5 Ways to Land Your Dream Job

If you're on the lookout for your dream job, you probably spend ample time skimming the latest job listings and fantasizing about a better and brighter place. As you're preparing to take that next step and pursue the next position in your career climb, make sure you're not neglecting these essential steps.

Prioritize Skills Over Awards

Glasses laying on top of resume

Image via Flickr by flazingo_photos

Employers are looking for something very different in today's resumes. A listing of awards or certificates just isn't that impressive anymore. This is particularly true in industries where creativity and innovation reign, such as marketing, sales, or technology. These areas evolve so quickly that even an impressive educational background will be outdated in just a few years.

Instead, design your resume to show what you're doing with a spotlight shone particularly brightly on how you did it. It's more important to think outside the box and come up with outrageous marketing stunts that yield real results than to highlight the college you graduated from. If your published papers have proven more than once that you have a knack for staying a few steps ahead of the latest trends, make sure your employers know about your skill at nailing the way the wind is blowing in your industry.


Make Your Cover Letter Personal

One of the biggest mistakes a job seeker can make is writing up a bland cover letter and swapping out names and companies on each version they send out. Make every cover letter you write completely different. Thanks to the Internet, you can now gather a wealth of information about your prospective employers long before you set foot in the building. Make sure you know not only the company, but also the individual to whom you're addressing your letter. If he goes by Bill instead of William, this small touch will easily show how thoroughly you've done your homework.

You should address the company that you're applying to directly and use your cover letter to highlight exactly why you're a good fit for that company. Know the culture and tweak your writing to fit, whether that means making your letter overly formal or adding a casual and quirky flair. Mention recent accomplishments or awards the company has received to show that you regularly keep up with news in your industry. Think of your cover letter as the gift wrap that ties your whole package together, providing a clear picture of how you're the best fit.


Use Social Media Wisely

Social media sites can be your best resource or your worst enemy. Whether you're actively seeking employment or not, you should maintain a professional presence on all your social media sites. While it's fine to share casual moments, always consider whether the information you're sharing is something you would want an employer to see. This is especially true when it comes to your job hunt, which you should keep quiet if you're employed.

A stream of wild pictures in your city's hottest bars will paint you as a party animal even if this isn't really the case. While your free time is certainly your own business, what employers see on social media sites will influence the impression they form of you.

Of all the social media sites you maintain a presence on, LinkedIn is the most important to a job seeker. Your LinkedIn profile should be 100% complete and go beyond the site's minimum requirements. Don't simply use LinkedIn to showcase your past. Use it as a valuable medium for highlighting what you're doing now. Show off your most recent projects, network with others in your industry, and choose a few relevant groups to maintain an active presence in. Many employers seek talented individuals on LinkedIn and approach them before sifting through the pile of resumes submitted by others.


Shine in the Interview

Landing an interview is just the first hurdle in your job search. Once you have a day and time set for your personal meeting with the employer who may give you your dream job, you need to put in some serious prep time. Review the research that you did for your cover letter and dig deeper to uncover news stories or facts you haven't mentioned yet.

If your cover letter highlights how you've come up with creative marketing campaigns in the past, design a mock-up of a new campaign for the company interviewing you to show off in the interview. If you want to demonstrate your ability to improve the company's tech organization, create a mind map of solutions your employer could use to solve nagging problems.

Your interview is not the time to hold back, so don't keep quiet for fear that the company will use your idea without hiring you. If your idea is really that good, it's an excellent selling point for why you're the one for the job. Walk into your interview with a clear idea of what position you want and what you'll do for the company. While you want to maintain flexibility, it's essential that you arrive with a firm concept of where you want your career to go with this company.


Follow Post-Interview Etiquette

Once the interview is over, you may feel so relieved that all you can think about is making a hasty exit, loosening your tie, and relaxing. However, there are several things you should do both immediately after an interview and in the days following that will increase your chances of landing that dream job.

As you're exiting the building, take a moment to acknowledge anyone you pass. If you breeze past the receptionist and security guard on the way out, you could leave a bad impression. Never underestimate the influence these people may have. Anyone who is in the building on a regular basis could potentially make a comment to higher-ups that seals your fate. Send a personal thank you note after your interview as well. While an email will do, a handwritten note is a gesture often overlooked in today's tech-infused society.

With proper preparation, performance, and follow-up, you can dramatically increase your chances of making the right impression and scoring the job you've always wanted.

Contributed to jobs.net by Courtney Rudd

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