Women & Careers: Finding your Dream Job
Today as a part of the Women and Careers series we're discussing how to land your dream job by narrowing your job search focus. Although, we all start off at different points in our career exploration, experience, and education. But the tips and information I am sharing today applies to everyone no matter where you are.
Do Your Research
When your searching for your dream job the most important thing you can do is to be educated about the responsibilities, job requirements, and salary. Different companies will list the same job with various titles and descriptions which is pretty typical since different companies have different needs. Based on their size and current financial status companies will likely add or remove job responsibilities. Larger companies performing extremely well financially will segment jobs reducing your job responsibilities because they can afford to employ a larger staff. Whereas small companies that are doing well financially will combine several roles together to save money and reduce their staff needs.
Eventually, when the business has settled employers conduct a pay study to ensure there staff is being paid adequately. In the states, pay studies are conducted using information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result, utilizing the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great starting place for your job search. Whether you're trying to identify what type of job you'd like or need better understanding of the job expectations for your field. The BLS is a great starting place to gather information.
Job Search for Beginners
- Research job opportunities within your field of interest, salaries, and typical job requirements.
- Begin your job search using career sites like Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, etc.
- Research your top job choices salaries and job reviews using Glassdoor (which is my favorite) or Indeed (they also have job reviews).
- There is always a possibility that the company is underpaying or overpaying for a position especially if they have never done a salary study. So do your research! And don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter for salary information when you get that call for an interview.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Job Outlook
- Knowledge, Skills, Abilities required for job
- Nature of Work
- Produces employment and wage estimates for over 800 occupations.
- Contains 375 metro areas
- Excludes unincorporated firms
- Very industry specific information available
The keyword conundrum, if you've read any articles or spoke with human resources pros you've probably heard about the importance of including keywords in your resume. To keep it simple I would try to include at least 8-10 keywords within your resume that demonstrate soft skills (based on the job description of course). But also remember to include technical keywords in your resume. Regardless of how many keywords you choose to focus on, ensure you include those keyword more than once within your resume. If you struggle to incorporate keywords several options including sections such as career objective (at the beginning of your resume), skills, and of course your previous experience write a brief description of your responsibilities. If you are still lost, read this post on resume keywords they even included several list of keywords.
CUSTOM RESUME & COVER LETTER
The easiest way to create custom resumes and cover letters for each job application is to conquer and divide. Always keep several versions of your resume and cover letter saved. Depending on your career of choice catergorize your documents by job type or employer type. For example, a teacher would create a public school, private school, charter school, and tutoring resume and cover letter. Whereas a recent business college graduate may create several versions for human resources, operations, and finance. Whichever is the case for you, ensure that before submitting your resume and cover letter you take a thoughtful review and edit your documents to appropriately match the keywords listed in the job description. Although, most employers don’t require a cover letter since you have a template ready why not add it to your application.
IDENTIFY YOUR IDEAL EMPLOYERS
Most employers don’t list all of their careers opportunities on career search sites, after all listings on these sites can get costly. Therefore most companies use career sites to list hot careers or hard to fill careers. As a result, career sites are a great place to identify employers that are hiring. My recommendation is to search for employees within your industry instead of by career type this will help you identify companies that are hiring. For example, if your interested in working in healthcare administration search for nursing careers because nursing is a hard to fill position so if a companies needs nurses they likely need administrative staff also. Identify 20-30 companies you would like to work for and apply for positions directly from their website. When creating your list of employers ensure that it is a good mix of small, medium, and large companies.
KEEP YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE UP TO DATE
Think of LinkedIn like a Facebook for professionals, it’s a place for you to socialize with your network and even expand it if you’re smart. LinkedIn is also a public resume, it’s a place where you can display your experience and qualifications. LinkedIn is a great place to share with your network that you are looking for career opportunities and to seek feedback on your resume.
Side note, there are several spam accounts posing as recruiters and contacting people on LinkedIn (and other career sites) so be careful.
BUILD AND LEVERAGE YOUR NETWORK
Your network equals your net worth. In this extremely socially connected world we live in the best way to professionally stay in touch with your contacts is LinkedIn. Most professionals update their profile regularly with any changes. Additionally the super professional interacts and engages regularly on LinkedIn sharing, commenting, and discussing different topics. These professionals are the key players you want to stay connected with by leverage your relationships you in turn become more knowledgeable, create an online presence, and will likely grow your network. Don’t be a stalker but do actively engage with them and their network.
Notable mention don’t forget there are a lot of great career opportunities with not for profit organizations, Work for Good formerly known as Opportunity Knock is a great place to find career opportunities. Also don’t be afraid to use career listings on Craigslist, it's free so many small companies list their career opportunities there.
Side Note: Craigslist is free so there is often spam accounts posting career ads so be mindful and protect your personal information accordingly.
Searching for and finding your dream career can take time and is not always fun filled. But remember that no matter how many no’s there is always a yes in your the future. So be relentless in your pursuit for your dream career. Don’t give up on yourself! No one can take, withhold, or stop what God has for you.
Easier said than done I know, especially when you’ve been on the career search for an extended period. But stay focus on your goal. If you truly want to be an accounting professional don’t apply for careers in customer service. It’s important to be open to various opportunities, but don’t stray from the career you desire (especially if your qualified). If you aren’t qualified for the position, then apply to an entry level position that will provide you with the experience necessary to qualify for the position you want in the near future. Be strategic. Think of it all like a game of checker, where will this move take you next what opportunities will this career decision provide you with. If the answer doesn't align with you career goals, then keep looking (unless your in dire need and on the verge of being on the streets).
Often times what seems like a yes or temporary solution (to being unemployed) ends up being a 2 year up down hill battle that leads to no where. When you settle it takes a lot of head strength, energy, prayer, tears, savings, and refocusing to remove yourself from what you thought would be a temporary fix. So don't be afraid to walk away from opportunities that are not a good fit. Trust your instincts.