Carpe diem is a Latin expression translating as “seize the day.” The phrase became a part of pop culture as a result of the 1989 motion picture, “Dead Poet’s Society,” in which Robin Williams, playing the role of a teacher, utilizes the expression as a slogan to motivate his students to explore life and all of its possibilities. The expression has relevance not only to exploring broader life opportunities, but also employment opportunities.
Yes, you read that correctly. If your desire is to find yourself in a “dream job,” then you need a strategic plan for its attainment. One potential approach to follow, while not feasible for everyone, is a simple, yet inspired option if you are not under a time constraint to locate a position. While not every job seeker has the luxury of time, some do – for example, a woman planning to re-enter the work force in a year’s time when her youngest child enters the school system. Or, perhaps you are seeking a career transition and feel that your only window of opportunity is the period of time for which you are guaranteed unemployment benefits or severance pay. Whatever your circumstances, if you find yourself with a dream unfulfilled and time to pursue that aspiration, bear in mind the following tactics.
Determine where you will apply. Do your research and compile a list of potential employers, including the physical (street) addresses of the companies. If at all possible, determine also the person to whom you wish you target. Focus on those with authority to hire, not merely human resources personnel and other screeners of applicants. You may need to locate the person responsible for hiring interns. Although traditional, not every intern is a young adult pursuing an undergraduate degree. You, although a more seasoned job candidate, may wish to fill the company’s criteria for an internship position.
Craft a cover letter declaring your interest and the reason for your interest. If you are an atypical job candidate, with circumstances similar to those outlined above, your resume may not reflect what you can bring to the potential employer’s table. Therefore, a good, strong cover letter is needed, in which you should include your motivation for seeking such a position, and why you have chosen this particular time frame.
Ask up front to enter the company on a voluntary or part-time basis. While it may, at first glance, seem ludicrous to ask to work a few hours a day or for no pay, consider this:
- If you land the position, you will have gained first-hand experience in a job function, division, or industry of your choice. Rather than accept “the first thing that came along”, you will feel both empowered and enthused at having gained the opportunity that you’ve wanted: traits that will translate positively in terms of your job performance.
- You will acquire familiarity with the culture of the company, including its policies, procedures, expectations, and the interpersonal dynamics between employees and management.
- Should a permanent position open, you will already have been “on the scene,” as opposed to an external candidate. If the company makes a practice of posting available positions publicly, you will know about these before many other job seekers, and will be better positioned as a potential employee.
- You will have solid experience on your resume whereas before, you may have had little or no relevant experience. Even if a job within the company in which you are volunteering or working part-time does not pan out, you can use that experience to open other doors to new career paths. Highlight that experience on your resume, get a strong letter of recommendation from your immediate manager(s), and make all of that work for you in landing your dream job!