I have over 40 employees at my company Sevenly. Of the six companies I've started – I have hired, fired, and interviewed over a hundred people. With Sevenly being such a popular startup, we receive applications literally every single day. But how do you get past the noise and into the career you've always dreamed of?

I believe the world's hiring processes are changing. We've moved from a traditional, “you need a degree in marketing to get a marketing job” mentality to more of a “you need experience or a portfolio to get a job” mentality. Sure a degree is great for some careers, but it's not nearly as critical as it once was.

4 Steps to Landing Your Dream Job

Show them how you'll pay for yourself:

I've only had person walk into an interview with a presentation explaining how she would pay for herself in the first 90 days. Long story short – she now works for Sevenly. CEO's, Directors, and Managers care about a few things: Ability, smarts, culture, and performance. If you have the ability, the smarts, and the culture, which many of us do – all that's left is proving you can generate enough revenue to pay for your salary.

Example: You want a job at Fab.com in their New York City marketing department. They post a job opening for a social media associate, you apply and you're asked to attend an interview. You present them with an in-depth, yet humble analysis of their current social media pages and strategies. With a tone that's curious and confident, not critical – you estimate if Fab would change strategy X and initiate strategy Y it could generate the company an extra $22,000 per month. Then, you ask, “If I could pull this off would you hire me?” If you meet the areas above, the answer will almost always be, yes.

So get out there. Do the math. Make a short compelling presentation. Prove that you're worth your weight.

Be Persistent, Not Annoying:

People email me all the time asking for a job. But few email to tell me how they can make Sevenly better. If you believe you can add value to a company let them know, often. Keep a check-in schedule. Maybe once per month, or every 45 days. But don't overstep, the people you're writing are likely busy. A helpful nudge of how you can offer value, is far greater than an annoying ask every few weeks.

Freelance & Intern Until You're Too Important:

15% of our staff started as freelancers or interns. These types of relationships give the employer a chance to “try before they buy”. It also becomes a time for you to build relationships and prove your value to the organization. If you can create a scenario where it would actually cost the company money or significant time to replace you – you'll likely find yourself hired.

Keep Being Bad Ass:

While you're waiting, get even more awesome. Take classes, internships, attend events, build relationships, read books, and even go work for their competitor. Today's managers are looking less for a degree and more for someone who's been fighting in the trenches.

Where do you want to work? How have you landed your dream job?


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20 thoughts on “4 Unusual Steps to Landing Your Dream Job

      • Kathleen says:

        I see from all of your posts that you are definitely NOT an idiot. You are very sensible with your advice. You may need an editor though. One more step could be added so that the name of the article reflects its true nature. I propose: 5. Take responsibility for your mistakes and strive to correct them quickly. No one is perfect, even in the business world. Having humility and a sense of humor about errors will make you seem less aloof and more likeable to your colleagues. (Or, change the dang title!)

  1. Lex says:

    I haven’t landed my dream job, but I’m desperately trying to figure out what I want to do in life and what I want that career to be. I have a degree BA in graphic design and the 15th of this month will be a year since I’ve finished school. I’m currently working at a job that I’m strongly starting to dislike, I’ve only been there 5 months, and I can’t see a future with this job. As each day goes by it feels as though I’m loosing my creativity, my skill sets and most of all myself. I’m praying for an answer but fear, more often than not, is getting in my way and causing me to be stagnant. I recently had this feeling that I would like to focus more on packaging/package design and I was thinking of maybe getting my Masters in packaging. After reading different articles I’m not so sure it would be a good idea but I completely lost on what to do because I don’t want to go through life job hopping and ending up in jobs that I hate. Honestly I’m just looking for some advice and some insight of what I could possibly do to not feel so miserable as the cliche post college grad trying to figure it out haha.
    Thanks!

    • Shaun Bell says:

      Lex, I feel the same way about my job. At least in my case, the job market has caused me to make compromises. I have been unable to make good career choices because I needed to eat, and was unable to choose internship and other “free labor” ways our current employment system has in place. That is my problem with the article… I am not among the fortunate few that lived under mom and dad’s dime while I attended school, and I could not intern. Maybe the intended audience of this are those that can, but while the article makes sense and probably reflects the current job market and the majority of mobile twenty-somethings, there are many people that can’t follow this advice. I feel as if there is a “generation gap” in the workforce and many have been caught on the wrong side.

    • Emily Fuentes says:

      Lex,
      I have found myself in a similar situation, where I need a better (read: full-time) job and while I like my current job, i have been doing the same thing for 3 years and desperately need something new as it is becoming stale for me. What I did was go back and finish my associates, then get help from the career services center at the school.
      I’d advise starting at the career services for your school. If you live too far away, at least call and see if they can refer you to someplace local. I also took an indepth career interest survey to get an idea of fields I hadn’t thought of. There are also skills & experience tests thay help give ideas. One of my friends is paying a company to do a two day indepth interest & skills survey to help her.
      If nothing else, it gives you something new to consider. Good luck!
      Emily

    • Lisa says:

      To Lex, I have a BA in integrative arts and I’ve been out of school for 11 years. I recommend you read “who moved me cheese?” It’s a great book that you’ll finish reading in an hour but it’ll help you get ovrr this hump. Good luck.

