Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in Career Insights | 0 questions

Did you know that the average person spends more than 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime? If you’re going to dedicate this much time to anything, it’s worth making sure that you make the right decisions when it comes to finding jobs. If you’re wondering if a dream job really exists, this guide should prove useful. Here are some practical tips to help you decide what you want to do, find vacancies and improve your chances of landing a job you won’t mind dedicating thousands of hours to over the coming years.

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What do you want to do?

Take yourself back to those carefree days when you were a child and people used to ask you what you wanted to do when you were older. What did you used to say? Now, return to the present day, and ask yourself the same question. It doesn’t matter that you’re already a grown-up. It’s never too late to change careers or take a different route. It’s good to have ambitions and aspirations, even if you haven’t taken the most direct path to where you want to go. Think about how you want to spend your days, what you enjoy doing and where your skills and strengths lie.

In some cases, the qualifications you have will affect your ability to apply for jobs, for example, if you want to become a doctor or a vet. However, just because you don’t have the relevant qualifications now, doesn’t always mean that you have to give up on career dreams. It may be possible to pursue training and further study later in life, or there may be other options that are similar but don’t have such a stringent list of requirements. If you always wanted to be a nurse, for example, but you don’t have a nursing degree, you can still use your attributes and make use of your caring nature and people skills by volunteering or looking into support roles.

It can be confusing and sometimes, distressing if you don’t have clear goals. Some people know what they want to do from being a toddler, and they achieve their career goals by the time they reach the age of 25. In most cases, however, this is not the way life pans out, so don’t panic if you don’t really know what you want to do. Use your interests, passions, and skills to give you ideas, and look for roles, which appeal to you. You may find that you love your new job or doing something you don’t enjoy gives you a clearer perspective on what you want to do next. Every experience can teach you something, and you never really stop learning, even when you’ve been working for as long as you can remember.

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Searching for jobs

When you have some ideas about what you want to do, it’s time to start searching for suitable roles and vacancies. In the past, it was common to go around businesses and ask about potential openings, but times have changed. Almost 50 percent of people use their mobile phone to search for jobs, and 79 percent of job-seekers utilize social media as part of their job hunt.

When you’re looking for a job, you can go about it in two ways. You can be open-minded and adopt a scatter approach, sending out applications for a range of different roles. Or you can tailor your search to find jobs that match the industry in which you want to work, your salary expectations and your preferred location. Using pages like, you can narrow your options and find vacancies that are suited to the exact job you want and your skill set.

You can adjust the criteria to match your level of expertise and your experience. If you know what you want to do, the second option is likely to be much more effective. There’s no point in wasting time trawling through jobs in sales, healthcare or journalism if you want to be an executive assistant. In contrast, if you’re not sure what your next move should be, casting your net a little wider could prove beneficial. You may come across vacancies that sound interesting, and you can learn more and consider putting in an application if you match the person requirements and you have the right skills and qualifications.

In many industries, it pays to have experience, and sometimes, it’s more important to find openings that offer you the chance to get a foot in the door than actually getting a job. If you want to work in TV or you’re desperate to be a magazine editor, for example, searching for entry-level posts and internships may be a better option than holding out for a long-term contract at a higher level. In these fields, there are often opportunities to move up the ladder quickly, but the hardest part is to actually climb onto that bottom rung.

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Getting a job application ready

There has never been a tougher time to try and get a job. Competition is fierce, especially in fields like medicine and business. For a corporate job, the average number of applications is around 250. Of these applications, it’s common for only 5 or 6 people to be called in to have an interview. When you read statistics like this, it may seem like it’s virtually impossible to find a job you love, but don’t give up or lose hope. If you understand how the processes work and you know what employers are looking for, you can vastly improve your chances of being successful.

If you’re applying for a job in a competitive industry, the first thing to make sure is that you tick all the boxes when it comes to the essential requirements on the specification. If you’re going up against tens of other applications who all have qualifications and experience, and you don’t fit the bill, you’re not going to make it past the first phase. If you haven’t got the right skills for that job, move on and consider a change of tack. Either you can get yourself to the stage where you are ticking every box, or you can search for roles that require less experience. It may be that you’re aiming too high, and this is why you’re not getting anywhere.

If you do have the relevant expertise for the jobs you’re applying for, the next step is to ensure that your resume does the business. If you’ve put something together in a few minutes or you’re sending out a generic resume for every job, you may be selling yourself short. Make sure your resume is up to date and consider how it could set you apart from other candidates. Have you detailed training programs and provided evidence of your skills?

Can you offer something different to other people, like speaking other languages? Always have the job description with you when you’re preparing an application. Your resume should be relevant to each job you apply for. You may need to tweak it slightly to highlight your strengths for that particular role. Avoid waffling and including information for the sake of making the application longer. Your resume should be concise and punchy. Remember that an employer will probably spend less than a minute reading each application. If you are having trouble putting your resume together, take a look at articles like

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Interview tips

If you have managed to make it through the first round, and you get an interview, it’s important to give yourself the best chance of getting that job. Prepare thoroughly and make sure you’re aware of what’s going to happen and what you’ll be required to do. Many companies ask candidates to give a presentation or prepare a talk on a specified subject. This can be a daunting task at the best of times, and preparation is key.

Use software to create a presentation that is visually appealing and create some handouts for the panel. Practice what you’re going to say and make sure you stick to the brief and answer the questions. When you arrive at your interview, take deep breaths, and try and be optimistic and confident. Maintain eye contact when you’re speaking, and if you’re asked difficult questions, take your time to think about the response. Don’t write off your chances just because you may not have aced one answer. The chances are that if you found that question tough, so did the other candidates.

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If somebody asked you what your dream job was, what would you say? Sometimes, our dreams may not be attainable, but often, we can reach our goals with the right guidance. If you have aspirations to land a job, start taking steps now. You may not be the finished article yet, but it’s often possible to improve your chances of being the perfect candidate. Think about what you want to do, look for jobs in the right places, and make sure you’re confident about navigating your way through the application process.