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Land Your Dream Job in a Down Economy

Employers are posting the most job openings in the past three years, reports the  Labor Department, yet there are nearly 14 million people out of work competing
for these jobs. This means there’s an average of 4.2
unemployed workers competing for each opening. Some of these jobs still haven’t
been filled because job seekers don’t have the right skills to match certain
positions. The Wall Street Journal reports
that 52% of companies are having difficulty filling these positions. Despite the
bad economy, you can get the job you want instead of settling for one that
simply pays the bills. Here are five ways to make the most out of your job

1. Focus Your Job Search

Instead of submitting your resume to thousands of job openings on, classified ads and
corporate websites, narrow your search to the jobs you’re truly passionate
about. In 2010, Simply Hired found
that 83% of people choose jobs they love over more money, and they should. By
putting all of your effort into finding jobs at companies you’re interested in,
you will have a better chance at getting your dream job. Your positive attitude,
work ethic, body language and persistence will shine through in your interviews
and will give you the competitive edge in the hiring process.

(MORE: 9 Jobs
of the Near Future

2. Brush Up on Your Soft Skills

Just being good at your trade won’t cut it anymore. You have to have a whole
set of soft skills, including leadership, teamwork and communication, as well as
emotional intelligence. In fact, CareerBuilder reports
that 71% of employers value emotional intelligence over IQ. You need to be able
to deal with conflict in the workplace and get along with your co-workers.
Employers want to hire employees that they can connect with both personally and

3. Tap into Your Network

Most job seekers don’t realize that the people around them can either hire
them or refer them to a job. Don’t overlook your family, friends, professors,
previous co-workers and the people that you meet at events and when you’re
traveling. Also, make sure that you grow your online network using LinkedIn,
Facebook and Twitter. A recent
by states that 1 in 6 workers have used social networks
to get hired.

Real Lives of the Long-Term Unemployed

4. Build Your Online Presence

Job searching is less about résumé submissions and more about being found
online. Create your own custom blog using WordPress or use for starters. Make sure you use your full
name, a positioning statement that captures your expertise and a summary of your
work experience. Create social profiles using the same positioning as your
website and cross-link your properties. By writing blog posts and updating your
social status routinely, recruiters will find you when they are looking to hire
for a position. As long as your profiles are connected to what you’re passionate
about, you will attract the right jobs and repel the wrong ones.

(MORE: Black
Friday 2011: By the Numbers

5. Create Your Own Marketing Campaign

You need to stand out if you want a job, and there are new strategies you can
use to get an employer’s attention without having to submit a résumé. For
instance, Matthew Epstein created a custom website that will appeal to Google, the
company for which he wants to work. You can also create a video résumé that
communicates who you are, what you do and what makes you different. There are
nearing 17,000 video résumés on YouTube, but only
a few
really stick out. You can also create targeted advertising campaigns
using Facebook Ads and Google AdWords in order to get your website right in
front of specific employers.

8 More Tips to Land Your Dream Job

Dream Job Tip #1

Target specific positions at specific companies. This is going to require you to do some legwork. You’re going have to make some phone calls, do some reading, and maybe even become a bit of a Facebook or LinkedIn snoop. Figure out what position it is that you want. Even if there’s already someone in that position, identifying what it is will help you as you develop your resume and your job pitch.

Dream Job Tip #2

Forget geographic limitations. If you’re single and don’t have kids, you’ve got a lot more flexibility than the guy with an infant son and a wife. If you really want to land that dream job, there’s a good possibility you’re going to have to go somewhere else to do it. For example, if you want to work in finance, you’re probably going to need to go to New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. If you want to work in Tech, Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham have been hot for the past few years. If you’re willing to take a job in Alaska or Texas, you’re more likely to get hired.

Dream Job Tip #3

Learn to master the interview. If you’re one of the lucky ones that gets an interview, you need to make it perfect. Dress to succeed. Have a positive attitude. Develop nonverbal communications skills like mirroring and matching. Beyond all of that, however, you need to be honest and authentic. Employers know when someone who’s fresh out of school is embellishing. Be honest about your limitations, but then demonstrate your desire to overcome them by working hard.

Dream Job Tip #4

Don’t beg. You don’t need a job. You need a few basic things like food, water, and shelter. But you don’t need a job. If a company isn’t the right fit even though it seems like your dream job, it’s time to move along.

Dream Job Tip #5

Ask questions. Gather all of the information you can. This goes for before, during, and after the interview. Don’t ask questions about benefits or pay on the first interview; if it’s truly your dream job, those things will work themselves out later on. Get the interviewer to talk as much as possible, and consider taking notes.

Dream Job Tip #6

Don’t make assumptions.  You might get the impression from the start of the interview that the position has already been filled, and that the interviewer is just going through the motions. You might be dead wrong. On the other hand, the position could be filled, and the candidate could fail within a few weeks. You want to be next on the list.

Dream Job Tip #7

Don’t be afraid to take an internship. Because of the lagging job market, the fact is that your dream job might just already be filled. That doesn’t mean you give up; you need to stay as close to that dream job as you can. Consider doing an unpaid internship in order to build up significant experience, and maybe even get your foot in the door when a position does open up.

Dream Job Tip #8

Rely on your network. Your professional network is probably pretty small when you’re still in school, but it’s growing. Talk to those professors with whom you have rapport about identifying leads. Ask for introductions to key players that they may know. Get your name out there by connecting with your network via social media. LinkedIn has led to more than one recent graduate getting a dream job offer.

Getting your dream job takes patience, but more than that it takes dedication. Don’t let yourself languish in a dead-end position while you wait for a dream job to open up. Chances are that, by the time it does, you will have lost that passion. Stick to it, and don’t stop until you’ve got the job you want.

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