  2. Marlene says:

    Nice work Dale ! I actually handled my time of unemployment this way, it worked to land me my next job ! This article is excellent at hitting the nail on the head.

  3. Jesse Timm says:

    This is great, but what about someone like me who has almost no applicable work experience and is terrible at selling himself?

  4. Naomi says:

    We are giong to be looking to hire a GM soon, and after reading this I thought how useful the info is in reverse – so points for us to look for when hiring someone!

  5. Emma Bryant says:

    Hi Dale,
    Thank you for sharing these tips! Could you recommend any books to help people discover their dream jobs (or get on the right track once they have decided what it is they want to be), or maybe just books that helped you? 🙂
    I want to be a social entrepreneur & am not sure where to start.
    Thanks!

    • James says:

      Hi Emma,

      I couldn’t help but add an incredible book that helped me land my dream job overseas. “48 Days to the Work you Love” by Dan Miller & Dave Ramsey. An incredibly encouraging and motivating book! Also any videos with Jim Rohn! All the best in your search!

      -James

      • Emma Bryant says:

        Thank you so much, James! I was browsing the business section at Barnes & Noble tonight & noticed that title. 🙂 I’ll add it to my list! Thanks for the suggestions, take care.

  6. Devan says:

    Hey Dale!

    I stumbled upon your blog and ever since I cannot stop reading! Thank you for sharing advice, inspiration, and positivity! After struggling to find my “dream job” with a particular company or job title, I’ve decided to try and create it for myself. Do you have any suggestions for entrepreneurs just starting out? I have been a freelance designer for a few years and am enrolled in B-School (woot! woot!), but I would love to hear of any books, mentors, or advice that helped you out along the way!

    Thanks!!

  7. Christian Marple says:

    I have tried. My dream is to work for a company like yours or TOMS. But I never get a call back. I have worked in radio marketing and promotions for over 10 years. But companies rather hire someone who went to school for 4 years so they can bring the same ideas to the table as everyone else. I would of loved to gone to college, but when you look at either eating that week, or paying a 60,000 student loan… What would you pick?

    That’s why they call them DREAM JOBS because only in your dreams will you get a big company to look at you.

    • suzyhumanity says:

      The way I got my “foot in the door”, so to speak, with TOMS and others was by {as Dale mentioned above} offering to work essentially for free by doing intern work and freelance. I ended up becoming my campus’ TOMS Shoes representative back in the day {2008}, and before I knew it, TOMS was blowing-up, and I had a connection to the inside of the organization.

      Where is TOMS now? Global, in huge retail chains, and all over main-stream media and press. But they stayed the course to get there.

      What I hear when I read your words is utter defeat. I can understand how you feel like you may be running in circles, like a hampster on a wheel, when nothing seems to pan-out. But if something is truly important enough to you, you will not stop pursuing it. Ever. As Dale says, “have the courage to build your life around your answer” and if you’re worried and wondering about debt vs. eating, that worry “does nothing but steal your joy and keep you very busy doing nothing.”

      Best of luck in your dreams, and blessings as you go!
      Now is the time to press in…

  8. engracia castelo says:

    Hey Dale,
    Writing from the netherlands here is where I get my dream job without a degree.
    My story is that I was bored at the Uni so Ive decided to not finish and go abroad to find my dream job. I knew before that I want to work as sales manager. One night in november last year I opened my Email and there was the chance of my life”an internship as sales and account manager in amsterdam german speaker”I thought ohh wow the profile they are looking for matchs,so I applied had 3 interviews including skype etc. And some days after a call you got it. I didnt thought twice packed my things and left germany. After six month of gaining a lot experience and a lot of trainings it was time to start something new. A dutch start up started a recruiting campaign for german speaking account manager at the online job board I was working for and there was my second great chance in life. BUT they were asking for a degree, I had no degree but experience. So applied for the job and had my interview. The recruiters were super cool, I explained them why I have no degree and why Im the right one for the position. Unbelieveble but they gave an answer at the moment that they want ME. Oh Lord I was thinking, what the hell is going on? Working for the fastest growing dutch start up in the tourism sector,Me really me? Without a degree. From now on I know: you have to be professional, have experience, be open-minded full of ideas and be a fighter, you will get there. And my way is not finished yet after that I would like to be a Sales Agent and distributor for the angolan market in african ;). For companies in the beauty field who want to enter the Market. So Im still dreaming even more bigger than before.

    For you outthere a tip. Sometimes you need to walk alone if no one believes in you. Sometimes its enough if only you believe in yourself. Dont be afraid to failure, because this is a part from fighting. I lost so many things and Im still fighting. Keep you head up and walk.

    Lots of succes
    Engracia

  9. MichaelB says:

    These tips are actually unsual! Most list posts end up being a rehash of the same stuff in list form. An honest post title! On the internets!

    My dream is be an author and a video game designer, so I continue to apply to game companies and to write. Game schools were expensive and programming scared away my high school self (though it wouldn’t now), so I find myself in the situation of having a degree but not in the field and most companies looking for at least a year of professional experience. But like I said, I keep looking and I keep applying! I have to get creative about how to gain experience outside a degree or career, and there’s so many options it’s sometimes hard to know what will yield the ROI I want. But I never stop exploring and assesing.

    It was good to find this site. Your words are encouraging.

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