We all grow up with dreams of what we want to be someday, but landing that dream job isn't easy. Applying to jobs and going on interviews can be time-consuming and stressful. Plus, the companies you have your eye on may not even be hiring in the first place — or the right job for you might not even exist yet.
The good news is, it may be a challenge, but the stress of the job hunt doesn't have to stop you. If you go into your search fully prepared, you might just be able to turn your dream job into a reality.
Ready to take on the career of your dreams? Here's how to land the perfect job for you, according to business owners and career experts.
Know exactly what you want.
"Get extremely specific about what you're looking for. Instead of taking personality tests that provide broad [or] general career advice, get really specific about the type of career niche and respective job function and job title you want within a particular industry. So, for example, if you wanted to work in the travel industry, your career niche would be hospitality, [your] job function would be marketing and [your] job title would be hotel sales manager. This is important because hiring managers that are related to the job of your dreams will not hire someone who will 'take anything.' They want someone who is qualified, but also, they want someone who truly wants the particular vacancy they're trying to fill, not someone who lacks a clear career goal. Remember, if you don't know what you want, you'll probably never get it." – Kimberly Ramsawak, travel career strategist and founder, Tourism Exposed
Reach out to companies directly.
"Forget job postings. Find a fast-growing company whose mission you believe in. Reach out directly, and tell them how you can help. There is a whole layer of hidden job opportunities that never make it to a job posting. When a company is growing fast and staying busy, they might not even know they need you until you tell them." – Derek Szeto, CEO, Wirkn
Do your research.
"Research the company, research the interviewers [and] research the job. Really understand what this role is, what the company fit is and what the company niche is. Be able to showcase this research in the interview through strategic questions and specific details in the dialogue. It's the job of the candidate to fully understand the position, and then be able to explain why they are the right person for the job. Research has to be all-encompassing, and should include looking at the company Instagram or Facebook for pictures of company events, to take note of the dress code. Research as many people in the company as possible to observe their career paths and job functions." – Nadine Varca Bilotta, founding partner, CompleteCandidate
Rethink your skill set.
"Even though you may be interested in a complete career switch, many of the skills that you've built up in your current field will still be useful in your new one. Think about how you can position yourself to prospective employers by using these skills as indicators of your future capabilities and success. Don't forget to think about softer skills, like leadership, communication and teamwork; these are often just as valuable to companies as harder skills like programming and media management." – Sam McIntire, founder, Deskbright [See Related Story: 10 Dream Jobs You Won't Believe Actually Exist]
Use social media.
"Your personal brand is an incredibly powerful tool in landing the job of your dreams. While your résumé and cover letter are great places to tell hiring managers all about your abilities and past work, they're a little black and white. With social media and building your personal brand online, you can show instead of tell. Your personal brand can help distinguish you from others, showcase your personality and talents, and help you be seen as a credible and trusted resource in your industry. Building out your social presence can also help you grow your network and make it easier for relevant people to find you." – Lauren Friedman, head of social business enablement, Adobe
Build your network.
"Once you find something you are enthusiastic about, don't run to the want ads. Start talking to people in that world. This is easier now than ever because of the abundance of virtual communities. Getting near the people who love, and are enthusiastic about, the same things as you is the doorway to accessing opportunities and supporters who've been where you are — on the outside wanting to get in — and who know about the inside opportunities. In these communities and around these people, you'll learn the language, behaviors and idiosyncrasies that are particular to the profession or industry that interests you, which communicates to people you talk to that you've made an effort to learn their world." – Courtney Kirschbaum, career and life coach and founder, Original Experience
Show how passionate you are.
"Tell the hiring manager that this is the job of your dreams. If you act like this is just an interview or role like any other, the recruiter won't know how strongly you feel about the opportunity. Let them know why you're excited about this role using specifics. Your energy will likely be infectious, and your reasons could make you stand out from the crowd." – Sarah Connors, principal staffing manager, WinterWyman Contract Staffing
Send a thoughtful follow-up.
"Follow up after an interview. While it's good practice to send a thank-you email after an interview — though most people still don't do this — it's even better to follow up with a well-thought-out email thanking the interviewer as well as addressing some of the topics that came up during the interview. For example, was there a question about your skills that you couldn't answer well, because you just didn't have the experience? Or did you come up with a great idea that didn't hit you until after the interview? If you send a follow-up showing you spent the time to learn and improve, it would go a long way in landing the job." – Josh Rubin, owner, Creative California
Create the job yourself.
"Sometimes, the best way to land the job of your dreams is to try to create it right where you are. Take on passion projects at your current place of employment; find ways to learn new skills to incorporate into your work. Shine wherever you can, and people will take notice. Once you get the ear of top-level management, start to share your vision of how you see your career developing within the organization. They just might listen and give you the chance to go after your dream." – Michele Mavi, director of internal recruiting and content development, Atrium Staffing