How to Land Your Dream Job
It was an absolute pleasure getting the chance to be featured on the Tony Wilkins Podcast to discuss landing your dream job in the new year. If you haven’t had the opportunity to listen, you can do so right now by clicking here. I received quite a few emails after the show asking for additional information on the main topics that I covered: Tips on updating your resume, interview techniques and most specifically how to give job hunting you’re all.
Since this seems to be such a hot topic right now, I wanted to respond to all the questions and give other people the opportunity to learn from their questions. Here are more detailed tips and a step by step guide to landing your dream job NOW:
One of the most important things to have when you are job hunting is a killer resume. A recruiter spends on average 6 seconds looking at a resume, so how are you going to captivate them (Business Insider)? The best ways to make your resume stand out:
- An oldie but goody, check the spelling and grammar of your resume. Use online tools such as Grammarly to ensure you are finding all the grammatical errors, even one’s that Word doesn’t catch. Also, have three sets of eyes look over it because everyone will find something different.
- Don’t have your address on your resume. It could give recruiters a red flag because of relocation costs or a long commute. Instead feature your phone number, email address, and your LinkedIn profile.
- Font is key – Use a clear and concise font. Times New Roman used to be the standard, but because so many people use the font, it is easy for your resume to get lost in the crowd. Instead, use more modern fonts such as Helvetica or Garamond to increase the chance of a recruiter taking that extra moment to look over your information.
- There is no need to put a career objective unless it 100% matches your dream job. Additionally, never say “a challenging position to grow your career.” This is too obvious and a goal that everyone has. Instead, write a summary of your skills that include action verbs such as: customized, created, lead and accomplished.
- Be prepared to answer time gaps in your resume – If you have a gap of time in your resume, hiring managers want to know why. Hit that gap head on. Give exact dates and a very particular reason for why you took the time off from work. Make sure you include any classes or volunteer work you did during this time to show you stayed relevant and are up to date on your industry while you weren’t working
Almost all companies are now starting with a phone interview as a way to prequalify your skills so no one is wasting their time. Many people don’t take phone interviews seriously, but this is the gateway to getting into the company. Here are a few tips:
- Test your cell reception or your internet connection if it is Skype or Google Hangout call. There is no excuse to have bad reception or poor connectivity anymore.
- Research the company and develop a list of preliminary questions to ask your interviewer. A few of my favorite questions are: “Why is this position open?” and “What about my resume made you initiate this first conversation?”
- Smile when you are talking. It is my job to talk to people all day, and this is one of the most underutilized tips to get people to sound more engaging and present.
- Take notes to keep engaged in the conversation and it will help you remember details to include in your Thank You note.
What most see as the most important part of the interview process, the in-person interview is easy to nail but also easy to underestimate. Here are some of the most tried and true tips I know:
- Arrive 15-20 minutes early and let the receptionist know that you are early, and you don’t expect to be seen right away. This gives you an opportunity to be in the lobby and see how the employees interact with one another. As much as the company is interviewing you, you need to scope out the company to make sure it will be a great fit for you too.
- Dress to fit the office culture – long gone are the days of every workplace wearing professional attire. Make sure you do your research and see what the executives are wearing, so you don’t feel uncomfortable in the interview.
- Be prepared for the damned if you do, damned if you don’t strength and weakness questions. Everyone asks a range of these questions and there is nothing worse then getting a response such as “My biggest weakness is perfectionism.” Instead, try an answer such as “My biggest weakness is I have a hard time knowing when to let go of a project” and then discuss how you are working on it.
- You will eventually be asked, “Why should we hire you?” Give them an example or a problem that you know you would be able to shine as their new employee. Indicate that during your research you have been able to see that the company is looking for a critical skill you have. Share how you can add value, remember, it’s not about what you have accomplished, it’s about how your accomplishments are going to move their company forward.
When you only have a month to land a job
This is the time to pull out all the stops and give it you’re all:
- Use a job journal or Excel spreadsheet (Don’t worry, we’ve made this easy for you and included a FREE WORKSHEET for you to download now!). It is so important to track where you’ve sent your resume, the results (phone interview, in person, nothing) and then the follow up (did you send an email, phone call, written note)?
- Reach out to your online Network and in person. An excellent way to gain information with a company is to have an informational interview with one of their employees. Also, reach out to your network via Facebook, and Twitter and let people know you are looking for a new job and see if anyone knows of potential opportunities.
- Don’t forget the Thank You notes. This is one of the main steps that I see people forgetting all the time. After each interview, including your phone screen, send a thank you note to each person you interviewed with. If time is of the essence, do it through email. Send the thank you email that same day to ensure you leave a positive and lasting impression. If you have time, take the time to write out a thank you note. People’s inboxes are overflowing so sending a physical note is an excellent way to stand out and ensure the recipient will read it.
If you want any additional information, contact me for a free 15 minutes dream job consultation. I can give you more tailored advice that will be helpful in your search.