How to find your dream job - a systematic process

Don't settle for a job you hate. Use these three tips to find your dream job.

If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable. - Seneca

There are people who have amazing jobs they love. And many that don’t. You should aim for option A.

Deciding which jobs to apply for is not easy, but life is too short to work a job you hate. You are looking for a great job that will improve your career trajectory, which isn’t easy to find.

The first email in this series states that “Your next job search can change your life.” This is true.

However, the exact job that you get doesn’t really matter. Put another way — it doesn’t matter if you go to Harvard or Yale or Princeton — most big decisions will make a positive impact in your life, as long as a decision is made.

Make sure this job is in the Ivy league — but don’t worry if it isn’t exactly your dream job (yet). Look to work for a world-class company that fits any (ideally all) of the following criteria.

  • Has a mission you believe in
  • Is growing fast
  • Has a great team to learn from
  • Is in the right location

Take out a fresh sheet of paper, and write down the following:

What is most important to me in a company?

What do I need my ideal company to have?

What can I compromise on?

Once you know what you want in an employer, it’s time to look for a job.

Only apply for jobs that excite you.

All will work out if you follow this one rule.

It’s simple — if you’re not excited about a job opportunity, you won’t be willing to go the extra mile to get the job. If you don’t go the extra mile, you will not get the job.

The market for excellent jobs is too competitive to follow the traditional application process. This isn’t a bad thing, because 99% of people do the exact same thing — which means you just need to be slightly better to stand out.

Here's how to find jobs that you are excited about

  • List companies whose products you love.
  • List companies you think you’d like to work for.
  • List people you know that work for great companies.

Once you have a list of companies, visit their websites directly and look for job opportunities that could be a good fit. List all the potential jobs in the following spreadsheet.

Expanding your company search

If you didn’t find relevant opportunities using the previous method, you will need to expand your search. Find similar companies to target by distilling each currently listed company down into a few sentences.

For example if you listed Google, write down the following qualities.

  • Innovative products in technology field
  • High salaries
  • Mature, steadily growing

Established Similar companies in this category could be Facebook, Amazon, or LinkedIn. For each of your top companies, write down 5 similar ones. Visit these companies' career pages, and look for intriguing job postings.

Search unique sources for job opportunities

If you still can’t find great opportunities on similar company’s websites — it’s time to start looking at job boards. View our comprehensive list of job boards and employment resources here: The ultimate list of job search sites.

Job boards are great — but a company first/job later approach will provide better results with less competition.

Keep finding potential jobs, and add every job that looks promising to your trusty spreadsheet. After a few hours (yes, it should take a long time), go through that spreadsheet and find the top 5 jobs that you’re really excited about.

Why just 5 jobs? The targeted approach wins To be successful in a job search you need to be a heat-seeking missile, not a grenade.

A focused approach provides the best chance for success.

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