Everyone has a dream job. The trouble is, not everyone has the skills needed to land that gig. As Stan Popovich writes for Entrepreneur, companies tend to prefer people who already have the knowhow over those who’d need training, and that lands many people in a “vicious cycle.” But there is hope. Popovich has outlined “8 Tips to Gather Experience to Land Your Dream Job,” and his list is filled with spot-on advice. Read on for a summary.
1. Figure Out What That “Dream Job” Is — Even if you’re stuck taking a placeholder job to pay the bills, think long and hard about yours skills, talents, and desires, and ask yourself, “What is my dream situation?” Popovich suggests writing down three jobs you’d love to have.
2. Do Volunteer Work — Volunteering is a terrific way to gain real-life experience, and even working a few hours a week will boost your chances of landing your dream job, Popovich says.
3. Focus on Small Companies — If you’re applying to huge corporations, you’re likely to get lost in the shuffle. Instead, focus on firms with workforces ranging from one to 20, Popovich advises. Not only will you stand out, but you might find managers who have the time and willingness to train relatively inexperienced workers.
4. Network, Network, Network — That word comes up over and over again, and for good reason. Many people land jobs based on referrals, so talk to friends, family members, former colleagues, and pretty much anyone who might be able to help out.
5. Do Your Homework — Are there companies you’re dying to work for? Do as much research about them as you can. In particular, get a sense of their managerial structure, figure out who makes decisions, and get in touch.
6. Circumvent HR — If possible, Popovich says, don’t rely on the HR department to aid in your quest. Once you fill out the requisite application forms, do some research and figure out who manages the department you’d be working in. Once you have that info, reach out directly.
7. Spread Your Search — The more flexible you are, Popovich says, the better. Even if you’re having trouble landing your dream job, you might find something comparable. “Remember,” he says, “it’s about building up your experience.”
8. Keep Building Those Skills — Your job search may take a long time, so be sure to continually build your skills by doing things like learning new software techniques. As Popovich says, “there’s always something to learn,” and by staying current, you’ll make yourself that much more attractive to potential employers.