How to Help Your Kid (or Yourself) Get Their Dream Job

Lately I’ve had a few of my friends ask me to talk with their kids about how to get the job they really want. When talking with the parents or with their kids it generally comes down to the same few things. I think I’ll do a webinar on this soon, but in the meantime, here are my thoughts on what it takes to get the job you really want. Oh, and this assumes you have the skills to perform the job and that your resume is ready and looking sharp!

The two main issues on getting the dream job are the mindset and the process. Let’s start with mindset. When I sat down to talk with Rachel last week the first thing I noticed was the lack of confidence. This is understandable, but this is the first “critical constraint” we need to remove in the search for the allusive awesome job. Rachel related her story about graduating from a great college last year and the couple of near misses she has had with landing a job that she really wants. She has sent out tons of applications and has only heard back on one or two. She’s working in a restaurant now and feels stuck on the next steps. I could hear the defeat in her voice.

The first thing Rachel needs to do is change her attitude. Employers are hiring people, not just job openings that need to be filled. So, your attitude and your energy are everything! And you need to plan that it will take an ongoing assault for a fair amount of time to finally wedge yourself into the door of the company you want to work at. The trick is to blend your best and brightest authentic self with confidence and positive communication to the person doing the hiring. There can be no defeat in your voice. You must be absolutely clear eyed that you want the job, deserve the job and that you are the person they have been looking for. You need to have a smile on your face, even if your heart is racing. There are plenty of ways to get yourself into this mental state, but that is beyond the scope of this article and I’ll write that novel someday soon.

Along with the right mindset, you need a plan. You need the right process. Getting that great job is often a bit like going to war. You may lose quite few battles, but you can never give up on winning the war. When I sat down with Dylan he clearly had the needed skills for the job he wants. But his attitude was iffy and his plan was non-existent. The 100 job applications he had sent out hadn’t produced anything promising. My first question to him was to ask who he knew in that industry. He said no one and I quickly mentioned four people in the neighborhood that I knew and he knew that were connected to that industry. I then asked Dylan what companies he really wanted to work at and he told me them, but that he didn’t know anyone there.

So here is the process: you must meet those people in person. You only email them for one reason, and that is to set up a meeting. So how does this work? First of all, you contact anyone you know that can help you on the path to the job you are after. You ask them if you can meet them in person briefly or if they are too far away, if you can talk with them on the phone quickly. Saying you have a question for them or need their advice is often a perfect lead-in. If asked correctly, people will go out of their way to help others. Once you get them on the phone or meet them in person, you tell them your goal (confidently) and ask them who they know that can help you. After they answer you ask them who else they know. After that you ask them if they would introduce you by phone, email or in person. Then you repeat the same thing with those people. If you have trouble getting a hold of them, don’t worry about it. Just call them back every 10-14 days with a smile and confidence until you get a hold of them. Timing is everything.

With people you don’t know, the process is similar. You need to drop by the company, email or call them until you can get a brief phone or actual meeting with them. Saying you would like a quick call or meeting to ask a question of their advice is a perfect way to go. I know this seems hard, but with the right confidence, authenticity and process, you will eventually contact them and win them over.

I have hired about 800 people in my life. And one thing is almost always true. People want to hire the people that communicate well, are persistent, impress them and really want the job. If that is not true where you want to work, you may need to reset your dream job! I had a manager years ago named Jason. He was the manager when we won Retailer of the Year in the United States and he never let me forget that he applied three times before he got a job at my company. Never give up. Never back down. Keep positive. Keep communicating. It’s okay and I give you permission to do this!

Last thoughts. Most of the time we would have about 25 active applications at our company in case a position opened up. So sometimes it is really all about timing. That is why you never give up and you check in with a company you have applied to on a continual basis. Your goal is to get that interview. Also, there were a number of times that people found there way into my office somehow and so impressed me before I even saw their application that I was already trying to figure out how to hire them even though I didn’t have a position open.

Mindset and process. I know I haven’t been able to get into the nuance of every bit of this in this article, but if you’ve read this far, you can figure out how to get a hold of me. I’m always available to you.

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