By Tory McNally

While some people land jobs by walking past a Help Wanted sign in a window, there are better ways than chance to ensure you get the job you have been dreaming of. Do not wait for the job to come to you. Here are some tips to take your job search to the next level, hopefully getting you one step closer to landing your dream job.

#1 – Make a plan

Make a list of companies you want to work for and try to connect with someone there. A referral from an employee is often given more weight, and you can get the early scoop on what openings are becoming available.

#2 – Take the time to set your social media life in order

I am sorry to report that employers are googling you! Make sure you are presenting a professional, up-to-date profile on LinkedIn, as it is the most used professional networking site. If you’re asking yourself, “What’s LinkedIn?” then I suggest you start your Google search now and begin building your professional profile. Spend some time building connections, adding content and following leaders who you respect.

#3 – Schedule informational interviews

Ask to meet people you admire to talk about their jobs and the companies they work for. If you approach them with respect and curiosity, they will often be happy to spare 15 minutes to chat about how great their company is and what is expected of them in their role. It allows you to learn insider information about companies on your dream list.

During the age of COVID, you can use these interviews to practice video meetings so you are familiar with the format and any technical glitches you may encounter. And please, move the camera so it is not positioned up your nose!

#4 – Figure out what hiring managers need and show that you can take care of it for them

People often make the mistake of talking exclusively about themselves and their past experiences during interviews. The common question “Why do you want to work here?” is one that so many candidates misinterpret. What the hiring manager is really asking is: “What do you know about our company, and what can you walk in and deliver for us?” Answer that and you will be sure to impress.

Organize your cover letter and resume to clearly show why you are perfect for the role based on the posting and what you know about the company. Do not leave it for the resume screener to put the pieces together for you; present yourself as the solution to their hiring problem. This does mean that you need to customize your resume to every application, but having the right key words will pass the screeners with flying colours.

5 – Learn continuously

Show that you are proactive and always updating your resume by being curious. Taking courses is helpful, but there is a lot you can do outside the classroom to make you a great catch. Employers are looking for people who will add diversity and interest to their workplace culture. Showing that you are open to new experiences is a trait that hiring managers are looking for.

6 – Be patient and kind to yourself

Set realistic goals. For example, making one new connection per week can make you feel you are making progress towards your goal. Dream jobs do not come up every day, so you may need to bide your time.

There are recruiters who can help! A good recruiter will help you with your resume, inform you of opportunities and upsell you to hiring managers. A good recruiter who is knowledgeable about your industry is invaluable.

Lean on friends and family. Searching for a job can be hard and you will experience rejection, especially if you are competing for specialized roles. Do not dwell on the bad because you may never know the reasons why you did not get the offer. Just keep trying: growing your network, customizing your resume to the posting and remaining curious about all of those dream companies out there.

You just need one to say yes.

Tory McNally is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources and the Director of Human Resources Services at Legacy Bowes Group.