You know how it is, you start off all young and naive of how your career’s going to turn out, then before you know it, you wake up one morning, from your hideously early alarm clock, and realise that you’re getting ready to go to a job that’s okay, it pays the bills, but it definitely isn’t your dream career, and start to wonder what went wrong.
This is my general routine most mornings, until recently, when I managed to bag myself a new job. I’m pretty freaking pleased with myself, but I mean, I’m 28, so it’s taken a little while!!
So I thought I’d share what I did, to hopefully help you bag your new career, especially with it coming up to a new year, y’know, new year new you, and all that jazz.
#1 Dream Career: Lists. Lists. And more lists.
If you’re like me, you’ll have no idea what your dream career is anymore. I mean, it’s been a few too many years since University, you’re a little bit jaded by real life work, and you’ve watched far too many movies, where the lead characters have amazing jobs, you’ve no idea what you should be doing with your life.
Don’t worry. I got you.
Start by making a list of all the Companies/Places you’d love to work for, and think outside of the box.
Be realistic though, if you’re a home bird, and you don’t want to move away, don’t put down Disney Land Paris as a valuable option. Even though, that would be pretty damn cool.
Making a list of Companies you’d like to work for, can sometimes change your job perspective. You might think I want to work in Marketing, and only Marketing, but your dream Company has an opening for a different job, that you would actually boss. I believe in you!
#2 Dream Career: LinkedIn
LinkedIn is now going to be your best friend.
Don’t worry, it scares me as well, but it’s the way forward in the working world. Plus, it’s almost like a mini blog for your professional work. You can add posts, and showcase your work, and why shouldn’t you? You rock. Show the world, get your dream career.
Don’t have a LinkedIn? Sign up here.
It’s free to sign up, so don’t worry about that. You get quite good features with the free version too. You can sign up to premium, and you get the first month free, which is handy. This just lets you message people who aren’t part of your connections, which is very handy for what we’re doing!
So, you’re signed up to LinkedIn, now make sure you have a clear, professional photo of yourself, and add a good cover photo, something that represents your work, or even the industry you’re trying to get in to.
Once that’s sorted you’re ready to start connecting with people. Connect with friends and co-workers, and ask them to endorse your skills, and leave comments on work you’ve done, to pad your profile out as well, it looks supz fancy.
Now, you need to get your detective cap on. Remember that list you wrote of Companies you’d like to work for? Yeah? Well now you’re going to find out who it is you need to contact from that Company that will put you in with the best chances of starting a conversation about any opportunities at the company.
Note: This is not always HR. It could be the head of the department you want to work for, or even the CEO if it’s a smaller company. Just make sure you do your research.
Once you’ve found the right contact, search for them on LinkedIn and ask to connect. When you connect, make sure you add a note in, so they don’t wonder why a random person is connecting with them. I usually explain, briefly, who I am and why I’d like to connect with them.
Note: Don’t rush in here and be like “gimme a job” – imagine if you got that in your inbox. Let them know you’re interested in their industry and wanted to connect to keep up to date and chat about the industry!
Once you’re connected with them, then you’re off. Keep an eye on their page, do your research. Have they written any articles you can like and comment on?
Then wait. Patience is key. My boyfriend connected with a man he wanted to work for then waited 6 months to approach them about a job, and y’know what? He god damn got it. Go bae.
I’m not telling you to wait 6 months, but at least a week.
Then you want to compose the best opening e-mail ever. Thank them for connecting, then let them know who you are, what you’re about and what you’re interested in. Go in to briefly what you’ve done and then what your skills are. Let them know why you’re interested in them/ their company/ their industry and then ask if they could spare some time to talk about potential vacancies that may come up in the future.
#3 Dream Career: The CV
Eughhh. The dreaded CV. Is it just me, or do you hate writing CVs as well?
It’s not fun, and I generally never know what to write. I can do a million things for a company and then I’ll sit in front of my CV and my mind goes blank, like I’m a little foetus with no experience what so ever, when I know that isn’t true.
So sell yourself. You are your biggest fan, and if you don’t believe in yourself and your skills, how can you expect someone who doesn’t know you’re amazing to believe in you?
So boss that CV. Make sure you have a really catchy intro, that draws people in straight away. It should explain:
– Who you are.
– What you’ve done
– What you’re good at; and
– What you can bring to a Company.
Then go on and add your key skills. Note, the word key skills. The recruiter doesn’t need to know you can successfully navigate through a Sample Sale, I mean, I do, but lets keep the CV to a minimum. Catchy points, with a brief explanation, and make sure they’re relevant for the industry/job you’re applying for.
Next is your career summary. Make sure your current career is listed here, along with your duties and your achievements; boast about them. You’ve done an amazing job, so tell people.
If you haven’t worked there too long, or your last position was equally as impressive, you can add this one here, as well. However, anything after that add in to an ‘earlier employment’ section, and just list the company, you’re title and the dates you were there.
Then you just need to add in your employment history and then your references on request and you’re there!
Make sure it’s 2 pages, if possible. A lot of recruiters won’t look at a CV if it’s longer, crazy, I know, but imagine if you’re a recruiter and get around 400 applications a day. Would you read every CV that came in if it was 6 pages long?! Nope.
