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The First Step to Finding Your Dream Job

The First Step to Finding Your Dream Job

By Liz Ryan, BusinessWeek

Zeroing In on the Job

Once you have a picture in mind of what you’re after, begin your research. Sure, you might find a job through Monster or HotJobs, but a thoughtful dream-job search is more likely to entail seeking out and pursuing specific employers who meet your profile.

Expect to spend weeks or months zeroing in on the companies that fit your dream job ideal. When you’re clear that you’ve scored a hit, reach out—not to the Black Hole of HR (especially not when your résumé is unsolicited), but by locating one or more decision-makers or influential people in the organization. You’ll do this via your own contacts, networking sites, and professional organizations you’ll investigate as you move along the Dream Job Search timeline.

A request for an informational interview is a great way to learn more about an employer while making a sturdy contact inside. Just don’t misuse the informational interviewer’s goodwill by blurting at the end of the conversation, “Now, can you get me a job here?” Through your focused networking, employer research, and online outreach to the people inside the organization and their contacts, you’ll eventually get to the conversation stage—if the organization has any current needs, or plans to add a person with your skills.

Not an Easy Road

Research and follow-up are key for dream-job seekers, but you’ve got an advantage over less proactive job seekers. You know what you want and you can spell out why this employer is a good fit for you. That’s something that most job-seekers can’t do—certainly not the people who blast out 20 résumés a day to whichever companies have posted jobs on the biggest careers sites.

It could take you six months or a year to land your dream job, and it could take a change of location. It could require an industry or functional shift and a lot of networking, hours of research, and more hours of follow-up, online and over the phone. If that sounds too daunting, you could take the next job that comes down the pike. But don’t you deserve at least one dream job in your career?

Liz Ryan is an expert on the new-millennium workplace and a former Fortune 500 HR executive.

© 2008, Yellowbrix

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