- (Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
For most Americans, finding that "dream job" means finding your place in the business world that meets your standards as a good challenge, a unique opportunity, an environment filled with faithful friends and hard workers, a place with a work-life balance, and an ethical place to share ideas. Your dream job will give you a chance to earn enough money to pay your bills and still have funds left over to enjoy life.
If you’re looking for a dream job or just a chance to get back into the workforce, you are not alone. Unemployment is more common in today's tough economic challenges facing Americans than it has ever been.
It is reasonable that unemployment, and not the economy in general, recently ranked as the most important problem facing Americans for the second month in a row, according to a Gallup poll.
This means that recent studies show joblessness now worries people more than the economy in general.
It marks a change from the early part of the economic downturn, when the economy was the top problem facing the country.
There are now 6.3 million Americans that have been unemployed for the past six months. However, the number of job openings in June was only 3.1 million, essentially unchanged from May, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The number of unemployed persons, which is now 3.9 million, and the unemployment rate (9.1 percent) changed little in July. Since April, the unemployment rate in general has shown little improvement.
Over the past 12 months, more jobs were available in construction, information, and accommodation and food services. Businesses hiring for positions in finance, insurance, and the federal government declined during the past year.
Americans think the dream job is not only impossible with today's financial woes, but working people think the "dream" just doesn't exist any longer.
But there seems to be an upswing in the American attitude. Recent studies that measure how people feel about their long-term goals in life, discovered a remarkable number that remain optimistic about their future.
John Zogby, a Forbes analyst, said something is still motivating our citizenry to see that the ideal is within reach even when banks are failing and jobs are being shed by all sorts of businesses-even the government.
"For believers, faith in themselves and the American ideal of opportunity for those who want it can actually get the job of a lifetime," Zogby said.
"Forty-nine percent of frequent church goers attribute their optimism to their religious faith. Seventy-six percent of people under age 30 say their brains and hard work will bring them success."
To get the job of your dreams there are several things to remember. First, you must have a clear vision of what your “dream job” looks like or what you expect to be doing five or ten years in the future.
In other words - you have to know what you’re looking for, according to employment experts.
If you want to be working the job of your dreams then you will need to get busy.
First, do your research.
Learn everything you can about the job of your dreams including industry trends, salaries, potential for advancement, etc. Look into jobs that are similar to the one you are interested in pursuing. Take classes, workshops or online courses to get qualified for the work you wish to do.
Whether you are preparing to enter the job market for the first time, but are unsure about what kind of work you would like, or just feel it’s time to find a job that is information is for you. Maybe you are one of the millions trying to find your way back into the workforce - having a plan and maintaining your dream is imperative.
Experts say to remember, "You are in control. Confidence is everything."
While knowing you’re not the only one going through the tedious job search process may bring some comfort, it also means you and your skills have to shine extra brighter to stand out among the all the applicants.
Here are some ideas to help you find the job of your dreams:
1) Don’t Give up
This is perhaps the most important piece of advice when job hunting: don’t give up or lose hope. After a day of unemployment turns into a week or a month, it may be very tempting to just throw in the towel and become discouraged. But remember: you won’t get a job that you don’t apply for.
So, keep chugging along at those job sites on the internet but don’t forget the more traditional approaches too. Going outside and knocking on doors and talking face-to-face with the managers shows that you’re extra motivated and will help you stand out from the crowd.
Also, some techniques have been known to yield some results, or at least get attention.
That being said, don’t over do it. Spend a designated amount of time each day looking for a job but then turn off the computer, put down the paper, and hang up the phone. Go do something that is fun or relaxes you. Constantly searching all day for weeks on end will just make you more stressed.
After all, if there is an upside to being out of the job it’s that you have more time to do what you love and spend time with the ones who love you. Eventually, you will have a job and that time will become shorter.