So make your CV stand out.
If you’re absolutely frazzled with the thought of writing a CV and have no idea where to start, there are actually Companies out there who will write you a cracking CV, for as little as £30.
PurpleCV is my pick of these Companies, you can find them here. You can also buy packages from them, where they’ll sort out a CV, covering letter and Social Media profiles. Huzzah!
#4 Dream Career: The Cover Letter
Probably just as terrifying as the CV, but equally as important.
Your covering letter is going to be the first thing a recruiter reads, before they even pick up your CV that you’ve just bossed, so lets make it a good one.
Start it as a letter; dear sir/madam.
Then in your first paragraph, briefly summarise what your CV shows, and what you’ve done, then briefly summarise your key qualities in bullet form, it makes it easier to read.
Finish with a paragraph at the bottom with what you’re looking for, and then finish your covering letter.
Your covering letter should be short and snappy. Nothing too long, or it gets a bit boring, and your CV will highlight everything.
Again, if the idea of a covering letter baffles you, visited PurpleCV to have one tailored to you.
#5 Dream Career: Social Media
This may come as a shock to you, but your future boss/recruiter will google you.
Shock horror. I know.
So google yourself first and see what comes up. Is it your social media profiles? Or something else?
What ever comes up in your google search, is it going to put a recruiter off? And I don’t mean that photo from when you were 16 that your friend put on Social as a joke, that can stay. I mean have you been tweeting things that may put potential recruiters off? Is your Facebook filled with quotes about how much you hate working?
Those are the extremes, but you get my point.
Would it put recruiters off? If it would, it’s time to clean it up. After all, your google search is a reflection of you to the world, and do you really want that reflection to be anything but amazing?!!
Nooo. You rock. Show the world.
#6 Dream Career: Job Searching
Now, I know I started with LinkedIn, and Networking is the best way to put yourself out there, and get yourself known, but it also is a good idea to do some job searches, that will also get your name out there with recruiters and agencies who are searching on behalf of clients.
The three top sites I would recommend would be Indeed, Reed & Total Jobs, but there are loads of job websites out there, and if you’re wanting a specific niche, then search for job websites best for that!
Build your profile on these job websites, and pop your photo on there. This will then appear in recruiters job searches, and you will find people will be contacting you, instead of the other way around – oh yes.
Also, make sure you visit all the Companies you’d wrote down in the initial list, and sign up for job alerts if they have them, this will make sure you’re first in line for your dream career.
#7 Dream Career: Interview
I don’t know about you, but I am really not a fan of interviews. They petrify me. There I said it.
I get so nervous meeting new people and talking about my skills and qualities, just does not come naturally to me, like it does to some people. However, you can make sure you’re hella prepared for everything thrown at you, so you boss your interview, like I know you can.
So before you go, research your recruiter, the company and any work associated to them. This will help you understand what they’re looking for in their hire, but will also give you some good talking points and will avoid the deer-caught-in-the-headlights-look when they ask if you have any further questions, or what you know about the company.
Next, write down your achievements and everything you’ve done in your previous roles that relates to this job post, and take it in with you. This will make you feel less nervous. Now, I don’t mean ignore the recruiter and stare at the bit of paper, but if you’re so nervous that your mind forgets you even have a job (errr, hello) you can have a quick look down at your paper and your memory is refreshed.
Lastly, if it’s possible prepare a portfolio. Whether that be graphs of results, photographs of events, or letters of appreciation from clients. It helps you back up points, and it shows preparation. You can even leave this with the recruiter if you so wish, so they have something to take away with them.
Hello lasting impression.
Make sure you dress for success too. This is a little bit obvious, but I swear, people turn up for job interviews in jeans and a T-shirt, and although I love my ASOS tee, lets leave it for the weekend, eh? It doesn’t have to be a full on three-piece suit, but you should be wearing a nice dress. It will also make you feel better as well, like you’re ready to take on the world, and you know what? You are.
#8 Dream Career: Know Your Worth
This is a biggie, and is mega important.
Yes, it’s your dream career, and omg they actually want me, but they’ve asked me to work 7 days a week, and to take a drop in salary of 5k, but it’s fine, because it’s what I want to do.
No way. You should know your worth. Do some research on salary options for your position, and go in with that number in mind. I’m not saying don’t budge at all, but if it’s going to alter your livelihood then it isn’t worth it.
Also, make them realise you’re a catch, because you are. You will be respected more, rather than just accepting all their list of demands. Remember, they want you, just as much as you want the job, but make sure everything’s right.
#9 Dream Career: Patience
This is the big one, and probably the hardest.
Patience is key.
You’ve e-mailed a few people, and omg, what if I never get a job again, never mind my dream one? But you will, trust me. It will come. It just takes time.
My boyfriend always says ‘good people get good jobs’ and you know, I’m starting to believe him. God I hate that he’s alway right. Don’t tell him I said he was.
You will get your dream job, but it isn’t going to happen over night, but be consistent and don’t settle.
So, that my advice for your dream career. I hope it helped you a little bit, and you can start the process today. If you already have your dream career, check you taking over the world. You rock.
So remember, in case no one has told you today – you’re amazing. You’re awesome. You rock. And you’ll get an incredible job.
Let me know what your dream career is!
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