Previously Posted on Trello by Hilary Hilary Gridley
This week we’re reposting an article that we’ve recommended a thousand times to our peer mentees.
Have you ever seen someone’s job title and wondered, how did they get that job? Or, how did they even know jobs like that existed?
Some career paths are straightforward and well-publicized. If you want to be a doctor/lawyer/consultant, you follow the steps, get the right internships and degrees, and there you are. And if you don’t want to do those things? This might seem like your only option:
Our dream career doesn’t have to be a giant question mark. You can apply a simple structured process to learn about, then land, the kind of job that won’t bore people when you talk about your work at parties — a job you’ll find genuinely fulfilling and will also pay your bills! All it takes is a little scrappiness and a love of Trello.
Start Your Dream Job Search In 5 Steps
This is the exact process I used to figure out where I wanted to take my career, successfully pitch a job at NIKE that didn’t even exist, and then use that experience to transition from my nonprofit background to a job in tech (I’m currently at Dropbox).
Collect data to understand the market.Look for patterns to refine your posting prowess.Upgrade your resume and make it worth a second look.Get the experience now (even if you don’t have the job).Land that dream job.
Take as much inspiration as you’d like from screenshots of my actual Trello boards, as well as real emails I sent with templates you can use. The job of your dreams is just a few steps away!
1) Collect Data
The purpose of this step is source as much data as you can about available jobs that sound interesting and to get a macro view of the job market. It is not to find the specific job listings to which you want to apply. Most people skip this step, which is a mistake! You might pass up a career that you could love simply because you have preconceived ideas or inherent biases about what different jobs entail, what you are qualified to do, or how to talk about your experience.
Start by making a Trello list called “Company List.” Create cards for companies and organizations you find interesting or are curious about. Come up with as many as you can — at least 30. If you’re having trouble, here are some resources:
The Muse company profilesFortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work ForBloomberg Businessweek’s 50 Companies to WatchCrain’s Best Places to Work65 Companies with Corporate Innovation LabsFast Company’s Most Innovative CompaniesAngel List job collections
Now, make another list called “Job Research.” Look up the open jobs at the companies you’ve listed in the last step. Any time you see a job that looks even remotely interesting, make a card for it and add it to the list.
Copy the entire job description and paste it on the card with a link to the listing. It doesn’t matter if you’re qualified, or where they’re located, or if the open position is too senior or junior, or even if they get filled before you finish the process. You’re going to aim to save 40+ job descriptions by the end of this step.
If you’ve exhausted the listings from your target companies, you can also scroll through curated job boards and find more jobs there. Here are some I like:
Next, go through your Job Research list and start moving the cards up and down so that the jobs that sound most interesting to you are closer to the top and the jobs that sound least interesting to you are closer to the bottom.
2) Look For Posting Patterns
Now comes the fun part! Look through the cards and try to find patterns among the companies and positions that appeal most to you. Here are some frameworks for evaluating them:
Do the jobs cluster in certain industries?Are there certain keywords that pop up in a lot of the job descriptions?Are the companies at a certain growth stage or size?Do they tend to have similar values or reputations?Do the jobs tend to be more or less cross-functional?Do they focus more on strategy or implementation? Or both?What skills do they require?
Make some new lists in Trello and use them as different buckets to sort the job cards. You can try a few different categories before you get it right. For example, I first sorted mine by industry, but that didn’t feel quite right to me. It left some jobs out, and didn’t capture what I found interesting about certain jobs.
To continue with this article head to Trello.