a great idea to plug into professional networks in your area and ask if they host them or if they know someone that does. If you're local to Indiana, I really recommend The Boss Babe Network. This network, that I happen to sit on the board of, connects and supports women in business. The Boss Babe Network offers a membership that allows its members to attend member meet-ups for opportunities to foster these relationships, professional development workshops, and amazing networking events. If you’re interested in learning more about The Boss Babe Network you can check it out by clicking the photo below.
7. Create Templates
Applying to jobs is time consuming! An incredibly helpful tip is to make a Google Doc with answers to questions you find yourself answering often. That way when those questions come up you can simply copy and paste. Just make sure that you read over it before submitting, change out any company or role specific names. This can help alleviate some of the monotony when applying and help prevent burnout.
You should also not be writing a new cover letter every time you apply somewhere. I like to make a cover letter template with the company name, name of the role, date, and any other role specific information in a red font to make sure I'm changing it out. Now, if you do this DO NOT save the cover letter as "Cover letter for (insert company name)." This makes it painfully obvious that you're applying to other positions and that may be a turn off for some hiring managers.
The interview may be virtual or even via phone, but you should still go all out as if it were in person. When you look good you feel confident, and employers like confidence. So throw the pajama pants in the hamper and break out the blazer and heels. Yes, you NEED to wear the shoes too. This would also be a good time to mention that you should always assume that you're going to be on camera for a virtual interview. Even if they say you won't, they may ask you to, just to see if you came prepared. Better to be over prepared than underprepared.
9. Follow Up
Some of these hiring managers are so overwhelmed with the amount of candidates they're juggling that it can prove very helpful to shoot a follow-up email after an encounter as somewhat of a tap on the shoulder saying "remember me" or "look, I go the extra mile." If you had a screening call, an actual interview, or even went through the whole process and weren't selected you should send a follow-up email.
Emails after you have already not been selected may seem unproductive, but many of these managers a have multiple roles that they need to fill, and you may not have been a fit for the one you applied for, but they may see you in a different role they have available. It's always a good idea to send that final follow-up email thanking them for their time and letting them know that you are very interested in the company's mission and would love the opportunity to discuss any upcoming roles that they think may be a better fit.
10. Turn Down the Offer
We all love to hear yes, and everyone loves to feel "chosen," but if you're 100% qualified for the job -- it's a lateral move, and that's not meeting the requirements that you need to stretch and grow professionally. The danger of wavering on your non-negotiables is that you can easily go through all of the stress and anxiety that comes with changing positions, only to find yourself in the exact same predicament that had you looking for a new role in the first place. It's important to know that a job search is a two way street. The company is looking for someone to fill a role, and you're looking for a role to fill, but just because you're a good fit for them doesn't mean that it is a good fit for you. It's okay to turn down an offer for a role that isn't quite what you thought it was due to salary, work-life balance, expectations, responsibilities, or better offers.
It's not easy to land that dream job, but you are oh so capable. Implementing some or all of these tips will make the process less painful and certainly more effective. The overarching message is to get up, get out there, whether virtually or in person and put the best YOU forward. Sell yourself like you believe that you deserve it because...you do.
Just my thoughts,