11 Steps to the Job of Your Dreams


I was reading a post by Ramit @ I Will Teach You to Be Rich yesterday and the question came up

” I am in college, but have lots of free time, so I can work full time at a startup plus add in a lot of extra hours (I know how startups are) on site or by telecommuting.

I applied to a few, sent my resume, etc.. but the same thing always happens. They want a portfolio.. links to things I’ve worked on. I am a programmer, PHP/Rails/C/Ruby/etc.. but I don’t have a degree in anything related to CS, and no professional portfolio.

I’m thinking the only option I have is to get a regular $8/hr job, while working on more and more projects in my free time. Enough projects to get a startup interested in me.”

A similar post also came up on JD’s blog Get Rich Slowly as JD had a chance to speak to 70 graduating seniors.

How to Not get the Job
If you like wasting time sending out endless resumes, be like everyone else. Go to Monster.com and apply to everything you see. Don’t take the time to research the company. Don’t modify your resume to fit the position. Sit back and wonder why your phone doesn’t ring…I call it the shotgun approach to job hunting.

Or you can do something even worse. Use a resume blaster. If Monster.com is a shotgun, this is a nuclear device!

If you want a job, don’t apply to job postings
It only gets you thrown into the black hole known as Human Resources. Their job is to screen out applicants to a reasonable level. This is a case where you want a sniper rifle, not a shotgun. It may seem counterintuitive, but the fewer jobs you pursue the more successful you will be.

11 Step Strategy to Land your Dream Job
Here is my 11 step strategy. It has almost always gotten me the job. Everyone I know that has used it found it to be the easiest job search of their careers.

It may seem like more work, but it isn’t. You put in 10 hours up front and blow away your competition. You impress your future boss. You go in offering a solution to their problems, not asking them to help you with a job.

You also find the “hidden” jobs. The best jobs are filled internally. If they go out to the general public it is because they are required to do so by HR. They already know who they want to hire.

  1. Identify 10 companies you want to work for.
  2. Do basic research on these companies and the industry. Talk to friends. Ask family what they know. Google them. Your goal is to weed it down to 3-5 that are strong candidates.
  3. Now you start the real work. Dig deep into each company. Go to the library and research them. Look up news articles and press releases. Get their annual reports.
  4. Do the same for the industry. You want to be an industry expert.
  5. Research their competition. Know thy enemy…
  6. Get an informational interview with several people in the company. You need to know more about the company and your future boss. You may find you don’t like what you see, and now is the best time to change your mind.Do not try and turn this into a job interview. You need to be honest and be doing research. Often this will lead to an interview. They may ask you back for an official interview, but you are not ready yet. Push it out a few days out so you can get ready.Not only are you gathering info, you are getting to know the management team. You want to go in as a known candidate, not as one of the masses sent by HR. Also, if you meet several people and come across informed and capable, multiple jobs will appear.
  7. Put together your portfolio focusing on how you and your skills will help the company succeed and grow. Things to include:
    • Resume/CV
    • Letters of recommendation: go to family friends, coaches, professors, ministers, etc…
    • certificates of accomplishment
    • diplomas you have earned
    • a copy of your transcript
    • executive summary of the company
    • executive summary of the industry
    • executive summary of the competition
    • summary of the projects you have worked on (listed last because it is the least important thing).
  8. Think of ways you can help the company. Come up with several thoughtful questions about the company and the interviewer. Go through common interview questions and come up with good answers. Practice with friends.
  9. Call your future boss and tell him you love the company. Let him know you have been researching the industry and think you have some ideas to help them ______(fill in the blank with your newfound industry knowledge and info from the informational interviews). Be polite and professional.
  10. Go dressed in a suit. Shine your shoes. Get a hair cut. Look your best.
  11. Send everyone you meet at the company a thank you card. Don’t email, write it out by hand.

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17 Responses to “11 Steps to the Job of Your Dreams”

  • […] Wealth and Wisdom: 11 Steps to the Job of Your Dreams […]

  • […] 11 Steps to the Job of Your Dreams: Read this post to find out how you can land your dream job. […]

  • You forgot 1 step… Pray!

    http://www.CreditMac.com Credit Repair

  • Brandt Smith

    @scottzee – I couldn’t agree more. I am finding more and more that life works out best when I put it in God’s (the universe, Allah, etc…) hands.

