Navigating the job market can be daunting. From finding good opportunities, to presenting yourself well in interviews, to negotiating an offer, the process is fraught with challenges. Many talented professionals are discouraged from trying to find a new role, convinced that their “dream job” is out of reach.
It isn’t. Landing your dream job can be tough, but there are easy ways to increase your chances of success.
Don’t be married to a title. It’s good to project focus and purpose in your career goals, but you shouldn’t give employers a career objective that’s too narrow — if you do, you could be screened out before you even get to the interview stage. When you say that your goal is a financial analyst position, the hiring manager might not consider you for opportunities with different titles but similar job duties. If the job is titled finance supervisor, but has significant financial analysis duties, wouldn’t you want to hear more?
Consider your commute. If you work in the office every day in your current role, and your commute is 30 minutes each way, you’ve got five hours of commuting. If a new role is 45 minutes away but you can work remotely twice a week, you’ve just saved yourself 30 minutes of windshield time. Be open to unique work arrangements like this — you will save gas money and may end up loving the mix of virtual and in-person work. (Pro tip: Save the discussion of working remotely for the offer stage. Like money and benefits, this is best discussed when both parties are interested in proceeding.)
When in doubt, take the interview. It’s not a marriage, it’s a date. Companies frequently change duties, compensation, hours and position level once they meet someone they want to hire. Don’t assume that just because something doesn’t line up perfectly with your career aspirations that it’s not the right job. Don’t be misleading about what you are willing to accept — say that if an offer were to be extended, you would take into account the complete package.
Tap into the hidden job market. It’s commonly believed that up to 80 percent of jobs are filled through avenues other than advertising or professional recruiting firms, making it important to build and leverage your professional network in your search. Also, don’t be afraid to contact companies you want to work for, even if they’re not advertising anything of interest to you. Our firm recently hired for a six-figure position six months before we’d planned to advertise for it — because the right candidate reached out to us.
Ask for the offer. If you are interested in working there, make sure they know. We frequently hear companies express concern over a candidate’s perceived lack of interest, which often leads to them favor another candidate who has expressed their enthusiasm.
Through all of these strategies, there are two uniting principles: initiative and open-mindedness. Adhere to both and your job search is likely to lead you to better, more interesting opportunities.