Getting Your Dream Job: Nothing Else Matters Except These Three Things

Most of the advice that you find online about how to find your dream job or getting a job comes from people who haven’t been in the kind of jobs you are looking for.

That’s why they give advice like make a short resume or mass apply to ten companies a day.

In addition to writing two books, running a digital marketing agency, being a location independent consultant, I have also worked with a global software major in a leadership role. So, I know what I am talking about.

Getting any job especially your dream job comes to these three things,

  • Know how to do the job
  • Get your foot in the door
  • Show that you can do the job

Let’s take a closer look at each of these, one by one.

#1 Know How To Do The Job

It is the most important of all.

Spend as much time as you can getting good at what you do. Even when you are not looking for a job because you can’t get ready after noticing a new job that you want to apply for.

And whenever you come across a job, and get a feeling that you don’t have what it takes – list what is missing and work on improving that. This will make sure that next time you come across something similar you’ll be ready for it.

Look at roles even when you are not looking for a job, and notice what is missing. And, then work on filling those gaps. This is a great way to stay sharp.

Otherwise also if you want to stay relevant then you need to mind the skills gap. Harvard Business Review showcased research that suggested that tech skills learned in college only remain relevant for five years after you graduate. Technology and with it the market realities are changing fast so reinventing should be your prime focus.

#2 Get Your Foot In The Door

Getting face time with the interviewer or phone time with the recruiter is super important. It does not matter what path you take to get there.

But it is increasingly becoming important to have something more than a LinkedIn profile or a resume because everyone has them. So except you have studied at an Ivy League or worked at a global brand or in a unique role, a resume will not cut it.

You will need to go the extra mile with a showcase of what you have done, a body of work that shows how you have done the work that is on your resume, or solid referrals to help you cut through the clutter.

You can even go a step ahead and build rapport with the hiring manager. Impressing the recruiter is super important because that is the first filter that you need to pass through. It does not matter how you reach there. You do this by standing out from the crowd. A super impressive resume, a referral or reaching out to the recruiter.

#3 Show That You Can Do The Job

To show that you can do the job, you need to know the job first.

Imagine you have already got the job. Now figure out a way to do the job. Find everything about that job that you can find on the web. Next, if needed, talk to people who are in that job already at your target company or elsewhere.

Based on your research and conversations, create a plan to do the job. Now turn that plan into a presentation.

Many companies will give you a project or presentation – see if you can integrate your presentation there.

Now when you go for the interview during the course of your conversation, take the opportunity to show it to the hiring manager or the hiring group.

This will show how excited you are and how invested you are in the job. Chances are no one else would have done it the way you have done and you will get the job.

In a rare situation when you have someone formidable vying for the same job, and you don’t get the job. Try it in another place. It should not take more than 2 or 3 tries like this to land your dream job.

This is the strategy.

The Tactical Part of Getting Your Dream Job

Now let me share the method or tactic to get started with this strategy. Let’s call it DREAM30.

Make a list of all the companies (about 50-100) that you want to work for and that offer the kind of job you can do.

Now divide that list into three parts – A, B, and C.

  • Add 20 companies that you’d die to work for in A list.
  • Add next 30 to the B list
  • And, add 50 to the C list, these are companies that are great but not as big, established or well known like those in A and B. These are your low hanging fruits.

Now take 5 from your A list, 10 from the B list and 15 from the C list. That’s your Dream 30.

Be methodical. Make your dream job a 3-4 month project.

Apply to 1-2 from A list, up to 3 from B list, and 5 from your C list during the first month of this project. This is not mass application. It’s niche application. Where you spend more time per application, crafting for the audience, getting to know people around it and building rapport. Don’t start building your presentation until you move to the next round.

Companies from A list may take 3 or 4 months to finish the hiring process so be patient. Don’t open more than 2-3 ongoing loops at one time from A list. B and C list companies will take less time than that. Depending on the number of interviews you get from first month’s outreach you can decrease or increase outreach attempts. Aim to get through your Dream 30 list in first 3 months of this project. Keep the 4th month as a buffer.

  • For A list (5 companies) keep 12 hours per role. Total of 60 hours
  • For B list (10 companies) keep 6 hours per role. Total of 60 hours
  • For the C list (15 companies)  keep 4 hours per role. Total of 60 hours

This brings our total time investment across lists to 180 hours.

I know this is difficult while you are working already. But 4 months give us 16 weekends. You can either kill in on Saturdays and do 16 days of 11-hour sprints. Or do 16 days of 8-hour sprints (Saturdays), and 16 days of 3-hour sprints (Sunday mornings).

In real life, it can play out in different ways. You can build it around the holidays. Or take a week or two week-long leave to kickstart this.

It is your life so modify it in a way that suits you. But the strategy and plan remain the same.

Hope you’ll put it to use to find your dream job.