Do you have a job that you think is just average? Do you wish you had another option, that would lead to more fulfilling and rewarding work?

As unattainable as a dream job may sound, with the right amount of planning and premeditation you can make the move so many others make as well.

We talked to our happiest candidates to find out what they had in common, our tips for you:

1. Know who you are!

This goes way beyond your name. The first thing any jobseeker should do is be honest with themselves.

What kind of work/life balance are you looking for? What are your skills and how could they be applied in a work situation? Are you a cheerful, bubbly, outgoing type? Maybe a job in education would be a good fit. Are you better at analysis, quantitative research and report creation? Maybe you would be more successful in a finance related field.

An easy way to profile yourself is via a web-based Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator test.

You can then interpret the results by looking up Common Careers for MBTI Types.

Think about all the things you love, write them down and see what kind of a picture that paints of you.

2. Have an excellent resume.

This can be one of the most important things in finding a job, without a first rate application you might have a hard time even getting your foot in the door.

The purpose of the resume is to sell you to a prospective employer in a matter of minutes if not seconds. This means that everything in the resume must be carefully scrutinized.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this resume highlight the skills required for the job?
  • Is it catchy or is it boring?
  • Is the layout clean enough that a reader doesn’t get confused?
  • On the whole, how will the person reading it feel about what’s on the paper?

If possible tailor resumes to each job you apply for, or at least to broad categories of jobs.

3. Research!

The common idiom “Knowledge is Power” comes to mind. Do your homework and find out the size of the company, core services provided and any details you might be able to get about the person interviewing you.

cropped-books-magazines-building-schoolAn example, is the company involved in any new ventures? What is the general market outlook on the industry? Do any of those findings have a tangible outcome on how you would be able to do your job?

Going above and beyond is often what separates the “good” from the “great.”

4. Be prepared to back up your work.

Words alone don’t mean much, be prepared to back up your words with evidence of your excellence in work.

If you’re a coder, have a GitHub account setup that has code samples and open source work you’ve done.

If you’re a photographer, have a portfolio or gallery site setup that shows why you are excellent.

Tangible evidence is often a good sell compared to a phone interview, because it removes doubts of incapability.

For developers and coders, Dan Nguyen has an excellent guide to Building a Web Code Portfolio from Scratch with Github Pages.

5. Have a coordinated social media strategy.

Tip: If I’m considering hiring you, more likely than not I’m going to research you on any network I can find you on.

This can include:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • & anything else that comes up in a Google search.

Applying to a job in finance? Make sure that pro-anarchist, anti-banking twitter account of yours is set to private before your future manager starts forming pre-interview opinions.

Putting a LinkedIn link on your resume? Make sure that all the dates and work experience match up. The last thing you want to do is cast a shadow of doubt on your credibility.

If possible tailor resumes to each job you apply for, or at least to broad categories of jobs.

Further Reading: Managing Yourself: What’s Your Personal Social Media Strategy?

Lesson: Know what you’re about

At the end of the day, finding a real “dream job” means being honest with yourself about what your dreams actually are and then projecting those dreams to others.

Let me know if you’ve found any tips of your own and how these tips have worked out for you.