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How to Score Your Dream Job

by Angela Orr | Jul 31, 2018

TeamKC Advisory Board member Erin Christensen, manager of employer relations and outreach at the University of Missouri-Kansas city’s Bloch Career Center, shares tips on how to conduct a successful job search and steps to take to land your dream job:

Searching for a job is never fun. Some people seem to luck out and jobs just “land in their laps.” What you don’t know about these people is that they have always been strategically thinking about their next move and positioning themselves so when they are ready to take that next step, a seamless transition. There are several things you can do now to help with your job search. Whether you are looking for something new today, a month from now, or years down the line, it is never too late to follow these steps.

Application Materials

I won’t go into a lot of detail here because I know there was a recent post written about updating your resume. The key takeaway? Make sure your resume is up-to-date. You also want to make sure your cover letter reflects each and every job you apply for. I always like to say that your cover letter gives you the ability to talk about yourself in a way your resume cannot. While your resume is great at giving the reader a quick idea of your skillset; it doesn’t necessarily tell the story. Your cover letter should be a convincing argument as to why YOU are THE BEST person for the job!

You can find more information on how to write a cover letter and a sample cover letter here.

Online Presence

We are hearing more and more from talent acquisition professionals that their first stop in finding information out on a candidate is to look for them on LinkedIn. If you don’t have an account, stop reading this and create one. NOW! The great thing about LinkedIn is that it is smart. Really smart. Plus, LinkedIn has a great feature that you can “turn on” to let recruiters know you are open to new opportunities and it allows them to contact you if they feel that your skillset is a good fit for what they are looking for. This is why it should be just as up-to-date as your resume.

LinkedIn is kind of like an online version of your resume; but better. You can add a portfolio of your work, get recommendations and endorsements from co-workers, post articles … the list goes on. For more information on getting your LinkedIn account set-up/polished, a great guide can be found here.

Beyond LinkedIn, it’s important to ensure the rest of your online presence is something you are proud of. It’s okay to have your social media accounts open as long as the content posted and viewable is something that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to show a recruiter.

Networking

I saved the best for last! You know how I mentioned that it seems so easy for certain people to find jobs and they just seem to fall in their laps? It is because they are utilizing their network. They maintain relationships. They let people know if they are open to new opportunities. If you don’t tell people you are open to new opportunities, how will they know to think of you in the future?

Networking can be hard. It comes easy to some people and more difficult for others. My recommendation is to start small. For example, think of someone you may have gone to school with that is in a similar job that you might want someday. Ask them to an informational interview to get a better idea as to what their day-to-day is and let them know that you are thinking of transitioning into their line of work. BUT, the work doesn’t stop after that interview. This is where maintaining your network comes into play. Follow up with them. Grab coffee every once in a while to chat. And above all, be genuine.

Another form of networking is joining a professional or social organization. This is scary for some because they might not know anyone at the first gathering/meeting but this will significantly increase your network as you become more comfortable with the group. More than likely they will be like-minded people with similar professional/personal interests.

KCADC has curated a great list of organizations perfect for networking and meeting people. Most of them have events you can attend and you don’t even need to be a member. Some other types of opportunities to think about are local university alumni groups, volunteering, local alumni groups for your fraternity/sorority, civic organizations, etc.

Lastly, remember when I said that LinkedIn was smart? Use LinkedIn to network! One of my favorite tools is the alumni search feature. You can search for alumni by geographical location, company, major, year they graduated, and the list goes on. Look for alumni who live in your area, or who work at a company that you are interested in, and connect with them! Some good resources on using LinkedIn to network can be found here and here.

The job search process can feel overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be! If you would like to chat further about your goals or obstacles you are trying to overcome, the Bloch Career Center is happy to help in any way it can. Contact Erin at christensener@umkc.edu to learn more about landing your dream job. Contact TeamKC@ThinkKC.com for questions about TeamKC: Life+Talent.

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