Ever wondered how to turnkey your passion into a real job opportunity? Here are a few tips to help you achieve just that.
Everyone hopes to leave behind a footprint and make a difference in the world through their work. But, finding your dream job is easier said than done.
Oftentimes our experiences, convictions, beliefs, POV, and internalized biases play a role on who we choose to work for. Some of my most career rewarding moments, have been when writing about a family in need of better wages, driving content for a new multilingual mobile app, and pitching reporters about a homeless teenager who earned a full scholarship to their top choice university or a taxi driver who could no longer afford his mortgage because of the oversaturation of the industry.
The reality is that tradition encourages us to choose a job that pays the bills – setting to the side our passion and talent. Luckily, the modern digital age has changed this. Here are a few tips on how to do what you love for a living.
Develop your personal brand
Your personal brand tells the world who you are and what you care about – which is why your social media presence should also reflect what matters to you. Don’t feel comfortable mixing work and play? Consider, creating a new account profile that highlights your professional work. For example, you can choose to start a blog/vlog, podcast or YouTube channel. These are all great ways to showcase your work, position yourself as a thought leader in the industry and provide an employer or start-up you’ve been eyeing to take notice and recognize you are the perfect addition to their team.
Strengthen your network
Develop a list of professionals and industry leaders you’d like to meet. LinkedIn is a great space for this type of networking. But. first research the company or specific person before cold contacting them. Find out if you have a friend/follower in common who can connect you via an email or messenger introduction. Introductory emails will usually get you a quicker response. Consider attending networking events or membership groups with like-minded professionals.
Once you’ve scheduled an informational interview, coffee, call or pitch meeting, have questions ready about the brand’s content strategy, third party stakeholders and key partnerships. This will help you decide whether or not it’s the right fit.
Also, research how the start-up or organization responds to crisis to provide a snapshot of its corporate personhood and brand humanity. You may personally prefer catering to a specific industry, interest or political ideologies (conservative to right-leaning versus moderate to progressive) such as union organizing, the NRA, reproductive rights groups, real estate, legalization of cannabis or LGBTQ rights.
Become an expert
Brushing up on your skill set and learning new ones is always smart. Consider taking online courses or workshops. These spaces are also great to meet future employers, mentors and overall a good way to expand your network and visibility in the industry you are trying to break into.
Be honest with yourself – Don’t settle
Studies have shown that professionals across all age ranges choose meaningful work as a main workplace motivator over financial compensation. Meaningful work can be a critical motivator, because let’s face it, when you respect an organization’s mission and align with its values – the work will be rewarding. Consider going sideways with a lateral move. It is easier to go from one organization to another within the same role since you’ve already got the skills for to get the job done. Whichever route you decide to take, be honest with yourself and do not settle for less. Keep creating and networking to get noticed and hired!