Stop Asking Permission: Expert Tips To Land Your Dream Job Now

Originally published on A Girl in a Dress
By Charell Star

Frances Cole Jones knows a thing or two about landing that elusive dream job. The native New Yorker and entrepreneur literally wrote the book on the subject. Author of Wow Your Way into the Job of Your Dreams, Jones spent some time with the A Girl In A Dress team and shared her top expert tips for identify and securing the RIGHT position whether you are seeking a new job or looking to step out on your own.

So what inspired you to start your business?

I was working in publishing and I enjoyed it but we used to hire media trainers to work with our authors. I watched that for awhile and I thought I can do a comparable job if not better. So, I just quit my job and worked freelance for a bunch of years for a number of different companies and then founded my own firm.

So, when you quit your job did you have anything lined up at all or you just quit and walk out on faith?

I would love to tell people that I had this very thought through plan but no, it was really more of spur of the minute thing. I’m definitely a “leap first, look later” kind of person and it’s worked for me. I know it’s not the norm but, I tend to not over think things and sometimes it works out really well.

Your specific  focus is helping client land their dream job not another job. What are some action steps a  person can take to identify what their dream job might be?

  1. You want to ask your close friends, “What do you think I should be doing?”
  2. It’s also sometimes really helpful to ask people who barely know you, “do you see me under utilizing any particular skill set?”
  3. After that, start going on informational interviews. Prepare as carefully as if were a regular interview. Go in and say, “If I wanted to join this field, what action steps will I need to take?” Or “If you look at my resume, what am I missing?” The tricky bit is getting people {in these roles} to spend the time and answer your questions. So, what you do is you call up and you say, “Would you mind if I came in for 15 minutes at the beginning or at the end of your day?” Everybody has time for that. Use their time wisely and go in with a really strong set of questions.

What if they are bad at interviewing? What is one action someone can take right now to improve their interview skill?

I think the most important thing that people can do is realize that the interview is not about them selling themselves. The interview is about you demonstrating to your interviewer how you are going to make their life better once you are hired. And the easiest way to do that is start thinking about how are you going to tell a story, to demonstrate how you’re going to add value.

And what are some steps people can take to identify that story? How can they start so they know how to map that out.

Well, you want to be very specific. I don’t want you to use what I refer to as, “like modifiers.” Phrases like, “I’m really a great leader” or “I’m just really amazing leader” and “I just really love to lead people.” Nothing happens in my brain when you say that. You really need to say:

  1. “There was time that I was working with my colleagues and this was the situation.”
  2. “This how I managed the situation.”
  3. “And this is the result of the situation.”

Studies shows that people can remember stories longer, they trust them more and they repeat them more accurately. Tell the story, but wrap it all up.

Any other business advise that you want to share?

Don’t ask permission. A lot of us wait, “Oh, I need to go back to school.” “I need to get a degree.” “I need someone to sign off on me being allowed to do whatever it is that your dream is.” Unless you are curing a disease or building a rocket, there’s very little that requires someone else to sign off on your skill set. So, if you want to do something, go and do it. Or take a crack at trying to do it. But don’t wait for someone else to say, “Oh yes, now you’re allowed to.”

Trying these tips can help get you on a path to achieving your dreams and the career you want. Check out Jones’ book for more great advice on taking your next step toward the RIGHT direction.