Job seeker success story: How I found my dream job by staying organized and networking [Video]

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.

Stay organized

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.


Tags: , , ,

Related Posts

Former Editor and Creator of Idealist Careers, a publication of Follow me on Twitter @ajlovesya.
8 tips for job searching when you already have a job From employee to entrepreneur – 3 steps to building your plan


  1. Great post! I’m looking forward to more in this ‘Job Seeker Success Stories’ section..

    My favorite part in this personal story was the specific information on how she managed her job search. I struggled to find a sustainable system for myself as I started job hunting, and ultimately ended up abandoning the hope of greater analytics in favor of simplicity. Needless to say, I’ve updated my scatted spreadsheets to one mega-tabbed control center I think shall work!

    Anyway, I may not have the ticking doom-clock of NYC rent & living expenses, but I’m still searching and it’s sweet to see success! Congrats, Kate!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Christine and we’re happy you found the video and tips helpful!

      We love sharing successful job seeker stories. You can view more stories and tips here. And stay tuned for more!

  2. Pingback: Why you should search for a job during the summer | Idealist Careers

  3. Pingback: How can job seekers over 50 find their dream jobs? | Idealist Careers

  4. Pingback: 9 questions that can help you find your dream job | Idealist Careers

  5. Pingback: 8 job search lessons from successful job seekers | Idealist Careers

  6. Pingback: Two videos to help you find your dream job on Idealist | Idealist Careers

  7. Pingback: Do you know where you’d love to work? Here’s a powerful way to find out

    • Snow Montemayor
    • January 23, 2015

    Perfect post for some like me who also lives in NYC, has been looking for months, fresh out of grad school, has the ups and downs of the job search, and the pressures to find someothing soon. This story gives me hope that I’ll find my job soon.

Comments are closed.