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Recruiters Share Their Best Tips For Landing Your Dream Job This Year

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By Emy Rodriguez Flores, Redbook

A few decades ago, asking a kindergartener what they want to be when they grow up prompted a basic "doctor," "chef" or even "superhero" response. Nowadays, kids are oddly specific, and their answers can range from "choreographer" to "writer," according to The Balance Careers. The main problem as we get older is we don't know where to begin when seeking out our dream job, and it can feel like an impossible task. That's why it's important to identify the key steps to get you there, and know the fundamentals of any successful job search. We interviewed recruiters and a human resources specialist about their best tips on landing that dream job this year.


Figure out what you want to do.

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There is no age limit on changing careers or starting a new one from scratch, but is important to have a clear goal and know what you want to do. A good way to get a feel for your passions and talents is to look into internships or job shadowing in your desired industry. “Using your own network or picking people's brains about their job can be one way to figure out if that industry is right for you," says Keagan Gros, Senior Account Executive at Clarity, a woman-owned boutique recruiting agency in New York City.


Do your homework.

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"When prepping for interviews, it’s essential to carry out thorough research on the interviewer and the company," shares Larissa Shearman, Content Editor at Tiger Recruitment—a recruiting agency that helps candidates who want to break into different global markets. "Don’t just do the standard review of their website—search news articles and look at their social media sites. You’ll want to have a good idea about who you’re meeting, as this demonstrates enthusiasm and will put you in good stead."


Practice makes perfect.

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Make sure to put in time rehearsing everything from how you'll greet your interviewer, so how you'll wrap it up when it's over. "Show confidence with your body language, from the initial handshake through to your smile when you thank them for their time at the end of the meeting," says Shearman. "It doesn't matter if you're just starting out or an experienced specialist, practicing everything from answering interview questions to what to do once you've received an offer letter is essential."


Be realistic.

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Let's face it, sometimes the most exciting or fulfilling job can't quite pay the bills. When choosing what you want to do, you have to make sure it fits with whatever type of lifestyle you want to live. According to the 2020 Salary Guide by Vitamin T, a talent agency for creatives, a social media manager makes an annual salary of $68,500 while a marketing manager makes about $101,000. Each industry has different standards and it's important to be realistic on where you want to be. Different salaries can make you change your mind about dream jobs very quickly.


Don't think it's too late.

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Even if you have an established career that's been years in the making, you should never feel prohibited from switching gears. "When I was considering shifting my career to recruiting from working in physical therapy, I used LinkedIn and alums from my college." shares Keagan Gros from Clarity. "I reached out and asked for a few minutes or a quick coffee meeting to pick their brains. I was able to learn which direction I wanted to go into and ultimately have been here (human resources and recruiting) for the last five years."

Looking to move into human resources like Gros? "Consider attending a meeting for your local SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) or HRCI (HR Certification Institute) chapters," suggests Dominique Rodriguez, Director of Human Resources for Elevation Financial Group in Orlando, Florida. "It’s a great way to network with human resource professionals and learn about any opportunities."


Use your network wisely.

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You'd be surprised who you're connected to. Use your resources wisely by reaching out to contacts who work in roles in your desired industry. Asking them for a coffee meeting or even a quick phone call can open doors you never knew were available. Showcasing your interest in appropriate ways can lead to a new opportunity. But be careful not to overwhelm anyone with messages. "A lot of recruiters get bombarded with messages and if you send too many, it can send the wrong signal," mentions Gros. "If you send a recruiter more than one messages about two different jobs, it can showcase a lack of seriousness."


Build the right resumé.

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Resumés are essential in any job search, and having the right components can make or break a potential job opportunity. Gros provides some key tips: "Look at the job description of the position you’re applying for. Mirror the bullet points in the job description to your resumé (using your own words and experience). However they are prioritizing the bullet points, make sure to prioritize your qualifications," she says.

"Also, putting any specific metrics or numbers on your resumé can show how you’ve helped grow a brand. Condensing things down to one page and tapering off previous positions with only one or two points can help a recruiter or hiring manager see your resumé better."


Never stop learning.

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If you feel like you don't have any relevant experience, it's not necessarily the end of the road. Take courses on sites like Coursera or LinkedIn Learning where you can get relevant experience in the field you're trying to break into. Another way to improve your credentials is to volunteer. You might not be making any money, but you'll be able to fill in employment gaps and add experience. "Do freelance or volunteer work to beef up your resumé if you don’t have any prior experience," Gros adds. And definitely don't minimize the importance of basic technical skills, like mastery of programs such as Adobe InDesign.


Apply at the right time.

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According to some recruiters, the hardest months to apply for jobs and get noticed are December (because of the holidays) and some summer months because of vacations. Finding the right time to send your resumé over is key, and you can usually find out by just asking the recruiter. This is a good way to showcase your ability to work with others and understand timing. "January is a fantastic time to look for a new role, and we’ve certainly experienced a flurry of new activity so far," says Larissa from Tiger Recruitment.


Keep an open mind.

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"When embarking on your job hunt, we recommend being open-minded first and foremost!" says Shearman from Tiger Recruitment. "Sometimes it’s the interviews that you are least excited about that end up being the most interesting career prospect. Interviews provide an opening to ask questions and get a real feel for the people and environment – in a way that a job advert simply cannot. In addition, it’s a fantastic networking opportunity and if you are a good match on the culture but the role is not quite right, you may be called back for more suitable roles down the track."


Prepare your social media first impression.

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Nowadays, first impressions are critical, but they even go beyond when you first meet someone in person. As culture in the workplace is becoming a more important factor, social media is a tool commonly used by companies to screen potential candidates. If you're applying for a private company, make sure to set your social profiles to private. This doesn't mean you have to adjust your personal life, you just have to be aware of how it could be interpreted by the outside world. According to a CareerBuilder survey, "70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring."


Expect to work your way up.

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Just because you learned what a vice president does in college doesn't mean you'll automatically be one once you graduate. A big part of getting that dream job is finding out what it takes to get there. "A well-rounded human resources professional should aim to become a generalist, while still being able to identify what function they are truly a specialist in," says Rodriguez of Elevation Financial Group. "Someone looking to get into the human resources field should consider internships for a human resources department at an organization or within an industry they are interested in. Essentially, having worked in the human resources capacity at various industries will allow you to bring different ideas and perspectives to the table."

See more at: Redbook

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