How to land yourself the job of your life (in 5 simple steps!)

Oh what a catchy title! Notice I’ve used “simple steps” not “easy steps”. Getting your dream job is hard! If it wasn’t, everyone could do it and every good position would be filled, worlds would collide and I would have an iPhone in my pocket right now.

So, since I’ve just landed my dream job and had been in the hirer side for a couple of years now, I tough I’ll share some of my personnal tips.

1. Be remarkable

Being remarkable does not mean being perfect. It means doing something that is worth making a remark about. So do just that! Have a colourful resume, a singing presentation letter or have your CV delivered in a golden box by flying elephant man. The point is, don’t be afraid to do remarkable things to get noticed. It’s always better to have the employer find your resume cheesy then boring. Boring and average are career killers! Seth Godin’s blog and books are a great source of inspiration on how to be remarkable.

2. Invest in your knowledge portfolio

This one is from The Pragmatic Programmer. Your brain is your most valuable tool, but like your wallet if you don’t invest in it properly you won’t grow it’s value.

  1. Serious investors invest regularly – as a habit.
  2. Diversification is the key to long-term success.
  3. Smart investors balance their portfolio between conservative and high-risk, high-reward investments.
  4. Investors try to buy low and sell high for maximum return.
  5. Portfolios should be reviewed and rebalanced periodically

– The Pragmatic Programmer, p.13

Read books, listen to podcast, fill up your feed reader, you can’t learn too much. If you’re still no convinced, Eric Sink wrote an amazing article on why knowledge is the only thing you truly control in your career.

3. Showcase yourself

Even if you’re the best programmer, graphist, sys admin in the world, if you can’t prove it, it’s worthless. Not having any portfolio, showcase or work sample is like a tree falling in an empty forest. Action speaks louder then words, so you got to prove yourself to be a great doer ratter then a great talker. Good employers (and Joel’s readers) always look for two things: smart and get things done. Be proud and care about what you’ve done!

4. Aim for the best

Don’t spam employers with unpersonalized cover letters. Focus on the one you really like and show them you care. Jobboom and Workopolis job spamming was dead the day it started. Looking for a job is marketing yourself, so think about it the way you’d like to be approached for a product: intrusive phone call at lunch time, spam or personalized funny email ?
When interviewing with the employer make it clear you think they are the best and that’s why you’re applying. In return, they should make you feel that they’re looking for the best candidate and care about finding the one. If you get the feeling like they only want to fill a position with anyone that can fit the mould, run! Employees are not commodities but investments. When you’re about to be hired you should feel like the best in the world not like being fooled.

5. Be passionate

Actually this is not really a step as it’s a requirement. If you’re passionate about what you do, doing all this will be a breeze and so much fun. If you’re not, maybe you should start thinking about changing career path…

And when you can standout as a candidate you can get any job you want! Really!
(Conditions may apply, see small invisible footprint for details).

What are your tips on finding your dream job ?

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6 responses to “How to land yourself the job of your life (in 5 simple steps!)

  1. Having changed jobs about 10 times in the past 15 years, and having gotten quite at presenting (i.e. selling) myself as a result, there’s one trick I never realized I used more and more until you spelled it out.

    “Showcase yourself”

    I never quite thought of it this way, but it’s so important, especially when your experience grows to the point where your resume becomes long. At one point my resume got to three pages as I tried to explain every wonderful thing I did. Realizing I never read more than the first page of other people’s resumes, I trimmed this down to one page, and focused on ACCOMPLISHMENTS at the top.

    When I stopped writing a resume like a book, and started writing it like a scannable web page (bullet points, short sentences, etc.), I realized how much more inviting it was to potential employers.

    Oh, and by the way — every one of those ten jobs in the past 15 years I thought was my dream job. I left every one on my terms, by my choice, because I realized I was wrong. If I was only as good at finding my dream job as I was at getting any job, I’d be in much better shape today!

  2. Hey Brian! thanks for the reply.

    I totally agree with you. It sort of comes down to point 4, “Aim for the best”. You should customize your resume for each application. Making it as short and efficient as possible. When you start to know enough about the company (by reading blogs and news) you start to get the feeling of what they are looking for, so you should put just that.

    And I used the term “dream job”, because an achieved dream is no longer a dream. Which mean, when I came out of college, my dream job was far from what I have in mind now, and it will probably be the same in a couple of years.

    Again Brain, thanks for taking the time to reply, I appreciate it!

  3. thanks for posting this stuff up, my man. You got the job that I wanted to get! 😛 (well, ONE, that is). But no matter – I’m sure you’ll do much good for StandoutJobs…

    Thanks for the list – really. Until this, I hadn’t really given much thought to what I should really be doing to get the dream job that I want to get… Kinda silly, huh? Things had better start changing around here!

    Wishing you all the best,

  4. Hey Jeff,

    Glad you find this helpful!

    And by the way StandoutJobs is still hiring, so if you thinkg you’re good enough please do apply!

  5. Fine points. In particular, I very much liked Eric Sink’s “Career Calculus” article in section #2 you linked to–I found it very insightful!


  6. How many companies actually know how to prune trees correctly?

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