Around 70% of American adults work in jobs they actively dislike or with which they don’t feel engaged. That suggests that a majority of adults don’t work at their dream jobs.
The reality of bills accounts for some of that. It’s the whole “make money now, be happy later” mentality. Some of it probably lies at the feet of people not getting the right advice about landing their dream jobs.
After all, standard advice focuses on things like refining your resume. Sure, you need a resume. If that’s all it took, though, most people would like their jobs better.
If that’s not the secret, you might wonder how to get your dream job. Keep reading and well give you some unconventional tips for landing that job.
1. Network – The Smart Way
You hear about networking all the time on job sites and even in business magazines. They all offer advice about going to networking events, starting conversations, and being a good listener.
The problem with this advice is that your chances of meeting someone who can connect you with your dream job are incredibly small.
Take a more practical approach to networking. Figure out what companies you want to work at. Then, cultivate friendships with people who work there.
Don’t read that as a suggestion to feign friendship for the sole sake of getting a job. Offer real friendship or don’t do it at all.
If people know you’d like a job at the company, they’ll likely refer you to open positions before they ever go public.
2. Build a Portfolio
Artists get this advice from their earliest days in college. In fact, most art programs require that you submit your portfolio for review before you can graduate.
It’s good advice for artists and it’s good advice for you. Most professional fields produce some kind of end product.
Writers produce articles and blog posts. Marketers produce campaigns.
Granted, you can’t put a campaign in a file. What you can put in a file is a campaign summary and a breakdown of results.
Start assembling a portfolio that shows off your skills. Then link to it from major social media sites.
3. Get Creative with Your Jobs
A not-great job can still serve your larger purpose. Whatever your dream job is, you’ll need specific skills to land it.
Look for jobs that will let you build out some of those essential skills. Spend a few years working a cross-section of jobs that focus on different areas.
The caveat here is that you must perform well at each job and walk away with some proof that you mastered those skills. Jumping from job to job without that proof just makes you look unreliable.
Once you do build those skills and assemble your proof, your chances of snagging that dream job go way up.
4. Credential Up
Accepted wisdom says that you go to college, pick up a degree, and get the job. That’s great advice if your degree happens to align with your ultimate dream job.
Unfortunately, dream jobs often don’t match up precisely or at all with your degree. If you can’t take the time or afford a second degree, what’s the alternative?
You can credential up with reputable online courses. Make sure you do your research here, though.
Talk with people who work your dream job and ask them what credentials will open doors. Often, obscure credentials hold more weight because they impart rare skills.
Lose an existing credential? Destroyed in a fire or flood? Check out this site for fast replacement credentials.
5. Work on Brand You
Your online presence is part of your application package. Make that fact work to your advantage.
Start building out a body of work related to your dream job. Start blogging on relevant topics. Create a podcast or a streaming video channel.
Not only do these let you showcase your knowledge, but they also position you as a thought leader. That makes you doubly valuable for any company looking to hire.
6. Leverage Your Personal Network
Just because you don’t know anyone who can get you a dream job directly, it doesn’t make your network useless. Remember, your network intersects with lots of other personal networks.
It’s possible that a friend of a friend can help you land a job that will put you one step closer to your dream job. It’s not an all or nothing proposition.
7. Create Your Own Job
It’s natural for someone to look outward in their search for the dream job. With so many companies out there, one of them must contain your dream job.
Maybe so, but maybe not.
If you can’t find a business with a position that matches your dream job, you might end up creating your own. For example, few businesses advertise for an in-house inventor.
The good news is that there isn’t much stopping you from hanging out a shingle and building a business. Assuming your dream job doesn’t require some kind of professional license, like a doctor or engineer, you can pursue any dream.
It’s a good time for entrepreneurs, too. Venture capitalists poured a whopping $148 billion into startups in 2017.
Staring your own entrepreneurial venture also gives you the kind of control you can’t get working for someone else. You set the tone, the priorities, and largely the clientele.
Parting Thoughts on How to Get Your Dream Job
When considering how to get your dream job, don’t get too fixated on traditional advice. After all, that’s the same advice that got so many people into jobs they don’t like. Instead, look for atypical approaches.
Make friends with people at your dream company. Develop a portfolio of professional work that you post online.
Work several jobs to build out your skills. You can even use your personal network to help make that happen.
Look for professional credentials that can open doors for you. Make your personal brand into one that makes you attractive for that dream job. If all else fails, open your own business and make that dream job for yourself.
Going the entrepreneur route in your quest for your dream job? Check out our post on new business brand development tips.