Landing Your Dream Job - My Tips!
I often talk about things to do with building and running a business (as thats something I know a thing or two about!) but what if you don't want your own business? the headaches, the worries, the responsibility? then you'll probably want to find yourself your dream job, the thing that doesn't feel like work, where you don't get that 'oh no, it's Monday' feeling and where you can be a real part of something and help to build something fantastic. These jobs DO exist and here is my advice for finding (and landing!) yours...
Firstly, you need to decide what it is you want to do, sounds easy, right? well, if you haven't decided yet, start with a big piece of paper and a marker. On the left side of the paper write down everything you love to do, these can be things from jobs you've had previously, hobbies or just general things like organising or taking pictures. On the right side of the paper write everything you really don't like to do, for example you may not like talking on the phone or accounts. Use this list to get a clearer idea of what your dream job would entail and in which industry. Once you've done this you can do some research on the companies within that industry and where you think you would fit.
Once you know the company or companies you would like to work for, take a good look at them, look at their Facebook page, their blog and twitter, establish their tone and get a real feel for the company - can you honestly see yourself fitting in there - maybe they are very corporate and you aren't - really take the time to narrow down exactly where you'd like to be so you can target them better and tailor your email or application (if they have a vacancy available) to them specifically. As an employer nothing disheartens me more than a 'dear sir / madam, I'm good at admin please hire me' type email - firstly, if you are emailing me directly, use my name so I know it's me you want to talk to (not the other 20 people you've cc'ed - another pet hate! this tells me you don't really care where you work) secondly tell me more about why you want to work for me and why your skills fit my company.
When I placed the advert for my assistant last year I had a specific list of things I was looking for including liking dogs and making tea! One of the things that stood out on Lisa's email to me was that she addressed every point on my list with how she would fit that requirement or would be willing to learn it and ended by saying she loved dogs and made a great cup of tea (no-one else had made any reference to either point!!) just from that email I guessed she would be a good fit and she got my sense of humour, she was straight on the short list!
If you are sending an email to introduce yourself or if you've been lucky enough to land an interview - do your research! Look at the company, how could you help them? improve them? help them grow? don't be afraid to share your ideas with them, this could well land you the job! I know people are scared of having their ideas stolen, and I won't lie, it happens! I pitched a magazine around 2 years ago with a series of columns, they loved the idea and asked me to prepare a years outline, I did so and then never heard from them again - yup, they run all of my ideas for the whole year using an in house writer. Of course I was furious and upset but the columns were not written how I would have written them and I have a ton more ideas - I could spare those 12! There are always more ideas but you may not get a second chance.
When I interviewed Lisa (very informally over coffee in Starbucks for about 2 hours!!) the thing that impressed me most was that she had really looked at my business, my blog, my twitter and Facebook, all of the products, she came armed with a ton of suggestions of what I could do to take the company to the next level, to grow into other areas (i.e. the YouTube channel and video tutorials) and how she would take charge of them. Of course I could have made notes and left that interview and done them all myself but it made far more sense to me (and I'm sure to every other business person) to take on someone who was that motivated and dedicated, companies will value the fact that you took that time and recognise that if you came up with those ideas (even if they aren't all suitable) that once you are in the company you'll probably come up with loads more!
Employers, especially small companies like mine, are looking for someone who will love our 'baby' and take care of it as we would - show them that you are that person! Even if you don't get the job this time around, you may well make an impression that will last. I recently got offered a job from a company I worked with a few years ago, back then they had offered me what I thought was my dream job, trained me up and then promptly ditched me a few weeks later when someone they thought was better came along. 3 years on they offered me the job for real this time. I had made an impression and they remembered me even after all this time, while I was flattered, thats no longer my dream and it's for the best that happened at the time (although I was devastated back then!) as I was offered another, opportunity straight after that I was much more suited to and I'm very happy where I am now.
People will judge you on what you DO not what you SAY you can do, so send off those stamp designs, email that company, make the best samples you can to show to the magazine (I've heard more than one person say they are saving their best ideas or designs for when they land the job - but if you don't do your best ones and prove yourself, you may never get that job!)
Finally, once you have landed the job, don't become complacent, it's like any relationship, that thing you found cute at the beginning becomes annoying, you take it for granted, you stop putting in any effort, but remember, if you don't, someone else will be right behind you ready to make it their dream job - don't work that hard just to lose it! Work hard, be kind, be nice, be helpful, make yourself invaluable, be a real part of the team and you could well have a job for life and a part in something amazing.
Good Luck!! and don't forget, whatever they are...