5 Ways to Take Charge of Your Career and Land the Job You Want

Apr 01, 2014 -

As much as you wish it would, the perfect job isn’t going to find you and toss itself upon a silver platter. If you want to achieve your ideal career, you have to engage in techniques that’ll catapult you towards it.

Read on to discover the five ways you can become proactive and prepared while taking charge of your career ambitions.

1. Educate yourself

You claim you want a certain industry career, but can you prove it? Be willing to walk the walk by tuning into podcasts and subscribing to relevant blogs. See what professional organizations and learning seminars you can join.

Your resume may not reflect any jobs that directly pertain to your ideal career, but showing off to hiring managers that you’re proactive enough to educate yourself may be more impressive anyway.

2. Mentor with meaning

You’ve heard about the importance of a mentor, and you’ve thought about getting one, you just… um…

It’s normal to feel hesitant about approaching a mentor; after all, you likely respect and admire their achievements. But the hardest part is asking. (Click here to tweet this thought.) With an insightful and humbled approach, the worst that can happen is getting turned down.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be in the same time zone to connect. In fact, people in other states and cities might be more willing to help you out because if you live somewhere else, you pose less of an employment threat.

LinkedIn is a great tool for connecting you to the professionals within your desired field. Even if you can’t meet in person, you can still message one another and gain an insider’s perspective on the job climate, fair pay and common misconceptions.

3. Volunteer

Perhaps you can’t land your dream job right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t interact with it. Reach out to a local company within your desired field and see if you can volunteer your services in exchange for a widened industry experience and education.

Not only can these informal internships add some weight to your resume, but they’ll also connect you with the movers and shakers in the industry. Just think how much more your name will stand out in a pile of resumes when their next job opening comes around. And even if it never does, your time spent volunteering doubles as networking for leads to jobs beyond that specific company.

4. Dust off that resume

In addition to adding these new efforts to your resume, you might also want to tweak the details of your past jobs. Say, for example, that your dream is to work as a grant writer, but up until this point, you’ve only worked at completely unrelated catering and event jobs. Seems like a huge disconnect right? With a little creativity, maybe not.

 Continuing with this example, being a grant writer requires you to understand specific demands and meet deadlines while paying close attention to details. Who’s to say that as an event assistant, you didn’t meet client’s demands within their timelines while paying attention to details? The key is to honestly craft your resume so those natural connections to your dream career are made clear.

5. Update more than your look

The old saying “dress for the job you want” still applies in today’s modern world. Be willing to take out those piercings and steam a suit if it’ll get you one step closer to the job you want. But don’t stop there.

It’s also a good idea to update your attitude. Be more proactive and hungry when it comes to developing your skills. Ask your boss to meet with you and discuss your options for internal development and growth. The job you have now may not be ideal, but if you make the most of it, you can turn it into a powerful catalyst toward your future career.

What other steps can you take to take charge of your career ambitions?

Kelly Gregorio writes about workplace trends and tips while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a provider of merchant cash advances. You can read her daily business blog here.