Let me guess: you don’t want just any job… you want your dream job. And in an ideal world, you’d land it in 2020! Did I guess correctly? I’m not a mind reader, I’m just a good listener! As a job search expert and career coach, I have listened to hundreds of job seekers talk about their greatest struggles, deepest desires, and biggest goals. So I wanted to break down my step-by-step foundations to get to where you ultimately want to be as quickly as possible.
Now let me tell you, after coaching over 600 people at this point, these steps are universally applicable to any career you’re looking for. I don’t care if you’re entry-level or going for a VP or C-level executive position. I don’t care if you’re going into non-profit, government, tech, entertainment, professional services – as long as you have to go through an application process or interview to get a job offer, these 7 steps will work. So without further ado, let’s dive into my foolproof roadmap on how to land a job as quickly as possible this year.
Step 1: Boost Your Confidence
I always start people off with evaluating their confidence because I know as job seekers, we can feel really discouraged. We might start to jump to the worst-case scenario if we don’t hear something back, and the rejections can build into self-doubt. That’s a very natural reaction! But in order to get to where you want to be, patience and resilience are the key ingredients to your success. And with that comes building a growth mindset and confidence. So in my job search program, by the way, I walk you through every single step we’re about to go through. But I just want to share that the first thing I have people do is build up their growth mindset and really let go of anything that’s been hindering them or holding them back.
Wherever you are in your job search, I want you to know that building your confidence up is critical to your success. A lot of people I work with are just focused on resumes, but trust me on this one. Without this foundation of confidence and abundance, trust me when I say your job search is going to be more difficult than it needs to be.
Step 2: Get Clear on What You Want
We always know where we are, but without knowing exactly what our destination is, we tend to become scattered and unfocused. This might look like having ten different versions of our resumes or applying for a different type of role each day, for example. It can be tempting to take these dangling carrots of short-term comfort in front of us that lead us away from our ultimate goal. So I really want to make sure you get clear on what you truly want in this next career of yours. Now, it doesn’t have to be your forever goal or your forever destination, but really make sure you know your non-negotiables. Figure out what your values are, what kind of opportunity matches and compliments your skills, your interests, and the impact that you want to make. When you can hone in on that, you’ll be ready to start working on the next step of this job search process.
RELATED: WHAT’S ON YOUR CAREER MIND MAP?
Step 3: Polish Your Personal Brand
It is very common practice nowadays for companies to Google search your name. When I’m Googling your name, what is populating? Are you showcasing that you’re an expert in whatever it is that you say you’re an expert or seasoned professional in? You want to be able to control your narrative so that organizations can really see you as the candidate that they should hire compared to a lot of other people who have very similar skills, education level, and background experience. Your personal brand is what people are saying about you when you’re not in the room and you control that both online as well as offline. Building off our last step, you can’t have a powerful personal brand without first getting clarity. So use this step to further your clarity in a way that makes it clear to others what you’re all about.
Step 4: Optimize Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
A lot of people come to me just wanting to write their resume and create their LinkedIn profile for them, but they haven’t workd on the other three critical foundational steps. It’s much easier to create a really great and solid and eye-capturing resume when you’ve already done the work to get clear on what you want and what you’re going for. One mistake I see a lot of people make is pouring all of their job search energy into their resume. They might have multiple versions of it going around, and they might spend time customizing and tweaking every word on there trying to beat out the applicant tracking system. But let me tell you, your LinkedIn profile is actually more important than your resume. Your LinkedIn profile is what allows you the opportunity to become visible and get found from your dream employers every single day.
Recruiters are on LinkedIn every day looking for candidates just like you, but if your LinkedIn isn’t optimized and strong, you’re not going to be found. And even worse, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you’re sending a signal to your employer that you’re not as serious about your career as you say you are. Having a polished LinkedIn profile showcases what kind of attention to detail you’ll have and what kind of effort you’ll put forth if you’re given this role. So think about your personal branding, including your resume, LinkedIn as an entire package. An employer usually has only about 30 minutes to evaluate whether or not you’re a good fit. So everything about your branding will be taken into consideration as they start to vet you for opportunities and compare you to other candidates.
Step 5: Get Visible
Now that we have a strong foundation built, we can move into becoming visible. I believe that it’s possible to become visible even if you don’t have any connections. A lot of my clients actually get their jobs from completely new strangers, meaning they just messaged somebody on LinkedIn for the first time ever. If you have a strategic message and are able to concisely share your mission and impact, you can make connections that ultimately lead to your dream job. In addition to directly messaging recruiters or hiring managers on LinkedIn, you can also join groups both on Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with people there.
When you can connect with people and create relationships, I promise you, you are going to beat out all of the other candidates who have clicked the easy apply button and are patiently waiting to get an interview invitation. My goal for you in 2020 is not to be passive about your job search. We need to get more strategic and we need to become more proactive in our job search strategies.
Step 6: Position Yourself Correctly During Interviews
I have been on many, many, many interviews where I could have done better. I stuttered, I mumbled, and I messed up…but I still got the jobs! So please know that interviewing is not about being perfect.
Interviewing is really about positioning yourself to snag that opportunity because you know exactly what the interviewer is looking for. You’ve done your research, you’ve done your prep work, and you know how to close the interview. If you leave that interview room and get an update letting you know that you were overqualified or under-qualified, it just means you didn’t position yourself well enough during that interview. So it’s incredibly important to position yourself correctly. Take a look at this interview preparation video and make sure that you’re starting to think about what is it that employers really want.
Step 7: Negotiate Your Offer
The final step of landing your dream job is being able to negotiate your offer. So if you’re at this stage, congratulations on receiving an offer! It’s really important to make sure that you know how to position yourself firmly yet politely while also backing yourself up with accurate salary data reports. I try to equip all of my clients across different industries, locations, and titles with accurate salary data reports so that they can ask for as much as they can while being confident about what they’re asking for. Glassdoor and PayScale do not provide accurate numbers, because they are often self-selected numbers from completely anonymous people. That’s why you need something more credible than Glassdoor or Payscale.
Using accurate salary data reports will give you the confidence you need when presenting the reported information to the company. When you can provide specific information from compensation analysts and consultants, it’s really, really powerful. Those that have been following me for some time also know that I’m a huge advocate for negotiating your salary. I’ve shared personally how I’ve let go of $5k, $10k, sometimes $15k early in my career because I didn’t negotiate. So I make sure none of my clients make that same mistake. I recently had somebody who just landed a job at Facebook and literally negotiated $30,000 more than what was initially offered! So don’t be afraid to negotiate, but do make sure you master the scripts.
So there you have it. Those are the step-by-step foundations that I would walk you through to make sure that you land a dream job as quickly as possible. Be sure to also check out my free resource library where I’ve included my Dream Job Roadmap PDF, which is a whole step-by-step foundation for this process.
If you found this article helpful, you can learn about how Emily Liou, Career Happiness Coach at CultiVitae guides corporate professionals to wake up happy on Mondays! Emily works with ambitious corporate professionals in her private coaching program called The Corporate Ladder of Purpose™. She also teaches job seekers how to conquer every stage of the job search process through her comprehensive e-course and group coaching program, the Happily Hired Formula™