We’ve all had a job at some point which had the sole purpose of paying the bills. Said job wasn’t exactly our dream job, but we did what we had to do to earn a paycheck.
This was my experience in my first job out of college. I never dreamed I would complete my degree and find myself sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day making customer service calls. But, my call center job paid the bills, and it gave me time to explore my next career move. Years later, I’m happy to report it all worked out in the end.
If you’re feeling like the distance between your current job and your dream job is further than you want it to be, or you are looking for a more fulfilling career, I have a few simple tips for getting on the right track.
1. Stop only applying for jobs online
A few jobs into my career I finally landed the position I had always seen myself doing—a job that actually used my degree in Communications and Marketing. I won’t tell you how many jobs it took to get to that point, but I will tell you I had to be bold to nail down the one I got.
After months of filling out endless online applications with little response, I was determined not to fill out another one. Instead, I drove around my town and asked to talk to people in companies that interested me, delivered my resume to them in person, and made direct phone calls to the people in charge of hiring.
It was one of these phone call that actually landed me my dream job. I called a company of interest directly and asked to speak to someone in HR who then told me they were hiring. I sent in my resume, got an interview and was hired all before the job posting ever hit the internet.
So make the call. Be bold, and don’t be afraid to go in in person to find out what positions (if any) are available.
2. Don’t just talk about your experience, show it
A resume is a good way to tell employers what you’ve done, but actually showing them will give you a huge advantage. Build a portfolio and bring it to your interview. No, you don’t have to have artistic ads, photos, or articles to compile a portfolio, you can bring in pie charts, graphs and other business materials. This extra visual aid often goes a long way in landing a job and will set you apart from other applicants.
3. Reach out to pretty much everyone you know
Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family members, former colleagues, and even neighbors for help when it comes to making connections—networking is so often the key to getting your foot in the door. No one is off limits—reach out to old and new connections and let them know your goals and career aspirations. The more people who are aware of your job hunt, the more people who can send you referrals. Studies have shown that more than 85% of jobs are filled from networking in the U.S., so this could be your ticket.
4. Practice your confidence in the mirror
Per Forbes, the top three traits employers look for in new hires are professionalism (86%), high-energy (78%) and confidence (61%).
What should this tell you? You can have the best resume in the word for a particular job, but if you don’t project confidence, chances are the job is going to go to someone who does. It’s almost as important to master this as it is to polish up your resume.
5. Don’t just focus on the salary when you’re on the hunt for your dream job
Of course, the paycheck is important, but keep it in perspective. Landing your dream job might entail making a lateral move or even taking a pay cut. If you feel confident that the move will ultimately set you on the path to your dream job it is often worth letting your salary take a back seat if you can afford to.
Take it from me: Don’t settle for a job you’re miserable doing. Love what you do and do what you love. Now is the perfect time to nail down your dream job, because, why wait?