I’ve had my dream job, a couple of times actually, and this is how I did it.
Some of you may not know this, but I’m an extremely hard worker and a go getter. When I was 13, I started my own babysitting business and had monopoly over basically our whole zip code, the week before I turned 16, I started applying for jobs so that the second I turned 16 I could start working, at 17 I was juggling 3 retail jobs, and 2 weeks after graduating high school, I started college so that I could zoom through and get a real job sooner. At just 19, I landed my 1st dream job. I’ve been working to WORK!
Now, I know that not everyone has the same mindset and may need a little inspiration or push so I decided to create a guide to help you get the job of your dreams.
Step 1: Clean Up Your Online Presence
Nowadays you can learn everything about someone online. The good and even the bad. At one of my jobs, as I was hiring for a Social Media Coordinator, I definitely googled the candidates, ESPECIALLY for an online position like a Social Media Coordinator. I’m pretty sure everyone looks up everyone these days. A company cannot afford to have a loose cannon running the voice and image of their brand or even working with their vendors, serving their customers and more. If your grandma would be shocked about it, hide it or delete it. I’m not saying you should look like an angel, but if a tweet from 6 years ago is making you cringe now, imagine if a future employer saw it! Clean it up.
Step 2: Build Your Resume
Resumes can make or break you getting the job. I’ve seen managers throw away resumes that were confusing, looked bad, or had spelling errors. Your resume is crucial.
You can start by getting a template online if you need building blocks to create something amazing. Pick something that has a great format. Remember you’re looking to give someone information about you and your professional history. Flashy and full of graphics may not be the best route (unless you’re looking for a graphic/art based job than do you!). Simple that gets the point across is the best route.
Also, everything needs to be in the present tense and keep it consistent. Nothing worse than reading through and the tenses are all over the place. Pick one!
If you’re new to the industry and never had a job in the industry you’re looking, list your skills at the top above your work history. This will show your future employer that you came here to work and you have skills to bring to the table. Do it in bullet format with complete sentences. You can start off with a statement and list your bullets underneath.
Example format: A hard-working, positive, and creative professional offering the following skills:
When it comes to experience, be through but to the point. Reading 30 bullet points about your job may make someone go crazy and at the end, they might be confused. We all know that a Copywriter writes copy. Get into it, dig a little deeper and jot down the most important things. “Writing copy for the product descriptions of items on the website and for all marketing materials.” There we go, you look like a bigshot now! And if you were an intern, do not write getting coffee for my boss! Write the good stuff you learned and what you can bring to the table as a future employee. You can also include these in your skills.
Try and keep it to one sheet! I think mine is 2 sheets but its cool, because I can print it double sided. Anymore than that is excessive! If you have a ton of work experience, pick the most recent work you’ve done and the most important. The retail job from 10 years ago is not important now, so ditch it.
CHECK FOR SPELLING AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS. Yes I meant for that to be in caps, it’s super important. Some managers are crazy about this and will trash it upon seeing the error. This is a representation of you and if you can’t spell check or edit then what will that say about your work? Grab a buddy or your family and have everyone check it out. Maybe they’ll have other helpful input as well!
Step 3: Get on LinkedIn
This is a MUST. I took a whole class about this in college. It’s so important to network and communicate with people in the industry you want to be in. When I was first entering the “adult” workforce (after college), LinkedIn was popping. It might not be as looked at now, but I guarantee the person you are trying to reach still gets email notifications and they’ll see your message eventually! Recruiters are also still using this heavily so keep that in mind.
Once you get on LinkedIn, update your profile completely. This will help you in the future when you’re applying for jobs online as you can simply “apply with LinkedIn” and it will save you time and help lead recruiters to your page.
On the topic of updating your profile, let’s get into profile pictures. Keep it simple. Pick a photo of your face that’s professional and clean. I have “Stylist” in my headline so I have a more styled out headshot. I’ve seen so many profiles with blurry photos, groups of girls at a bar, or far away pictures of someone on vacation. This says “I don’t know what I’m doing here.” This is a professional website for people to mingle about career related topics. PICK A PROFESSIONAL PICTURE!
Speaking of headlines, pick one that sums up your current job title and you can even include the company name if you want. If you don’t have a job but are looking for one, you can use “Currently Seeking Opportunities in the Fashion Industry” or “Seeking A Stylist Opportunity” (obviously input your industry or position YOU are looking for).
