Job hunting can suck.
First you spend hours trawling through ads, creating cover letters, updating and tweaking resumes and talking to recruiters to finally get to a phone interview. Then you arrange the phone interview, maybe go for a face-to-face interview and finally, days and sleepless nights later, get a response, which is often a polite “no thank you.”
If you’re experiencing problems landing a job, let alone your dream job, it can be a pretty exhausting and soul-destroying process. You’re not alone in this, and you know what else? It’s likely not even your fault.
The problem is that great employers have the pick of the crop. The can select the best employees for the most competitive rates because everyone wants to work for them. What this means for you is that you have tons of competition and will need to pull something special out of the bag to demonstrate your value if you’re going to land that job you’re really after.
But don’t dismay. By the end of this article, you’ll be in the position to stack the odds in your favor so that those sleepless nights — and days of jumping through hoops — will evaporate into a distant memory.
The Reason You’re Not Landing the Job
The reason you’re struggling to find a job is because at the moment, the odds are stacked against you. This is in part because of the market, but mostly to do with the way you’re approaching the process.
The truth is, the odds are stacked against you because you’re going after positions that aren’t totally aligned with who you are.
Let me give you an example. Say you’re applying for a position as a marine biologist on a research project. Let’s assume you have all the normal qualifications. You have some experience, and you know you can handle what the job involves. However, you’re up against another candidate who absolutely lives for marine biology. They have their own pet projects, they stay up late doing their own research. They’ve spent holidays out on a boat looking at different species of sea horses –- not because they had to, not because they thought it would look good on their resume -– but simply because they love marine biology so much this kind of thing is something they would do even if they weren’t being paid for it.
Who Do You Think Will Land the Job?
You guessed it: the person who would do the job just for the love of it.
Now, if your field and past experience is something more mundane, then sure, you’re not likely to go overboard on the passion, but this still illustrates a point. Employers are attracted to candidates who are filled with enthusiasm. They love to see candidates who are passionate about what they do, who will go the extra mile, who light up and contribute. They want to see those individuals who will use all the resources at their disposal to add value to what they do.
These are the people who get the jobs.
The reason you haven’t landed a job yet is because you haven’t been demonstrating this kind of value. The important thing you and I need to look at now is that perhaps the reason you haven’t been naturally exuding this kind of value and enthusiasm is because you’re applying for jobs that simply don’t suit your natural passions, skills and talents.
Don’t despair. This isn’t about beating yourself up or adding to your doubts about yourself. This is about making things easier for you -– so stay with me. Help is at hand, because while you may not have considered this before, there are things you can do quickly and easily to course adjust, so that not only do you land the best job against big competition, but you also end up doing something you really love and want to do.
This is where your career becomes more than a paycheck.
To land your dream job, you need to make yourself magnetic by aligning with what you really want to spend your time doing. (Click here to tweet this idea.)
How to Make Yourself Magnetic to Employers
To land your dream job, you need to make yourself magnetic by stacking the odds in your favour at several levels. Here’s how:
1. Find a Job That Lights You Up with Enthusiasm
First, you need to know what you would absolutely love to do. If you managed to land that job you’re pursuing, will you still be thrilled to get to it each day, even a few years down the line?
2. Know Where Your Natural Skills Lie
List them out explicitly. These aren’t the things you’ve already listed on your resume, like “good communicator.” These are the things that define where your personality meets your job role.
For instance, a detective would have to be detail-orientated, street smart and incredibly tenacious. If you don’t think you’re particularly determined when it comes to enforcing justice, then you probably want to look elsewhere for your dream career. Similarly, if you’re outgoing and get your energy from being around other people, you probably won’t do yourself any favors trying to get a job as an administrator.
These are simple, straightforward examples, but if you can apply the principle to what you’re looking for in a job role, you may be surprised to find that you’ve picked your chosen path for reasons that don’t take into account your natural skills and talents.
What I find with my coaching clients is that most of the time they can’t distinguish between natural and learned competencies. If you can break it down and design your career so you spend more time using your natural skills, you’re well on the road to having a happier and more successful working career.
3. Identify a Job That’s at Least an 80% Match in Experience, Skills and Qualifications
The next thing to do is to align the first two pieces of information you’ve discerned (what brings out your enthusiasm, and where your natural skills lie) with jobs you match at least 80% in terms of your skills, experience and qualifications. Previously, you may have been doing what most people do, which is matching what you’re “kinda” interested in doing with what you have qualifications and comfort in doing.
Now you’re changing your search criteria. Now you’re going after something you’re enthused about, with day-to-day tasks that suit your personality.
The point of this is to make sure you’re in your natural flow all day, every day. “Flow” is characterised by those times when everything is easy and effortless. When you end the day with as much energy as when you started. When you’re on fire and generate results that make you look like a magician. We’ve all had times like that, and you’ll notice if you think back that these are the times when you’ve been doing the tasks that suit your personality. Work is no longer work. It’s play!
This is what happens when you align the first two criteria with the tasks of the job you’re going after. And the magic will shine through during the selection process, too.
4. Go After That Dream Career
And now to the final piece of the puzzle: pulling it all together and making it happen.
Nothing is going to change unless you do the first three steps, which involve a bit of self-reflection, research and positioning upfront. You’re not going to know which companies to apply to, or roles to apply for, unless you’ve done your own groundwork.
If loving what you do and making a success of your time in your paid employment is important to you, then it’s time well spent to get aligned in this way. If you’ve always thought a career is simply a way to pay the bills, this is your chance to discover otherwise. There is a way to turn the pressure and procrastination around so you can be offered the job you really want and will love doing, but it’s going to take some effort on your part.
But what’s better: a bit of effort upfront to enjoy the rest of your career, or working hard for the rest of your life “just to pay the bills”?
What If It’s Just Beyond Your Grasp?
You may find that what you would really love is just a little beyond what you’re capable of landing straight off the mark. If that’s the case, that’s okay. You have your whole life to develop your career and grow into your dream job.
Start working on getting your foot in the door with something that’s the next closest match, while you build up your skills or experience as necessary. Just knowing you’re working towards the jackpot will fire you up and keep you engaged with the work, and it will make landing that stepping-stone job in your career so much easier and more exciting.
Over to You…
So, now it’s your turn.
Comment below to tell me what your dream job might look like. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve discovered!
Laura Leigh Clarke (@EnlightenLaura, or check out her Facebook page) is the Whole Heart, Whole Brained Business Mentor and author of Wire Yourself for Wealth. She helps individuals get unstuck and get on track so they can make money doing what they love.