The Secret Strategy for Finding Your Dream Job

finding your dream jobThe hardest part about job searching these days is cutting through the noise and getting noticed. Good postings receive 50 or 100 applicants. How can you stand out and even be considered with this many people in the mix?

I recently sat down with my colleague, Ryan Mulvihill, to discuss his new book Startup Idea Action Plan. His book details a new strategy for Entrepreneurs to quickly and cheaply test their business idea and find their first customers— before building a product. We both agreed this process can be applied to a job search as well. His method will set you apart from the masses, leading to more conversations, more interviews, and multiple job offers in ANY field. I’ll let Ryan take it from here…

How to Find Your Dream Job, even in a Competitive Market

If you think you’ve tried everything, I’m here to tell you, you haven’t tried this. I’m going to teach you a process for reaching out and engaging with a large amount of people in your industry in order to find a new job or upgrade your career.

This process will help you put yourself in front of many people in the industry you want to work in, effectively giving you as many opportunities as possible to find a new position, and potentially your dream job.

You will be creating a list of all the workplaces you would like to work in, and systematically starting conversations with people in these workplaces to find a position for yourself.

And you are going to learn how to be super suave about it.

Here’s the process.

Step 1: Make your list.

Don’t think in terms of “I just want a job” as that will get you nowhere. You need to really think of the places you WANT to work, otherwise you won’t have any direction or motivation to go through this process.

Brainstorm all the companies you would like to work for and all the kinds of positions you want. Bonus points if you look up companies that do have open job postings. However it is not necessary for a workplace to be hiring in order for you to approach them.

Crate a list of ~50 companies you would like to work for. It may take you a few hours to put this together, but the potential payoff is HUGE. If you are strapped for time and want to have someone do this for you can read my blog post on how to get a freelancer to build a leads list. Hiring a freelancer to do the work for you will cost less than $30 to get a list made of this size. 

You also need find the contact info of the most relevant people in that company that you could talk to. You may have to use your judgement on who that person is. This can happen while you are looking for companies and job postings or after you have accumulated your list.

It won’t always be the HR/hiring manager. If it is a sales position you are looking for, then the sales manager would be the most relevant person to talk to. If the company is really small, maybe it makes sense to reach out to the CEO directly.

After you have built your list of strangers, you are going to need to warm them up to you.

Step 2: Send “Pre-Heater” email

You are going to send your prospects a pre-heater email to warm them up to you. The email will consist of 2 parts: personalized knowledge of the company and an engaging question. This is to initiate contact with them, start the conversation, and give you a reason to talk to them. You need to make the personalized knowledge section of the email personal to each company you are contacting. But each one of these can be whipped up in a matter of minutes.

We’re going to use the example of someone who’s in sales, looking to find a position in a new company. Here’s an example email you’d send.

“Hey Name,

I was doing some research on (company’s name), I really like how you take a real benefits approach to pitching prospects. I don’t see many companies do that, so I was impressed.

I just had a quick question, what is the number one trait you look for in new salespeople that really helps them start selling quick?”

Other examples of engaging questions:

  • What is the most amazing thing someone has done to stand out in a job interview?
  • What things do you think led to your top salespeople excelling in your company?
  • What are some of the challenges you face when training new salespeople in your business?
how to find your dream job

Asking targeted questions is a great way to show that you’re interested and prepared for a conversation


Basically you are showing you’ve done some research into the company. Also, asking a slightly unusual question will prompt them to get back to you.

Some people will respond to your email, some will ignore it. However, it doesn’t really matter if they ignore your email. That email itself is your “IN”.

It may take a few days for them to respond to your email, so don’t worry if they don’t immediately start emailing you.

If they DO respond you’ll need to write a followup email reply that goes something like this:

“Hey thanks for the advice. I’m really looking to get advice form as many people in different sales positions as possible to really excel in my field. You seem to know what you’re talking about. Think you could spare 5 mins to have a quick call with me? I just wanted to find out a little more about what has led to success of the new salespeople you hire so I can apply it to the next position I work in.”

