When it comes to my career, I’d say I’ve been cosmically lucky. It was a mix of hard work, big risks, and very fortunate timing that landed me in a role that seems to constantly prompt the question: “How did you get your job?”
Over the years, I’ve met with various women looking for advice on landing their own dream jobs and it turns out I have a lot to say on the matter. First off, perfect-fit jobs aren’t usually something you “get” as much as something you create. And that’s really good news, because it means the supply is unlimited. Even better — you can do a lot to start creating that role without even leaving your current gig. Read on for my six quick tips on how to turn your job from “right now” to oh-so-right.
image via honestlywtf
1. Be vocal about the tasks you enjoy.
You may think it’s obvious that you love getting to make design choices, accompany your boss to market, or plan an internal event. But if you don’t vocalize the joy and satisfaction you get from those tasks to your boss, she may never know that you’re up for doing more. It’s a simple as saying, “I love this.” or “Today was so much fun.”
photo by glam observer
2. Get grabby.
I heard a speaker once who encouraged women to “get grabby” at work, and that idea really stuck with me. What she meant was not being afraid to grab that seat next to the boss at the meeting, being the first to volunteer for an exciting opportunity, or making sure that you’re on the list for the vacation days you want at Christmas. It’s not about edging others out — it’s about being confident enough to take the opportunities you want quickly when you see them.
image by belathée
3. Don’t wait for permission to take on new tasks.
If you see a need you KNOW you can fill, just do it. Write the story. Make the video. Design the webpage. What’s the worst that can happen? Your work might not be ready to use, but you’ll come off as a person with major enthusiasm and dedication, and your boss may start to consider you as a resource for those types of tasks in the future.
photo by we the people
4. Talk to your boss about your goals.
Pro tip: the boss is busy. That means she wants YOU to initiate any important conversations that need to happen. If you can groom yourself into being a proactive employee — someone who solves problems on their own and actually helps alleviate your boss’ overall stress — you’ll experience natural growth in your role.
5. Learn how to pitch an idea.
This took me years to learn, but it’s actually really fun once you get the hang of it. I think too often employees go to their bosses with questions. Can I do this? What do you think about that? Don’t be a questions person. You’re only adding to the number of stressful decisions they have to make in a day. Instead, be a solutions person. What I mean is this: if you have a big idea that your boss needs to hear about, prepare an amazing pitch and present it to her. Show her the ways that your idea can meet existing needs for the business, and do the research to prove it. Make a fun document with visuals that she can review after your meeting. Don’t be afraid to hear no. You can always pitch another idea later.
6. Practice gratitude.
We all have one friend who’s hated every job she ever had. It’s my personal belief that no matter how talented or ambitious a person is, true dream jobs just don’t happen without gratitude. No matter how frustrated you are with your current work situation, try to actively feel gratitude for the opportunities you do have. You don’t have to look far in our society to find someone who has far, far less. When you focus on being thankful for the work you do have, you’re more likely to see and receive all the creative opportunities that are right in front of you.
Now, all you have to do is take them.