After spending months searching for a job, Kate Horner began to worry about her future. However, she soon found her dream job: supporting veterans like her brother as a program director at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Below is her inspirational story.
In the video she shares the ups-and-downs of her job search. We know it helps to hear what tips and tactics successful job seekers used to land a new gig, so we asked Kate to share her advice for finding your dream job.
Job seeking is a frustrating process that can make you feel powerless. Staying organized will help you feel more in control – and it will help you identify patterns in the jobs you’re applying to, which can help you to better focus your search.
I used a Google spreadsheet with tabs for different parts of the job search: one for informational interviews I was undertaking; a tab to keep track of who I was sending my resume; a tab with organizations I was interested in and monitoring for open positions; and a tab with every job I applied to, including the organization name and location, the position, and current status, for example, rejected or interview scheduled.
I saved every job posting and every cover letter and resume I sent out. I needed to see the progress I was making, and to be able to refer back to the job duties and how I’d described my abilities and fit for each role. In the beginning it was really defeating because I was having to enter a lot of rejections, but it still helped me to have that record.
Research and reach out to others
Be open to positions that you might not have considered. I knew that I wanted something that drew on my education and experience and I thought I wanted to be in the human rights space. The job with IAVA wasn’t in that field, but what was especially appealing about the program director position was that it was a step up from what I’d done in the past. I wanted a challenge and I knew this would be one I could rise to. Don’ t be afraid to reach for that next step up in your career!
I would also recommend using Idealist to identify additional organizations that might be a good fit, and to set up email alerts for new opportunities. An organization you’re interested in might not be hiring now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a month from now.
I also really believe in the power of networks and informational interviews. If I found an organization that I thought was interesting, I would research it and use LinkedIn to see if I knew anyone there. For example, when I applied to IAVA, I looked on LinkedIn to see if I had contacts in my network or extended network there or who generally might have insights into the veteran space. Informational interviews help you to learn more about what it’s like to work for a particular organization or in a particular field, and help you better determine whether a job or a place is a good fit for you.
Tailor your cover letter and resume
Make sure you are tailoring your cover letter and resume for every job. This sounds really simple but it’s important that you make very clear to employers exactly what you offer to meet their hiring needs, and why you’re the best person for the job.
Have you found your dream job? Any advice to share? Include it in the comments below.