Your main goal with the followup email is to get them on the phone with you.

Thing is, even if they don’t respond you will be calling them anyways. The process doesn’t change much if they don’t respond to you, just what you’ll initially say when they pick up the phone.

Step 3: Develop your pitch

You are going to have to learn how to pitch yourself. Eventually in these conversations you will be asked about what you do. So you better have a good answer to that question.

Create an elevator pitch for yourself. In about 4 sentences clearly and concisely explain what makes you awesome and end with what you are looking for.. If you have a sales background here is an example of your pitch:

“I’ve worked in sales for 5 years, ran my own franchise of a window cleaning business and broke sales records. I’m really looking for a job that will challenge me to grow as a sales person, I excel at person to person sales, but I really want to learn about big ticket sales. So I’m shopping around for a few different positions currently and learning how to really upgrade my sales potential.”

Once you have your pitch ready, you can start to plan out what you will say when you get them on the phone.

Step 4: Plan out your phone script

You are going to plan out a call script to engage with your “Prospect” so to speak. You aren’t going to map out a whole conversation, just plan a few questions to ask your prospect. You will also need to know how you are going to lead the conversation into asking about job openings.

Don’t let a lack of  email reply stop you from calling them. If they didn’t respond to your email you’ll just say this when you call them:

Hey (Their Name),

“I’m just following up on an email I sent you. My name is (Name), and I’m doing some research into some of the traits that lead to new sales people really excelling . I did some research into your company and really liked how your sales process was focussed around how you save customers time in their daily routine. Since your company seems to have a pretty good sales process set up I was wondering if you had a few minutes to answer a few quick questions I have about excelling as a new salesperson.”

Then you can go into the body of your script.

If they did agree to talk to you:

“Hey (their Name) thanks for taking the time to talk to me.”

The body of your call script:

In the body of your phone script you are going to a few questions to really engage with your prospect. Their answers are giving you AMMO. What they answer is letting you know valuable details for the industry you are looking to get a job in as well as what points you can emphasize when you start asking about positions within the company

Plan out a few high level questions you could ask like the ones below:

  • What sorts of traits lead to a new salesperson becoming really successful in your company?
  • What has been one of the main things that have led to your success in this company?
  • What would you recommend for someone like me to work at a good company like yours?

Any other questions that you think would be relevant to show that you are looking to make yourself the ideal candidate for the position would be great to ask here. After a few questions you are going to ask the big question.

“Currently I’m looking for a sales position.”

Then you deliver your pitch:

“I’ve worked in sales for 5 years, ran my own franchise of a window cleaning business and broke sales records. I’m really looking for a job that will challenge me to grow as a sales person, I excel at person to person sales, but I really want to learn about big ticket sales. So I’m shopping around for a few different positions currently and learning how to really upgrade my sales potential.”

“Do you think there’s any current need for someone with my skill set in your company?”

You may get a “no” here, but that’s alright. You are still going to look for any other openings you can.

“Do you know anyone else in the industry I could possibly talk to about this type of work?”

Asking for referrals is a fantastic way to build your list of possible prospects. And if they do give you a referral, that is a very strong lead for a possible position.

“Mind if I check in in a month to see if anything changed?”

This will leave the door open for future contact with this person.

Now people won’t be throwing jobs at you just because you asked them a few questions. However, you will have engaged with them in a way that almost nobody has before. Eventually you’ll engage with the right person, and find yourself in a job offer position. This is definitely much more effective than spamming your resume to as many people as possible, that’s a good way to get no job.

Now the trick is to keep track of all your possible leads and follow up with them at appropriate times.

Time investment: ~2 days for all the setup and calling.

Potential upside: A new awesome job.

You are making a bunch of small bets, with a big potential payoff. Will you get rejected a lot? Yes. Does it matter? No.

This whole process is taken from my book Startup Idea Action Plan, which you can check out below. It goes much more in depth on all of these points. 

startup idea action plan book

Got thoughts or questions about this method? Leave a comment below:




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