Getting a job of your dreams might be easier than you think. Apply these five hacks and see for yourself.
Study after study has showed that being satisfied and happy at a job is paramount for a healthy, productive and long life. In other words, if you’re miserable at a job, then other areas of your life will suffer as well: personal life, health, spirituality, family, friends, etc.
Here are the 5 Hacks that will help you to get your dream job:
- Write a book
- Create a strong web presence
- Boost your LinkedIn profile
- Speak at a conference
- Take a MOOC (Massive open-online course)
You can use these five hacks to get the job of your dreams in pretty much any industry or field. And most of them will cost you nothing or close to nothing!
Of course, any of these hacks are useless if you don’t know what your dream job is. If you are not sure, then before reading any further, answer these questions:
- How much money do you want to make in a year or an hour?
- How much maximum commute can you tolerate (e.g., 30min, 1hr)?
- Do you like a certain area of your city?
- Do you want to work with certain technologies or in a particular industry?
- What kind of benefits do you want to have (ideally)?
Go crazy with these questions, let your fantasies go wild… yet remain realistic, otherwise you won’t believe it’s possible.
We are not separate people when we go to work and come back from it. We cannot separate our jobs from the rest of our lives. The quality of your job and its factors are in direct proportion to your happiness and physical and mental health.
So let’s start with my favorite hack.
1. They Laughed at Me When I Published My First Book—But Their Laugh Changed to Amazement When I Published Nine of Them!
This one is an obvious suggestion from the person who published nine books. However, you don’t need to write a full-blown, 400-page volume published by a reputable tech publisher like Apress or Penguin.
Just write a short mini-book, as I call them. Then self-publish it.
Do something like a report in a 30 to 50 page range. Or in the 80 to 100 page range, if you’re an overachiever. You can do it in a single weekend. In fact, there are many people who can teach you how to “write a book in a single weekend”—just google this phrase.
Or if you don’t have your weekends free, then write a little bit everyday. Anyone can write 300–500 words per day. It takes me about half-an-hour to do so. The more you write the faster it’ll be.
I have a more casual strategy—8-week product plan, which you can download at 8WeekProduct.com.
Reading blog posts is good, but watching video courses is even better because they are more engaging.
A lot of developers complained that there is a lack of affordable quality video material on Node. It's distracting to watch to YouTube videos and insane to pay $500 for a Node video course!
[End of sidenote]
When it comes to picking a topic, you have two options:
- Write something you already know: you won’t spend time learning and researching a subject, and most likely this is something related to your field of work.
- Write something you want to learn: this will require more time due to additional research, but you’ll get the benefit of the beginner to overcome the knowledge curse.
Most people only see the option #1 and it’s a mistake. Consider option #2 as well. Hey, even if it’s outside your field of work, maybe you can synergize new ideas (marketing + golf = marketing for golfers).
Don’t forget to mention your book everywhere appropriate: resume, your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc… all your web properties… and speaking of web properties.
2. Secrets of a Strong Web Presence
You must be on the first page of Google results when people search by your name. The only exceptions are people with very common names like Chris (first name) Paul (last name).
In this case, dominate the results for [your name] + [field of work / profession]. For example, I crash it with “Azat node”. (It helps that there are at least six different spellings of my first name.)
Or, change your name. Just kidding— it’s too painful to update your gmail account everywhere. :-)
How to do it? Here are some of the suggestions:
- Create a website with good meta tags so Google can index you properly.
- Write articles on your blog. Don’t tell me you ain’t got one yet. And no, Medium, or Tumblr don’t count as blogs.
- Write posts on popular blogs that backlink to your site. Most of them are happy to accept good content from new authors. The key here is a good or, even better, great content.
- Make your social media profiles public. Google often ranks them higher than websites, because of the higher trust to the social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Connect your Google + to your website. What? You don’t have G+? Create it now!
Now that you’ve created some web presence, it’s a good time to pay more attention and groom the one website that is used more than anything by companies, their HR and recruiters.
3. Boost Your LinkedIn Profile To Knock Socks Off Of Your Interviewers
I seldom ask or get asked for traditional resumes anymore.
They still have a place, especially, if the organization is more formal like a university or big corporation. So, get a nice resume on LoftResume.com and keep it in the Dropbox in case they ask. (Dropbox is a cloud-storage service that enables quick sharing.)
But don’t put all your how into the resume. The LinkedIn profile is the name of the game now. It’s like having a live, living, and interactive resume. The recruiters use LinkedIn for the search, and they love that the social proof on LI is hard to tamper with (unlike a traditional resume).
This is how you can improve your chances of getting your dream job with the boosted LinkedIn profile:
- Ask for recommendations from your old colleagues and bosses. Reciprocate recs with them. Do it now. Keep asking them until they send you their recommendation or “unfriend” you (it happened to me once; I guess that co-worker didn’t like me that much).
