How to Market Yourself to Get Your Dream Career

Landing your dream career is rarely easy. It requires a lot of hard work, knowledge and putting yourself out there. It’s not something that happens overnight. In fact, it can take years. Yet, there are some things that you can do to help market yourself and get that job you’ve always wanted.

Take Stock of Yourself

You will be unable to market yourself well without a thorough understanding of your skills, experience, career desires and goals, educational background and personality. Write this all down, put it out in front of you on a table, and piece it together into something coherent you can consistently use to market yourself on a resume, on your LinkedIn profile and to business contacts. Make sure that whatever you put down is very relevant to the specific job or type of position that you’re looking for.

Have Your Own Website

This is particularly helpful if you are in a creative profession and want to direct potential employers or clients to samples of your past work. Most website platforms also give you the opportunity to include a blog on the site. If you use that, though, make sure to post regular content. Who knows, a recruiter or potential employer may stumble upon it and be impressed. Like Tracy Rawle, you can also use your site to feature your career experiences like a resume, which can make it look even more impressive.

Create a LinkedIn Account

Recruiters and employers overwhelmingly look for talent on LinkedIn, the largest professional social network, so it should go without saying that anyone looking for their dream job should have a presence there. Don't just have a LinkedIn account and copy your resume onto it but do some research and have a good understanding of how best to use your LinkedIn profile to your advantage. On this platform, you can list your skills and have others endorse you for them. They can also write you a letter of recommendation. All of this can be very valuable for future employers to see.

Make Industry Contacts

The old adage "it's not what you know but who you know" is perhaps more relevant than ever. First, reach out to friends and family and see if they or anyone they know is in your desired career field. Make contact and connect with them. If you truly don't know anyone, then identify and make contact with people in your chosen industry. These people will help direct you to job openings you might not know existed as well as recommend you for them.

"Once you find something you are enthusiastic about ... [start] talking to people in that world. Being in these communities and around [these] people, you'll learn the language, behaviors and idiosyncrasies that are particular to the profession or industry that interests you, which communicates to people you talk to that you've made an effort to learn their world."— Courtney Kirschbaum, a career coach and founder of online training company Original Experience.

Make Each Application Count

When applying for jobs, you will need to have a resume and cover letter that makes you stand out. You cannot afford to be lazy and must tailor your resume and especially your cover letter to each specific job that you apply for. Use active language and directly appeal to what you think the hiring manager is looking for. To know that, you should thoroughly read the job description and research the company culture before applying. By doing so, you will be clearly communicating with them how you can benefit them, which will make it so that they'll be interested in offering you the job.

Doing all of these things should set you on the right path to your dream career. Be sure to be consistent across platforms and in your marketing approach in order to benefit the most from your professional brand.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.