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7 Tips to Land Your Dream Job, On the Job


You’ve heard the old saying: “Choose a job that you love, and you never have to work a day in your life.” While it does seem ideal, not everybody gets to do what they really love as a job, especially at first. You might need to move into the perfect role by coming at it sideways, in a lateral move from another position. If you’re lucky enough to be working in a company where there is scope to be doing what you enjoy doing, seize the opportunity.

tips to be a stand-out candidate

(Photo Credit: Steven Depolo/Flickr)

Here’s what you can do to land your dream job at your employer.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

1. You should want to do it really bad

If you’re just toying with the idea – maybe the field seems interesting to you, or you’re vaguely intrigued by some aspect of the role – there’s no way you can convince anybody that you’ll be effective and a good fit, mainly because you yourself are not convinced. So before you make your move, be absolutely clear on what you want to do and why you want to do it. The how will follow.

2. Equip yourself

Your professional and educational qualifications may or may not be in line with the field that you are interested in. But in order to get into your dream job, it is necessary to understand and have a deep knowledge in the area. Read as much as you can, talk to people who are already in the role, seek out a mentor, and learn about the field and the role. If you must, seek out some certification courses to upskill yourself. 

3. Network

Talk to the team that you want to join and let them know that you are passionate about working with them. Understand what it takes to work in their team and show genuine interest.

4. Volunteer

Every department could use some more help, because almost everyone is overworked. Volunteer your time and effort to help them out, outside of your normal office hours. Let your manager in on what you’re doing, but assure her that your main work will not suffer and mean it – don’t let your day job slip. You will not only earn good karma points, but you will also be remembered if a role opens up.

5. Become a domain expert

If you love to work on mobility, for example, but are currently in a payroll job, learn everything there is about mobility and how it affects payroll. If your company sends a lot of employees on geographic rotations or transfers, your knowledge will be valuable. You will be sought after to easily obtain answers to complicated taxation issues, instead of reaching out to an external vendor. As your dependency increases, you can easily propose for a new or expanded role.

6. Create a business case

If you’re looking at a role within your team, make a strong business case. Why should you do the role that you’re passionate about? What’s in it for the company? Why should your manager release you from your current job? Create a purpose for your position, especially if it’s a new position. Preempt and answer as many questions as your manager might ask. Explain how the role can help her, too. 

7.  Apply for internal job postings

If the job you are seeking is outside your department, you could choose to go this route. But remember, this will only be successful if you have proved your interest and capability to the hiring manager (see No. 3 and No. 4 above).

You should not, however, catch your direct manager by surprise. Most internal mobility processes, whether directly or indirectly, seek feedback from the current manager as a qualifying criteria for moves. Keep your manager posted, and reassure her that you would only move after your immediate commitments on the job have been addressed. Work out a plan with your new manager. This helps establish your work ethic, too!

Tell Us What You Think

How did you get your dream job? What worked? What didn’t? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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