Imagine you are sitting at your desk, your boss just complimented you on your last project, you’re sipping coffee and you feel good.
The phone rings and it is an HR recruiter. They’ve seen your profile on Linkedin and think you would be perfect for a job they’ve got.
You skip along to the interview, where you discover it is your dream job. It’s also more money and a shorter commute – what a result.
You get an offer at the end of the interview and are working there in no time.
Sounds great doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, in reality that happens about as often as buying the winning lottery ticket. You don’t want to bet your career on it.
You can still get the dream job
Getting your dream job is within your reach, it just isn’t going to find you and then land in your lap.
The first thing you need to decide is what you’re aiming for. Sometimes that’s the hard part. If you’re stuck there, get a coach or book yourself out of the office for some focused time to research and think.
Then build your bridge
Once you’ve zeroed in on what the next job could be, picture a bridge – whatever type you’d like; modern, wooden, ornate or industrial – that’s the bridge for you.
Place yourself, in your current job at one end of this bridge, and then imagine that shiny new job you want at the other end of it.
Now we need to get you on the bridge.
Put a time frame on it. How long would you be happy to continue in your current role? That’s how long your bridge is. Give yourself a deadline and work toward that.
When I use this in coaching, we draw out the bridge, long or short, and start writing in the things that need to happen to get you there.
Jot down the research you want to do, write in people you could meet for coffee that can help you. Mark down the networking or things outside of work that could move you closer to that new job.
This is the place where you can outline your plan, build your network and feel confident that when you get to the end, they’ll hire you.
Get started now
You can improve the time you spend on this bridge by using your current job. That’s the bit people often overlook.
They think researching a new job starts when you apply or get an interview.
I was coaching a woman who worked for several years in a senior job at a UK Broadcaster. She wanted to change directions and move into the education. She thought she had identified the kind of role she wanted, but knew little about it.
We discussed schools where she had connections that could give her more insight. She wanted to understand what qualifications she needed and which schools had this specific role.
Then she got stuck. She said she couldn’t imagine why they’d want to talk to her, she was just another Mum at the school gate.
She had her Mum blinders on. I asked why people talked to her in her job now and the answer was easy, her company had a great reputation and she was well known in the industry.
A classic example of why you want to get on the bridge while you’re still in this job.
I asked if she called up, as the professional person she is, to express an interest in chatting with the Head of the Department, how would they respond? She took off the blinders and realized that of course they’d say yes.
Use your current reputation and contacts to gather information. Use your professional resources to learn more. Use your current network to find new connections.
You’re not cheating, you’re exploring
It is not cheating on your company to be on that bridge. You are still doing a great job, you are still committed to your current role.
This is a time to gather information and have a casual conversation with people who are on that other shore.
Linkedin has made it easy to find someone to have coffee with, someone that is already in that company or industry you want to go to.
Ask how they like it. Ask how they got their job and who else they think you should have coffee with.
As you understand what they are looking for, what that company values and what the people are like, you’ll feel much more prepared to move forward.
Walking down that bridge is motivating
Even if you are moving inches toward the new job, it’s exciting. You are looking forward and gathering your skills, knowledge and confidence as you go.
You’ll be eliminating the dead ends – companies and jobs that looked good at a distance but you’ve discovered aren’t for you.
You’ll be tightening your focus on the ones that do interest you. In your exploring, you’ll have a chance to think about why you might be an interesting prospect for them.
You’ll have made a few contacts in those companies and you are poised to hear about job opportunities before they are ever made public.
Don’t wait until you’re desperate, disappointed or bored. Take a first step and put yourself on the bridge to your dream job. Once you are on it, it’s just one step at a time until you hit your own job lottery.
A few posts to help you:
If you need some help figuring out what the next job might be, try these:
Is it time to change jobs – 3 questions to ask yourself