Competition out there is fierce—and getting fiercer. It can be hard enough to find any job—let alone the one you really want. Here are 7 job hunting strategies to help you find a new job you love in the new year.
1. Burn your resume.
No really. This won’t work in every situation, but as a novel strategy it just might work. Try thinking about a handful of companies you’d really like to work for, even if they aren’t advertising any open jobs. Then start actively researching the company—what they do, who they do business with, what their needs are, etc.
Then, start learning to talk shop, and start making friends in that company or industry. This strategy requires basically outsmarting and bypassing the whole employment machine—i.e. never dealing directly with HR. It takes time—sometimes a lot of time—but can be just the strategy to get you in the place you really want to be, doing what you really want to do.
2. Be selective.
If you have to go a more traditional job search route, make sure you’re only applying to the best listings. Broaden out—look at search engines, job sites, company sites, networking sites, and every other avenue you can find. Consider working with a recruiter to get your resume in front of more decision-makers. Focus and narrow your search to jobs you know you’d really be suited for and places (both companies and geographical locations) where you’d be willing to live and work.
3. Figure out what you really want.
This is part of being selective—and will help you to hone your list. What do you really want out of your life, both your work life and your real life? How can you make the two work together? Develop and define the job you really want that allows you to fulfill yourself on all fronts. Don’t just look at postings and try to fit yourself into round holes. Craft square opportunities for your square peg and the rest will follow.
4. Seek your dream.
There’s no rule that says you can’t research a company and a job you’d like, then write to your would-be supervisor at that company and express your enthusiasm for that particular job. Even if there aren’t any openings. Explain that this isn’t just another job to you, but your dream career—and how well you would be suited to both it and to the company.
5. Be flexible.
The pursuit of dreams can be a long process. Be willing to accept interim work, provided it won’t derail your bigger search, while you’re working towards your ultimate goal. Income can be a real asset to put you in a better position to continue working towards your dream.
6. Figure out what you need to do.
If there are any specific skills or qualifications you might need to get accepted into your dream position. You can find this out by asking a decision-maker in your field directly. Then start working to acquire those skills. The quicker you get them on lock down, the closer you are to your dream career.
7. Get help.
Ask a trusted friend or colleague for advice. Get a mentor. Make sure it’s someone you can trust to help you reach your goal, then lay out a strategy. It can be very helpful to be accountable to another person, also to have someone giving you a bit of extra perspective in your search.