- Write full descriptions for each place you worked at. And treat your LI as a resume, but assume that everything is public. For this reason be very honest (as you always should be).
- List your degrees and other accomplishments.
- Go on an endorsement spree: endorse others so they can reciprocate with you.
- Make your profile public, if you haven’t done so already. Because there’s nothing worse, as an interviewer, than looking at an candidate’s empty or hidden profile (What is he/she hiding? Hmm?).
- Put a nice professional photo (no cats and looking-away photos, pleeeeaaaaseeee). But don’t overdo professionalism by dressing yourself in a suit, if your field is typically casual.
Get someone else to look at your LI profile for typos and suggestions. Make the edits. Don’t just say “Oh yes, but I like it that way”.
If you are a perfectionist, then you can even hire a consultant to improve your LinkedIn profile and resume.
You don’t have to make all the changes at once. It’s an on-going process.
The next hack is probably the most time consuming, but it’s one of the most beneficial hacks!
4. How To Speak t a Conference
This will require a bit more luck and effort than writing a self-published book, but it’s worth the trouble. Most conferences have a call for speakers a few months before the registration (which is a few months before the event). Sign up for newsletter in your fields or opt-in for the conference updates.
As an added bonus, most conferences record the talks on video so you’ll have links to paste to your social media profiles and website (as a social proof and credibility booster). Also, conferences usually pay for your ticket (duh!), and sometimes for flights, hotels, food and then even (as you become a more prestigious speaker) for the talks itself.
All you have to do to get accepted is to come up with a sexy title and a few-sentence description. This is your proposal. Then comes the worst part of this hack, which is waiting.
In my humble opinion, your waiting for the decision is the worse thing, because you have little to no control over it. So, getting the speaking gig is the game of numbers. Just like online dating or college grants: the more you send out, the higher you’re chances are.
You can hire a virtual assistant (VA) to find conferences and fill out their Call For Speakers forms. Just make sure your topic is super cool and you write an awesome description that fits conferences’ demands really well.
You don’t have to wait for the formal submission. In fact, I got to talk at InfoQ in NYC by emailing one of the members of the conference board. Be creative!
So you can reach out to the organizers directly before the official submission. This will put you ahead of the competition. It helps if you already have an established relationship with the organizers (like I did):
- You can volunteer to help them
- You can send them your articles
- You can send them your books
- You can meet them in-person at a meetup or another conference
- You can engage them on social media, forums, email groups, etc.
After your proposal is accepted, make sure your presentation is flawless.
The last hack is the most rewarding of all because you not only improve your chances, but you also learn something relevant!
5. Are You Getting Behind in Your Field of Work? Take a Massive Open-Online Course (MOOC)
Taking a MOOC (pronounced /muːk/) is not only good for getting a job of your dreams. But it’s also great for keeping up with the your trade; sharpening your saw.
Most platforms like Coursera and Udacity offer certificates which you must plug into your LinkedIn profile.
Personally, I love MOOCs even better than live in-person courses. Here are my whys:
- You pay way less, even nothing, but I pay ~$50 for the verified track just to support Coursera!
- You get an order of magnitude better faculty (Ivy League!) than your nearby community college.
- You can watch videos in the comfort of your home without wasting time on commute.
- You can speed up or skip obvious-to-you parts or replay parts that you didn’t understand. Compare that to sitting in a class where some students ask the same questions you know the answers to, or other students ask questions way over your head.
- You get to connect, collaborate with other students from all over the world, not just with the local bunch.
Overall, MOOCs are great. I’m not sure if their business model is sustainable. I think major universities use them as a marketing tool to lure real and paying students. Therefore, take advantage of the MOOC and their great information now.
An alternative to MOOCs are skill classes offered at Udemy, General Assembly, Hack Reactor, Skill Share and others. They are great for learning new skills!
Let’s summarize the five hacks to getting your dream job.
Who Else Wants To Live a Good Life?
There are more hacks to getting a great job, but these five should make you stand out above average.
Remember, the goal here is not to become a perfect candidate. Thinking like that will only make you procrastinate more: “Oh, someday I’ll write a book, but not now.”
The goal is to be better than any or most of the other candidates the company interviews right now. And they need to hire now, not a few months or years from now.
The best thing is when you are perceived as way better than other candidates. This will give you a better position to negotiate your salary, stocks, title, but it’ll also jump start your first few weeks at a new place. The weaker candidates will get less leeway, less responsibility and authority, even when the title and the position are the same.
If you apply ONLY to the open positions on the companies’ websites or job boards—it’s too late. By the time the job is posted there, you have to compete with bazillions of other candidates. And some of them might be better than you!
You need to get in before the opening is posted online… even better, create the position for yourself!
For this reason, invest in your future, and become someone companies chase to hire. Make them come to you, instead of you applying for their positions.
What are your thoughts, experiences and hacks on landing a dream job?
Microsoft MVP | Book and Course Author | Software Engineering Leader
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