The Ultimate Day Job – Still Looking? Elite Staffing Blog

What’s Your Dream Job?

Your dream job. Do you know what it is?

For many of us, our dream job is elusive—an ever-evolving target, like the proverbial Jell-O that can’t be nailed to the wall.

For others it’s been long settled, and we might imagine that every professional move they make is a deliberate wrung-step on a ladder to this professional goal.

Sometimes, dreams are realized while moving up the ladder of a particular company:

Ursula Burns started as a summer intern at Xerox in 1980. Twenty-nine years later (which also included some lateral moves inside the company), she was named CEO.

Sometimes people simply love the industry they are in and bounce around comfortably, learning at every turn:

Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas took his first restaurant job at age 12. In 1950, during the onset of the Korean War, he volunteered for the Army before he was drafted so he could specifically ask to attend their cooking school at Fort Benning—he became a mess sergeant in charge of serving 2,000 troops every day. Later, he worked for Kentucky Fried Chicken, inventing the use of the KFC “bucket” for serving chicken. Then Thomas created his own dream job: starting Wendy’s, which he was the CEO of for 32 years.

We’ll assume that CEO was Burns and Thomas’ dream job. But of course not everyone wants to be a chief executive. Not everyone wants to be a doctor or a lawyer or an astronaut or the president, either.

Which begs the question: does your dream job exist? Is it an actual job title like “director of sales” or is it an occupation like “certified aircraft mechanic” or “certified public accountant” or attorney? Or could it be even more specific: a certain job at a specific company or institution you respect, say, “Chairman of Disney Parks & Resorts”? (Imagine being in charge of Disneyland!)

For many of us, the definition of a dream job is, say, simply one where we get to pay our bills by doing what we love most: make music for a living, work with horses for a living, build things for a living, write for a living, design things for a living, be outside for a living, help people less-fortunate for a living…

The dream job is something the majority of us are still working to find. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 70% of Americans don’t like their current jobs.

But wait! That suggests that 30 percent of us have figured it out or are satisfied that we’re on the right track.

If you an ultimate professional goal yet, no need to get down on yourself—the realization of what Burns and Thomas really, really wanted to do professionally with the rest of their lives might not have hit them right away.

More real-world experience—maybe even the next book you read or job you take—will help you realize where your passions, skills and spirit perfectly meet the world of work and commerce.

Thirty percent of Americans have found their home in the world of work. For many of them, we’re sure, it was a process, too.

Best of luck!

Making Your Resume Stand Out

So many job hunters cross the final “T” on their resumes, breathe a massive sigh of relief and then regard it as a piece of art chiseled in marble—not to be touched until the next job needs to be added to it.

Resumes, however, should be treated less like museum pieces and more like “living documents.” The single most important tactic for making your resume stand out from the slush pile on the hiring manager’s desk is:

Customize them. Like cover letters, resumes need to be specifically targeted to the opening.

Most of us have a range of work experience, with some jobs more pertinent to an opening, some less. If you tweak, tailor and recast your resume to stress relevant experience, you will more likely stand out because inboxes at companies are filled with cookie-cutter resumes, and hiring managers quickly notice giveaways or “tells” that indicate that a resume is one-size-fits-all.

For example, does a warehouse manager want to hire a forklift operator with inventory experience who’s looking for a good warehouse job, or does he want to hire someone working on their real estate license at night who operated a hi-lo once when they worked a summer job at a box store? That’s the difference between a chiseled-in-stone resume and a “living document.”

A lot of us look at job openings and think to ourselves, “I could do that.” Customizing your resume puts your best foot forward, and almost automatically gets you past the first cut.

Other advice:

  • Bullet points make your resume more scannable. But give them consistent styling, either with full sentences that include periods as end punctuation (like these bullets) or shorter lines that do not have any end punctuation. Be consistent throughout the resume.
  • Start with the latest, greatest information (e.g.,) your completed training, professional accomplishments or recognition you’ve received, and the full range of tasks you have done in the course of your work life. Update regularly, before you forget.
  • Write to your accomplishments, not just your day-to-day tasks. Whenever it’s plausible to tie your performance to financial gain for your current or past employers, do so. Companies want to hire people who can make a difference for their bottom lines.
  • Edit the resume with empathy for the addressee. What are they looking for? What would give them confidence in you as a candidate?
  • Proofread it again. Because it’s easy to insert typos or other errors during the editing process, ask a friend or relative to review it, or at least give yourself a day away from it so you can look at it again with fresh eyes to catch mistakes in facts, grammar, formatting, spelling of proper nouns, etc.

We live in a specialized world. A good cover letter and a customized, mistake-free resume will separate you from the crowd as a serious candidate and give you the best chance at getting an interview.

This approach is more labor intensive. It might mean you apply for fewer jobs in the same period of time. But it will give you a better chance at the ones you’re most excited about.

Of course, if you can still play the numbers game—it just means more effort on your part to have the same number of irons in the fire.

Good luck!