The Best Shortcut Is The Long Way Forward

By John Corcoran

There’s no shortcut to your dream career. Believe me, my clients and I have been looking for a shortcut for over 30 years.

In many cases the published job market will not contain your dream job. And, you probably found out already that your resume is not always your friend no matter how well written it is.

There are, however, proven strategies for you to use with confidence throughout your career. Committing to a proven strategy can actually be more predictable and certainly more rewarding than a shortcut. This strategy will prepare you for the ups and downs you will certainly encounter along the way.

What would this strategy look like?

  • Know where you are going. Have a vision of where you see yourself and your career. Dream big! I promise you that without knowing where you are going, you will never get that dream job.
  • The people closest to you are the ones to help you get there, and yet, very few if any can actually hire you. But they know industry leaders who can help you network and give you insights and advice about your dream job. People are very willing to give advice.
  • Once you start networking you open up the hidden job market. These jobs are not posted yet or ever. Many are filled within the organization or with referrals from employees.
  • Make sure you have stories that demonstrate your transferrable skills. These will be most valuable when meeting with these industry leaders.
  •  Develop a script outline. This outline will keep you focused on advice and insights about the industry. You want to stay far away from asking for a job. Also, you are not looking for “how to do your dream job,” but rather advice about the nature and culture of the business itself.

This is what a strategy should NOT look like:

  • Shoveling resumes out aimlessly hoping for a hit. This might be one of the biggest mistakes due to the fact that the internet and email allow us endless reach at no monetary costs. However, the cost of lost time and the sense of rejection is very expensive.
  • Calling and asking people if they know anyone who is hiring. This is fruitless on so many levels including, most people don’t keep a list of who is hiring. When connecting people for a job, we all make judgements about whether it would be a good match or not, yet none of us, including myself, are qualified to make that judgement.
  • Giving someone your resume and asking them to pass it on within their organization. Unless there is a published opening for your dream job, your resume will most likely end up in the HR department on the bottom of a big pile of other resumes.

This is not the only strategy advice around, but I know that it works.

Get comfortable with your narrative. Have your stories ready. Make your list of close contacts. And take action.

Putting the time in at the beginning may seem like a long road. But your continued benefits throughout your career will make it worthwhile.

John Corcoran has been an executive in the strategic business development arena for over 30 years. In addition to his work in the nonprofit world as well as the healthcare space, he has maintained a career coaching presence since 1992. He is the founder of Merritt Walsh Associates, LLC, a strategy firm and the parent company of Corcoran Career Coaching. He spent 13 years with Pascack Valley Hospital, holding the positions of senior vice-president of external relations, chief operating officer and interim chief executive Officer, as well as president of the New Jersey Hospital Association Fundraising Executives.