The first step towards a dream job is having a clear vision of what you want to achieve.
Without a clear objective it will be difficult to perform at your best and for greater things to happen in the long term.
So, where do we start?
It’s important to have a clear vision of your future career path. In this first step, we’re going back to the basics and start talking about life in general. What is it that makes us truly happy? What do we value in our lives? For some people it will be family or friends, while for others it will be traveling or helping other people. It doesn’t matter what you answer with as long as your values are clear and defined beforehand! The key here is to understand yourself better and to build a road-map. Knowing where you want to go will make creating goals easier in the second step.
Once you know what it is that truly makes you happy and fulfilled, you can start building SMART goals.
After going through the first step you should have a good idea of what makes you happy. Having a concrete vision should make the second step a bit easier as it’s all about turning your long-term dreams into short-term goals. When creating a goal, there are certain criteria that need to be fulfilled in order for it to be considered truly SMART:
Specific – is my goal clearly described? Is every aspect of my future described with enough detail? Can I easily break down this goal into subgoals?
Example: “I want to find a job within the software development field that will allow me to travel and helps others at the same time. In 5 years, I want to be working as a web developer using blockchain technology”
Measurable – Can I measure progress towards achieving my goal at any time during the process? How will I know if I’m on track or not? What numbers/benchmarks indicate that I am progressing day-by-day?
Example: “I’ve just finished the first year of the software engineering degree and I’m currently looking for a summer internship”
Achievable – Is my goal realistic in terms of time/resources invested? Am I working with the best tools to achieve it? Do I have all the support needed from people around me
Example: “I can achieve this goal if I work on it for 3 hours every day, using the learning resources that are available online”
Realistic – What are my expectations realistically speaking? Have I put aside enough time/resources for future challenges that might come up unexpectedly or delay my plan in any way?
Example: “I currently work full-time, so I will need to find time outside of work to achieve this goal. This is doable if I don’t book any vacations during those time periods”
Time-based – when does this need to be achieved by? What is the deadline for completing this step in the process towards my final goal?
Example: “I will need to find an internship within 6 months in order to start applying for web development jobs”
This list might seem tedious at first, however, creating SMART goals is a good exercise for everybody. It forces you to think critically about your options and helps you create measurable steps towards your final goal.
This step is closely tied to the previous one. Creating your resume isn’t just about having a document that summarizes your work experience and educational background, but also about understanding what you bring to the table for any employer. It’s important to understand the value you can provide so an organization will decide to hire you instead of somebody else with similar skills / education.
“Did I do my homework?”
Having written down clear expectations for each role or company you plan on applying to should make this process easier as it will allow you to create different resumes/cover letters depending on which specific characteristics are required by individual companies (i.e The type of technology used, physical location or job specialization).
Now that we have clear goals and a plan on how to achieve them, it’s time to find the right resources to help us reach our destination. The first step is choosing which online platforms you will be using as references for your journey! There are thousands of job boards out there and it can be hard to decide which ones offer the best opportunities out there.
Even though there are many factors which will determine the success of our job search (like looking through enough relevant opportunities or applying for jobs early in the morning when less people are online), it’s important to create a strategy around how we’re going to find them! There are about 3-5 main strategies that I see people use, depending on who they ask you’ll hear different answers.
The three most common strategies are using Google search, using job boards or using one of each. I usually recommend using 2 out of 3 because combining two together tends to increase your chances of finding relevant job postings by about 100% !!!
job boards – websites with special sections dedicated to all kinds of vacancies available. They typically require you to either apply through an automated system or send your application manually through a contact form.
Google search – there are tons of websites with long lists of job boards which you can find using the right keywords. These sites might not be very convenient because they don’t have any kind of ranking system, but if you know how to use Google then it shouldn’t be a problem.
combining both – one of the most effective strategies is to start off with a few general searches on Google and then go from there by seeing what’s available on job boards . It’s also pretty fast, especially when combined with other strategies like checking your emails regularly (we’ll talk about this more in depth later).
Congratulations on reaching this far and getting closer to your new job. Now that we’ve planned everything out and managed to find relevant opportunities it’s time to get directly into action!
Studies show that women don’t apply to jobs they do not think they are qualified for, we say, screw that, apply anyway. I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to take a chance and simply try, if we’re qualified then great, if not then you might learn something along the way!
An important aspect which is usually underrated when applying for jobs is being active on social media networks . Companies will look at your activity on different platforms before hiring so now would be a good time to clean up all irrelevant posts/tweets/photos etc… Remember to put yourself out there – it’s where you’re going to meet your future boss. It’s also a good idea to connect with other people in the industry and ask them for some advice on which companies are worth applying for.
Keep up your enthusiasm, don’t let stress get to you, keep looking through relevant opportunities every day – some things might take weeks or months to happen so it’s important that we stay focused on our long term goal!
It’s a scary word but it shouldn’t be an issue when you’ve been preparing for it. There are tons of resources available on the internet which will help you to get ready for your interview, not only that, recruiters and companies value different things when it comes to interviewing, most of them appreciate confidence in their candidates so they ask difficult questions in order to test how well we can think under pressure. Make sure you learn about a company before going into an interview because by knowing what they do and why they’re doing it you’ll be able to build rapport with them much easier!
There’s no such thing as an ideal candidate, we’re all different and unique in our own little ways. This is what your potential employer will be trying to figure out during the interview – are you compatible with their company? Are your skills actually related to what they are looking for? If it seems like you might not live up to their expectations then don’t lose hope! During my career I’ve had many interviews which did not end up in a job offer, but there were other people who would have done a much worse job than me. Sometimes all it takes is one big mistake or misunderstanding, sometimes it’s because you simply did not live up to their standards .
I know that being interviewed is nerve-racking for everyone so take some time to prepare yourself before actually going into the interview room . Put together everything you’ve written down earlier, write down questions which you’d like to ask them and generally think about what they could possibly ask you. Go over possible answers beforehand and prepare stories from your experience which would suit the question well.
An interview is complete! Now it’s time to wait for the final verdict, some companies will contact you sooner than others, just be patient and keep an eye out on your emails.
Remember to send a thank you email after the interview (especially if they do not offer one), it doesn’t have to be anything long, just say that you’re looking forward to meeting them again and/or working with them! For some reason sending this little message really affects their impression of you so don’t forget about it.
When everything goes smoothly – great job, welcome aboard! If something went wrong maybe there was something you missed or did not manage to show during the interview. A lot of times things are simply out of your control so don’t let this get in your way , sometimes another opportunity is just around the corner!
If all else fails then keep looking for good opportunities elsewhere. We’re all learning!
Failing is apart of success, we just need to learn from our mistakes and try again!
The key here is simply staying organized and keeping track of everything you applied for. Do not waste time by following up with different companies because it only ends up decreasing your chance to get hired at all.
Sending an email each time you apply can be tedious (especially since most job boards don’t let you apply for more than 1 position at the same time), therefore I highly recommend using job search aggregators like Indeed or Linkedin which will allow you to create different accounts and track all the jobs that are currently available in one place.
Conclusion: There is no magic recipe, just staying organized and trying to find as many relevant opportunities as possible! Using a combination of these strategies will definitely increase your chances of success even further so just give them a try! Even if you don’t feel like they’ll work, there is no risk involved!