Knowing how to land your dream job can feel like knowing how to not only find the needle in the haystack, but knowing how to lay your fingers on it without it falling elusively away. It’s tough and most of the advice out there is generic and woefully lacking.
Here we’ve highlighted the nuggets of valuable information that will help to ensure you land your dream job.
First up, understand what the basic premise of landing a dream job is. It is the knowledge of what makes a job ideal for you at this point in your career and then convincing that business that you have something valuable and unique to offer that they can’t get elsewhere.
Fundamentally, it’s a sales process.
The single biggest piece of advice that we can give executive job seekers is to flip their approach. Up until this point in your career you’ve probably placed the job seeking focus on yourself: your CV, your interview skills, your wants and wishes. To attract a dream job you need to firmly switch approaches and put yourself in the shoes of the business you want to work for. What’s their point of view? If you can understand that, you can sell yourself right into their hands.
At the dream job level, and specifically for top executive positions, employers don’t simply send off their request to the local recruitment agency and wait for CVs to roll in.
Instead, they approach a headhunter who looks to passive candidates. These aren’t actively hunting individuals, but instead are open to having their curiosity piqued whilst also getting on and being productive elsewhere.
This means two things. First, you may want to consider cultivating relationships with relevant headhunters. Secondly, you need to be proving your worth elsewhere. So don’t drop the ball in your current role.
Never waste a networking moment and cultivate leads in the same way you do in a product or service sales funnel. Seek introductions, but always do it showing your value to others rather than highlighting neediness for what you can get. It is easy, when actively seeking a new leadership position, to start appearing slightly desperate, and that’s never going to win you the dream job.
Consider every connection to matter because it does.
Connections and networking over applications – every time.
Chat to colleagues, mentors and anyone in leadership and ask how they secured their role. Very few will have sent off their CV in direct response to an advert. Most will have been hunted down in some way, whether through promotion, recommendation, networking or more directly via a headhunter.
It’s questionable, therefore, at this level, if there is benefit to the traditional recruitment process. Yes, you need a polished and winning CV, but it shouldn’t be sent out without careful consideration. Be selective in your dream job hunt because dreams are rarely achieved by casting the net wide and hoping for the best.
It’s also important to remember that your dream job might not exist – yet. If you really want to work for a specific organisation and there’s no vacancy, that’s not necessarily a barrier to them being the home of your dream job. If you sell yourself well enough, they will make the position happen because good people are always wanted.
If you’re looking for your dream job, why would you settle for anything less? Yet at every level, job hunting can become quite a vulnerable process and feeling your ego stroked an employer’s desire to have you, can lead to you taking the wrong position.
Always assess, throughout any recruitment process, if this really is the dream job for you. Are you being wooed, as you should be, but being blinded by that? Be starkly honest with yourself about whether this role is, genuinely, what you consider to be your dream job, or is it just that these people are showing interest in you which feels good?
Patience is a virtue. This is particularly true at the moment in a candidate’s market where you have the upper hand. Even if this is the right job, take time to think things through and negotiate it into being the dream job.
As you build networks and connections, interested employers are going to want to do their own research on you. Make it easy for them.
Primarily, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and informative. Make sure you appear active on there too. You are unlikely to be offered a job through LinkedIn, but it is a hook.
Make sure that you give some really meaty and useful information about you using facts and stats. Showing in numbers how you’ve made a difference to your current business is something tangible that they can imagine you doing for them.
Within your industry, ensure your name is visible. From being a speaker at key events to publishing articles and offering work pro bono or on a voluntary basis, if you get seen in the right places then it helps your recruitment profile.
Tell people in your network what you are looking for. Be specific and get your network to spread the word for you.
When you get invited for interview, you’re going to need to do everything you can to secure this dream job. You need to ensure your recruitment admin is in tip top condition and you’re ready for whatever the interview process throws at you. Be ready with intelligent and engaging questions of your own and demonstrate that you really are unique and no one else can compete. To do this, you need to know how your USPs correlate with their specific needs, so do your homework.
Everyone wants to be headhunted right? This is going to be your ideal route into your dream job. But how do you get headhunted? As we say, headhunters are primarily concerned with passive candidates who are busy and engaged elsewhere.
So, how do you show a headhunter that you are a wonderful passive candidate whilst actively approaching them?! Tough call.
However, the best headhunters won’t be averse to direct approaches. For example, with Eagle Headhunters you can register as a candidate. We won’t use this, as a recruitment agency would, to simply match you to any old job. However, what it does do is position yourself in our minds so that when we are working within your industry, we know that you are open to opportunities.
Build relationships with your chosen headhunter – it is part of being visible and ensures that you’re on their radar. Remember, they want to know you well enough that they can feel confident putting you forward for their clients.
Keep going. Landing your dream job isn’t often a quick process – it takes time and more concentrated effort than any other job search.