Working as a recruitment consultant, one gets to meet a lot of people who want to land a dream job. While they may be able to deliver the goods on this dream job, more often than not the are unqualified – at least in the traditional sense – for the position they want to apply for. There is little chance they would even land up the first round of interviews. More often than not, we tell them to be realistic. But many have their minds set – they want that design job at India’s most well-known design firm, even though they are engineers by training. I know many science graduate who want to be developing cutting edge technology.
If you are among them, here is a way to help you land that dream job in 6 months from now. It is not easy – you will have to be truly dedicated to pursuit of your dream – but it will land you an interview for the dream job and give you a chance to showcase your skills.
Recruitment agencies will not tell you this, but the requirements for most jobs are surprisingly negotiable. Companies are looking for people who can solve the very specific problems they face – all other qualifications that a candidate has are secondary. But since they are flooded with applications when they have a job opening, they have to find ways to keep the numbers negotiable. The best way to do this is apply filter criteria like “5+ years job experience”, “Graduate from a tier 1 institute”, etc. It is a way of saying that we do not want to spend our time evaluating people who have no idea what they are doing or have not shown a certain aptitude for success yet. If you can prove to the company that you are capable of solving their problems, they will ignore all other factors – but you will not be able to do this through the regular job application channels.
So, how do you prove this without having the right qualifications? Well, you do so by doing the job before you get the job. But before you get there you will have to make sure an opening is available.
Step 1: Identify a dream job that is open for hiring
If you are dreaming of job that no one is hiring for, then this method is not going to work for you. Scan the job portals, use you contacts, and zero in on a job that is open for hiring. More often that not, multiple people work on a similar role in a large company – and there is always a churning of people resulting in regular opening for the job in question. Unless, of course, you are gunning for a leadership position where the number of roles available are limited and you will have to wait till you are sure a opening for the role is about to hit the job market. Let us say, for arguments sake and because this is usually the case based on our experience, that the role you are gunning for is one that has an opening every few months – if not weeks – and is with a large company. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
The experience required for the job is close to the amount of experience you have. A little less experience is okay, but not too low. For example, with an experience of 3 years, do not shortlist a role that has a requirement for 7-10 years, but you can apply to a job which has a requirement for 3-5 years even if you have just a year under your belt.
Do not shortlist a job where the education level is way off your own – for example with a graduate degree one can land a job requiring an MBA, but not one that requires a PhD.
Most important of all – make sure you ca actually DO the job you are gunning for. If you are going to need intensive training to perform the duties, then you are dreaming of the wrong job Get the required training and acquire the skillsets needed, then comeback here.
Step 2: List the job responsibilities
Once you have identified the company and the job you want to apply for, make a list of everything you would be doing if you landed that job. As you make the list of everyday tasks your dream job calls for, mark out the tasks you can carry out right now – without actually landing the job. For example, you may not be able to analyze the sales data unless you have some confidential information, but you could carry out a survey of target group to find out what they need.
Step 3: Do the job
Now that you have identified the dream company and the responsibilities that go with it – do a project that proves that you can already do most of them. For example, if you want to be a website designer – look at a website your company of choice has designed, identify areas of improvement, make a list of suggestions that will improve the user experience – even go ahead and redesign the website. Remember not to choose a project that is too small, but also don’t go for something that will take forever to finish.
If you think this cannot work, here is an example of someone who landed a dream job this way: David Rogier. He wanted a product management position at Evernote and as his pre-interview project he interviewed 23 customers. Based on his research he wrote 10 slides about how the product could be improved. He submitted it all to Evernote CEO and received a response in under 30 minutes!
Step 4: Submit your project
This is fairly straightforward for a smaller company. Send your project to the CEO and it will be shared to the right people internally. The situation gets tricky with behemoths like Amazon and Microsoft. Not everyone will know everyone else in their department. You will have to do some digging and find out who would be hiring for the job you are looking for – and then send in the project to them.