    You do need to be careful that you:

    • State what you want clearly
    • Have faith that it will work out the way you want
    • Watch for opportunities that will move you to your goals
    • Act immediately
    • Stay out of the way and don’t over-complicate it.
    • Be grateful
  • That is a good point about the fewer the jobs you concentrate on, the more likely it is you will get one. I never thought of that before, but it makes sense!

  • I agree with all the above. Attitude and passion are key attributes that need to come across during an interview as well.

  • Brandt Smith

    @Acai – It goes against conventional wisdom. Most people try to maximize the resumes they send. I can tell you from personal experience that these resumes get trashed quickly. The candidates
    who stand out take the time to learn about your company. These are also the candidates that are most likely to get hired!

    @Security – Attitude and passion are important. Your resume is just a screening tool. When you get to the interview, the candidate that is open and with a great attitude stands out. Add in a passion for the industry and the company, and you have a pretty good success formula.

  • Point number 6– what is an “informational interview”? Wouldn’t this come across as a ploy?

  • I spent over 10 years as a recruiter and the last 4 as an internal corporate sales recruiter for a telecommunications company and I can tell you people really need an education in how to get a job. That seems to be the critical skills missing in an education – how to actually get a job. I can’t tell you how many cover letters and objectives I read where the person didn’t even bother to change the company name or the job title.

    The other thing also where you are right on target – don’t use Monsterboard to get the job. I would get a hundred resumes for 1 job in a few days and if 1 person called me to followup I gave them an instant interview with the hiring manager because there were 99 others that didn’t bother to take the initiative. As a recruiter I was so used to looking at resume spam that I didn’t even take resumes from job boards all the seriously.

    Our #1 employees and reps came from internal referrals and using Linkedin as a networking tool. The best people out there don’t have to look because they are usually sought after and only need to make a few calls to former colleagues or a former boss to have a dozen leads sitting in their lap within a day and a few job offers within a week. All without ever hitting a single job board.

    And if there are any college grads out there reading this – take your drunken pictures of of your Facebook and Myspace pages while you are interviewing and job hunting, because companies are looking at those. You can put them back up after you get the job though. lol

  • Brandt Smith

    @poyattles – You would think it would come across as a ploy, but in my experience it never does…if you don’t use it to ask for a job. It sets you apart from every other canidate (no one else does it).

    @rkporter – I agree 100% about mass market resumes. I always rewrote my resume for each position I applied for. It would be crafted to speak in the employer’s industry lingo and address specific job requirements and how I fill them.

    From an employers point of view, I find the resume screening quick and easy. Anything mass marketed gets dumped. 90% (or more) of canidates don’t take the time to pursue positions at my company, they are just throwing their resume to hundreds of positions hoping for a few interviews.

    As for drunken Facebook pictures….

  • Great Tipps! Luckily i’m already having the job of my dreams :-)

  • I remember when I was fresh out of college and I was trying to track down the dream job. I rememeber getting my resume ready, trying to learn as much about the company before the interview, and studying as much knowledge about the field, so it looked like I knew what I was talking about.

    After failing so many times, it finally made sense for me to make my own job. So I started my company, and haven’t looked back since. Great post though. Awesome for someone looking to get a job.

  • Brandt Smith

    @Mike Reader – I can’t agree more about making your own job, but being self-employed isn’t for everyone. Some people aren’t ready for (or just don’t want) all of the responsibility.

  • I can’t agree more about making your own job, but being self-employed isn’t for everyone. Some people aren’t ready for (or just don’t want) all of the responsibility.

  • Brandt Smith

    @Seoreo – I agree. Some people just want to be the workers. And a lot of budding entrepreneurs find that they like doing the work but don’t like all the other “jobs” that come from being an entrepreneur.

    I also find that many people like to build businesses that augment the income from their jobs. I know I have a great little consulting company that isn’t big enough to pay all my bills but it does pay me one heck of a “bonus” each year doing something I enjoy. I have no intention of making it full time (I love my job), but the extra income is nice and it is a great feeling to know that if (God forbid) something happens with my job I will still have some income.

  • You forgot 1 step… Pray!

  • I also find that many people like to build businesses that augment the income from their jobs. I know I have a great little consulting company that isn’t big enough to pay all my bills but it does pay me one heck o

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