The festive season is a time for fun and relaxation.
But sometimes you’re not the life and soul of the party because you’ve got yourself stuck in a career rut and the thought of another year spent in a job that doesn’t float your boat anymore gets you in the doldrums.
Don't despair – we’ve got 10 tips for finding your dream job in 2020 that will help you set sail for new horizons.
1. Brainstorm to define your dream job
If you’ve been working for a few years, there’s a good chance that the career path you felt passionate about after school simply doesn’t satisfy you anymore.
Or alternatively, perhaps you felt pressured to choose a ‘sensible’ job instead of following your calling.
Either way, this is an excellent time of year for some career brainstorming with trusted friends and family.
The people that know you best will likely have a fresh perspective on which sector you would find most fulfilling and might remind you that your natural organisational skills are suited to project management or your writing skills fit well with digital marketing – buy your besties a coffee and let the inspiration flow.
2. Design your dream job around your ideal life
Have you ever spent hours trawling through job ads and felt frustrated because nothing you find gets you excited - no matter how promising the pay or perks?
If you’re nodding your head, perhaps you should ask yourself first what living your ideal would look like:
Lots of international travel? More time with your partner or children? Spending time sequestered away on creative solo projects? Working from home? Working part-time?
By starting from this perspective, you might unearth some surprising and exciting choices. For example, being a nomadic travel blogger would open up opportunities to immerse yourself in new cultures, and working as a self-employed consultant rather than a salaried employee would allow you to work part time while potentially earning more cash.
3. Network to find your dream job
Networking isn’t only for uber-confident careerists who take walking into a room of strangers and striking up a conversation in their stride – it's also a savvy way to find a new career direction when you’re still undecided.
If you can put in your superman pants and stroll through the door of a busy event, you might end up chatting to someone in exactly the same transitory stage – who doesn’t really want to be there either but has plenty of excellent entrepreneurial ideas for their next move.
And if you aren’t yet up for face to face mingling, use sites like LinkedIn to pursue a program of loose touch networking which lets you casually keep in touch with past and present colleagues and connections and share useful hints and tips – then seize opportunities for more in depth meetings when they arise naturally.
4. Get pro tips on your dream job at a university open day
A higher education course could help you migrate to the type of career you’ve been fantasizing about, attending a university open day could be the best way to find out which vocational course can perfectly fast-track your plans.
Getting pro tips from careers advisers and current students might be illuminating and you may end up signing up for a flexible course in a subject that’s entirely new.
And if you want to stay in the same sector but climb the career ladder, you might not need a three or four year course to facilitate this – a degree top-up qualification could take you there in a year or less.
5. Revamp your CV to capture your dream job
Your CV probably needs a refresh, revamp or completely scrapped and started from scratch if you’ve been out of the job market for a while.
And if you choose a traditional Word, PDF or Google document, there are now plenty of free CV templates that you can use to make your most pertinent skills pop for recruiters.
But for something with even more impact, how about creating a video CV? Employers are hiring you as well as your skillset and achievements – so a confident, conversational yet professional video that lasts a minute or less is sure to impress. Plus, your movie making skills will display your initiative and differentiate you from the competition.
6. Attract your dream employer with a spec covering letter
If you’re already in your favoured industry, but feel you’re stagnating and want to move to a company that appreciates your talents and offers further development, penning a killer speculative covering letter is a power move.
But bear in mind that the best companies will likely receive several such letters each week, so make sure that the way you write, as well as what you write about, is distinctive and unique.
If you take a few calculated risks with voice, tone, style and descriptive elements, your letter might make a weary recruiter smile – which can often be enough to let you get a foot in the door when they’re next hiring.
7. Develop an application template to save time on dream job applications
Applying for some jobs can be as tortuous process – no matter how intuitive and accessible employers try to make online forms, completing them can feel like pulling teeth.
So here’s a time-saving tip – copy and paste your personal statements and competency answers so that they can be recycled when you apply for similar roles in future. If you’re unsuccessful, hone and tweak this information each time until it’s almost perfect.
Armed with this job application template, you’ll save time tearing your hair out with each labyrinthine app and build a database of knowledge from battling the employment market.
8. Convert Your Hobby To Your Dream Job
Do you have a long-term hobby that people have always told you that you could be paid for? If it’s something that gives you pleasure, there’s every chance you’re good enough to turn pro.
To check whether there’s substance behind compliments from friends, family and workmates, submit your work for some sort of peer or critical review. For instance, if you’re a talented baker, entering your prize Victoria sponge in a local competition could be the first step to a new career – even if you don’t win, you’ll pick up lots of constructive criticism.
You can also test the water before diving into the depths of self-employment by peddling your wares at trade fairs, festivals and events – just like the founders of innocent drinks.
9. Ask The National Careers Service About Your Dream Job
The National Careers Service is an excellent resource for every stage of your dream job hunt – browse their website to take a skills test that identifies your strengths and talents, find out about courses and training that put you in the right track and talk to experienced advisers when you’re feeling unsure about your next move.
If you think that this type of service is only for young jobseekers and school leavers, this isn’t the case – in the current employment market, the concept of a job for life is no longer commonplace and many people of all ages switch employment every few years.
Consequently, staff are able and willing to help you take a solid next step on your journey and engaging with the careers service is a savvy step to achieving your ultimate ambition – get in touch with them today.
10. Brush up on your interview skills to bag your dream job
We’ve all been there – after an adept application has scored an interview for the perfect role, everything seems to go wrong when you’re up close and personal with the panel.
Your mouth gets so dry that your top lip sticks to your teeth, you sweat profusely and your voice seems to veer wildly between whispering and screaming. As far as remembeing all those STAR competency examples you prepped, forget it – you ad lib awfully and end up talking about something weird rather than wonderful.
But delivering a great interview is largely in your head – prep properly and you’ll be your best self on the big day. To get started, check out this Julian Treasure TED presentation on speaking so that people want to listen.
Use these ten tips for finding your dream job as a career compass that points to your true north in 2020 and beyond – you can thank us later!
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