2) Polish your cover letters and resume
This may sound obvious, however, employers note that a surprisingly large amount of resumes they receive contain spelling and grammatical errors. This sends an immediate red flag to the employer. After all, if you can’t pay attention to details to your own resume then how can they expect you to give detailed attention to your work? Don’t be one of those people.
Also, try and tailor your resume and cover letter to the places you are applying to. If one job requires more writing, make sure your writing experience is clear and stands out. If another job calls for more public speaking, then make sure your public speaking skills are noticeable on the resume.
Also, try and be personable with your cover letters. Employers can tell when they receive a generic letter. Show them that you are interested in their company alone.
3) Network, Network and Network
The best companies rely on employee referrals for jobs. So a lot does depend on who you know.
Make a list of everyone you know: friends, family, acquaintances. Call or email them and ask them to keep an eye out for openings that would fit you. Tell them what you want but also let them know that you are flexible. Now is not the time to be picky about jobs. Remember, even if you don’t land what you would consider a “great” job, everything can lead to an opportunity down the road.
4) Volunteer/Take an Internship
This is tough advice. After all, who wants to volunteer or take a meager paying internship when you may be struggling to make ends meet?
However, volunteering at an organization you love or taking an internship may lead to full time employment down the road. Also, you will be gaining not only experience but referrals as well. This may prove to be valuable in the future.
5) Ace the Interview
Even before you’re offered an interview, you can prepare for it. Prepare your pitch. Most job interviews will ask at least some of the generic questions. So go ahead and plan your answer. You can even go down to a local career-counseling center as most offer mock interview sessions to help build your skills.
Also, before you go to the interview, research the company. Nothing impresses the interviewer more than seeing that someone cared enough about the job and what they as a company do. It lets them know that you want to work for them and that you’re not just “on the job hunt.” It shows initiative.
Here’s a list of possible questions:
- Tell me about yourself
- Keep this brief and to the point
- Why should we hire you?
- Brag about yourself, now is not the time to hold back or be humble
- What’s your greatest strengths?
- Again, don’t be humble
- What’s your greatest fault?
- Always turn you’re a fault into a positive attribute
- Pray for guidance and have faith
- Note: An employer also might ask you to describe an experience you had when you showed leadership, or grace under pressure, etc. Think about these stories in advance and be prepared to share.
6) Make a list of work related skills you’d like to learn
If you’re not working, you probably have more time to enhance your skills. Take a class at a community college or teach yourself skills needed for the job. Employers will like to see that you have been progressing your skills even during this time off.
7) Dress Appropriately, Be Early
Of course, when you do land that interview, take it seriously. Employers want to know they can work with you everyday and that you are a person who is responsible, reliable, and easy to be around.
Dress appropriately, of course. Even if the company employees wear jeans to work, you should be business professional. Wearing something too casual to the interview might be too risky. Remember, once you are hired you can wear what everyone else wears. The interview, however, is about first impressions and you want to give off a professional impression.
8) Watch your mannerisms
Whenever you make personal contact with the employer or human resource personal, whether It be on the phone or in person, be mindful of your mannerisms.
Do not badmouth your previous boss, even if it is tempting.
Also, always make eye contact. Don’t appear nervous; you want to give them the impression that you are confident and know what you’re doing and what you want.
9) Ask Questions
Remember, during the interview process you are interviewing them as well. Ask thoughtful questions, it lets the employer know that you are engaged in the conversation and that you are interested in the job. A lack of questions may be perceived as a lack of interest.
10) Follow Up
This is an easy step that most people forget. After the interview send a thank you email or card to the interviewee. You can simply say something like: “It was great meeting you, thank you for your time. I enjoyed learning more about Company X.”
This leaves a positive impression on the employer and helps you stand out in their mind as a grateful and thoughtful person.
Remember the job of your dreams is still out there despite the gloomy financial forecast. Be confident in yourself and invite God into every conversation of the day because someone is going to see your determination.
Good always follow bad and God has your success ready and waiting for you to claim it.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the American dream is still alive and well - and dreams really can come true if you believe in yourself.