Enter your work experience as if this was your resume. Format it correctly and input your experience truthfully. Remember that this is public, so if you are lying about your experience and your reference doesn’t back you up, you could end up looking bad to future employers or current colleagues.
Enter your skills so that colleagues can endorse you! It looks great when you have reviews or endorsements on your profile. Endorse your colleagues as well so that they can hopefully return the favor. This is like a built in reference.
Step 4: Start Reaching Out
Once you have a clean online presence, a super amazing resume, and an awesome looking LinkedIn, you’re ready to reach out!
I like to start by looking at the available jobs on the market. What do I want to do next? Apply for the jobs you want if there’s an online application. If you have to email someone to apply, make sure you have an amazing cover letter to use in the body of your email. If you’re having trouble creating a cover letter, google “Cover Letter Template for ___” and input the position you’ll want to be applying for. Obviously it will be someone’s template and you’ll have to tweak it to make it your own, but it will be a great starting point. Proofread your cover letter just like your resume!
Step 5: The Follow Up
If you haven’t heard a response or want to get ahead of the game, I like to find the hiring manager or recruiter for the company and connect with them on LinkedIn. I’ll shoot them a message that I just applied for the position and would love to be considered or I’ll even just send my cover letter and resume so that the personally have it. It’s even great to start making these connections because even if you don’t get the job with them, the’ll be following all of your achievements and might want to reach out to you in the future.
Also if you have a connection with someone at the company you can ask for a referral. Maybe you connected with them in the past on LinkedIn, you went to school with them or you even met them at a party, it never hurts to ask. You really have nothing to lose. Plus, some companies also pay the referring person a “referral fee” which is a nice little bonus to them if you end up working out at the company.
Step 6: Your Portfolio or Project
Okay they’ve reached out to you, amazing! Some companies will make you do a project or ask to see your portfolio if you’ve applied and they’re interested. They want to dig a little deeper and see your work and what you’re capable of.
I like to build a website to host images of my work (I’m currently working on an updated version of this, hey!) But if they want to meet with you in person, bring a physical copy or even make an album on your iPad to swipe through and showcase. If they ask you to do a project, you better kill it! Bring your A game as if this was your job, show them that you’re the best for the job and you would do amazing.
Step 7: The Interview
This is the part that I’m bad at because I’m shy. Speaking with people, especially when I’m nervous is one thing I’m not good at. One thing I like to prep myself with is “What do you have to lose? You only have something to gain.” I’m still a bag of nerves but walking in with the confidence that both parties have something to gain here is the best way to succeed. If it’s a recruiter or a hiring manager, they need a body to fill the job, they need you! Remember that too!
Make sure you do you research on the company before the interview so you can go in there with knowledge. Makes you look good and maybe you can even present ideas they’ve never heard of.
Bring a hard copy of your resume! I like to bring a folder with a couple just in case there are multiple people in the interview so they don’t have to share.
Also, dress professionally! Even if you’ve known the person for 5 years, look your best. Wearing distressed jeans and a t-shirt doesn’t say that you’re there for the job. I always have an outfit in my closet that I keep around in case I have to go on an interview. Something that looks powerful and put together. (Plus, my chest gets super red when I’m nervous, so gotta cover that up). I heard that black is a powerful color and nothing looks better than a put together outfit so I’m always down for a jacket/blouse/pants combo.
My Favorite Pieces for An Interview
Lastly, at the end when they ask you if you have any questions, ALWAYS have at least one question. It shows interest. If you don’t have any questions then that means you weren’t really listening, right?
Here are some great questions to ask, even if you don’t have any:
- What would a typical day look like in this job?
- Is there opportunity for growth?
- What’s your favorite thing about your company?
- What does success look like in this position?
After the interview, always follow up! “It was so great to meet with you the other day, thank you for taking the time to talk with me.” And so on! Mention again that you think you would be a great fit and what else you can bring to the table, again. Never leave their mind, even if you have to bug them once a week for a month. It seems excessive but it shows your passion.
And even if you don’t get the job and you get an email saying they went with another candidate, email them back always, thank them for their time, tell them to keep you in mind and follow up every so often. You never know if that dream job will just open up for you. Follow up is key.
Never give up on your dreams. If you’re reading this and you think you’re too young to start looking or too old to go after it, you’re wrong. There’s never a bad time to get what you want. If you’re stuck at a dead end job that’s getting you nowhere, LEAVE! Your worth is so important and don’t ever forget. If you have enough passion and drive to do the job you really want you will get there if you work hard! That’s all. Kick ass, work hard and take over the job you’re dreaming of.