In a down economy, settling for the job you’re already in is easy; so is failing to reach for the one you want. Stop settling for second (or third) best and use these tips to get your dream job in 2012.
Identify your strengths
Take some time to identify what you do best and how your strengths are beneficial to current or potential employers. Reach out to those with whom you’ve worked in the past to see if they can provide insight into your workplace talents. Don’t be surprised if their insights are different than your own self-assessment; we typically see ourselves differently than others do.
Identify your dream job
Once you’ve identified your strengths, determine what your dream job entails. Determining your dream job is a lot harder than realizing you’re unhappy with the one you have. Think about which fields and positions your personal strengths and interests suit, then do some research to determine whether those positions are amenable to the life you want to live. A job may sound nice or seem like the perfect fit until you’ve checked the fine print. All this can take time. “This is by far the most difficult step of the process,” says Beth Campbell Duke, career expert, speaker and facilitator of WorkYouLOVE.com.
Don’t underestimate the importance of technology in finding your dream job. “Creating a compelling online footprint forces you to hone your message and really focus on what you want,” says Campbell Duke. “It also extends the reach of your message, opening opportunities.”
Anthony Morrison, vice president of Cachinko, agrees. “Thanks to social media, more and more hires are made from referrals, not applications. Make a point to follow and connect with employees and decision-makers [in the companies or fields you desire]. Be brave and introduce yourself! You never know when a good conversation will turn into a substantial job offer.”
Network offline, too
Don’t underestimate the power of a face-to-face encounter. Once you know what your career goal is, reach out to friends, family and co-workers (present and past) to see if they know anyone who works in that company or field. Offer to take your friend out for dinner in exchange for an introduction. Consider joining business or meetup groups geared toward your interests. The people you meet in these groups may just be the links you need to land your dream job.