- The importance of identifying your dream job
- Where to get the skills you need for your new job
- How to ace your job interview
If you aren’t exactly happy with your current job, you aren’t alone. About half of working Americans report feeling unhappy at work. The good news is that you can take matters into your own hands and change your situation. It just takes a bit of time, effort, and perseverance. Wouldn’t it be awesome to wake up each morning excited about your work rather than filled with dread? Make this the year you take control of your career and ensure your next job is one you truly love.
Modern tech tools mean you have more jobs at your fingertips than ever before. The rise in remote work has opened up new options, for example. For many roles, you no longer need to report to an on-site office, allowing you to search for jobs beyond your immediate vicinity.
This guide explains how to get a new job in 2024. We’ve broken the process down into five main steps:
There’s no point in switching jobs if you’re just going to end up in a similar position that doesn’t fulfill you. Take the time to define your career goals by creating both a short- and long-term vision for professional satisfaction.
Start by figuring out what the problem is with your current job. Is it the type of work you’re doing? Alternatively, maybe you’re overwhelmed and find your role too stressful. The point is to determine if the nature of the work is driving your lack of satisfaction or something else.
Company culture is another common reason for job unhappiness. Perhaps you don’t get along with your colleagues or supervisor, or maybe the company’s overall attitude toward working life doesn’t match your personal views. You may even want to switch jobs for moral reasons, such as if you discover your company supports political, social, or cultural agendas you disagree with.
Finally, there’s the money issue. Maybe you feel like your work isn’t rewarded as it should be. This often goes hand-in-hand with status. Have you tried to ask for a raise or applied for a promotion only to be turned down? Do you think you could earn more elsewhere?
Ask yourself the above questions, and you will be able to pinpoint what you don’t like about your job. This will make it easier to define what you want — and to set goals that will allow you to take concrete steps toward a better job in 2024. Your path forward will vary accordingly.
For example, let’s say you work in marketing as a junior brand manager. You actually like the tasks you perform; however, you feel that your work goes unrecognized. You’ve applied for promotions and asked for raises to no avail, but you’ve done your research and know you’re earning below market average. In this case, you know it’s worth applying for a similar job title elsewhere — perhaps in the same sphere but at a higher level, like senior brand manager.
Once you have your dream job in mind, you can start making a plan to get there. You might not get the perfect gig overnight, but you won’t get there if you don’t take the first step.
Let’s say you do data entry at a financial services firm and you’ve been doing the daily grind for years. As you contemplate the reasons you dislike your job, you realize you simply don’t like the work you do. You dislike sitting at a desk all day and find the job isolating. Plus, the work is tedious. To while away the hours when you’ve got nothing to do, you discretely work on your personal fashion blog.
Why not consider moving into the retail industry? A role as a store manager has you on your feet, interacting with people and customers, and embracing your love of fashion. This isn’t a transition you’ll achieve overnight. Before you can be a store manager, you will likely have to rack up experience working as a sales associate.
With your end goal in mind, you can sketch the steps needed to get there. Switching from a job in data entry to a sales associate role might not pay more, but a “better” job doesn’t necessarily mean higher pay. This career shift will put you on track to achieve your final goal and enjoy greater happiness in your professional life.
As the example above makes clear, you may require new skills, certifications, or education to get a better job in 2024. Below are some options you have to get the training you need.
Depending on the extent of the career change you want to make, you may need to fulfill specific educational requirements, like getting a bachelor’s degree from a college or university. The good news is that schools are increasingly offering remote learning programs, making it easier to learn whenever, wherever — even while continuing your current job.
To figure out precisely what you need, look at job advertisements for your dream gig. What educational credentials do they require? Is it possible to swap out education for work experience? Are there specific courses, majors, or degrees that are especially valued?
You may also be able to get the skills and education you need via a local community college or vocational school. This is often a more cost-efficient option than a formal university or college degree. These programs also tend to be shorter in length.
A community college or technical education is useful for a hands-on career. You will find courses that prepare people for a range of professions, from electrician to plumber to cosmetologist. Such programs tend to offer both in-class and practical training, giving you real-world experience and preparing you to enter the job market as soon as you graduate.
If you want to make a more minor career shift, you may simply need an online certification to boost your chances of getting a better job in 2024. You can complete internet-based courses in topics from coding to project management and leadership. Boosting your profile with such additional credentials can make you a more attractive job candidate.
Going out of your way to complete online certifications, even if they aren’t necessarily required, also demonstrates drive and initiative. You are showing prospective employers that you will go the extra mile for success and proving an above-average work ethic, which is something recruiters love to see.
With the above steps taken care of, it’s time to prepare your application materials. There are two main points to address: your resume and cover letter.
Your resume should highlight your work experience, education, and skills. Provide bullet points without going into excessive details, as your resume shouldn’t exceed two pages — one page should be sufficient if you’re still early in your career. Use a standard font like Times New Roman, 12 point. Here are more tips for styling your resume plus mistakes to avoid on our blog.
Throughout your resume, demonstrate claims with fact-based data. For example, don’t just say you were a “top-performing sales associate known for friendly customer service.” Specify that you helped 50-plus clients per day, exceeded weekly sales quotes, and earned a 95% customer satisfaction rating. Those figures are far more convincing and impactful.
Your resume is typically a static document that you won’t have to tweak much, if at all, for different positions. Your cover letter is another story. Every application you send out should include a personalized cover letter.
Include one paragraph that explicitly discusses the position (and company) you are applying for and explain why you are interested. Next, briefly highlight why you think you’re a good fit — and be honest. You applied to that job advertisement for a reason. What was it that drew you to the posting?
Finally, you can start applying. It might seem like the above steps are a waste of time. Wouldn’t it be faster to just start applying for the jobs you want? Taking these preparatory measures will greatly increase your odds of landing a job you actually love. Don’t skip the aforementioned points.
Below are some ideas for job searching in 2024.
Never underestimate the power of personal connections to help you take your career to new heights. Friends, family, teachers, and even your current boss or co-workers (assuming you’ve told them you plan to leave) can connect you to useful people.
The point isn’t necessarily to find a job immediately through these connections but to connect with individuals in relevant roles. If you’re transitioning into a new field, for instance, they may be able to provide valuable information on breaking into the business. If they don’t know of available opportunities now, they may get word of them later.
Also, be sure to activate your digital network. Look through your LinkedIn and other social media feeds for connections. Maybe someone you studied with years ago has your dream job. Reach out! People love to share their success stories.
When you define your dream job, it may involve working for certain companies. For example, for an animator, working for a company like Pixar might be a dream come true. For an individual who dreams of working for a fashion magazine, Vogue might be the goal.
If there is a company you are interested in working for, check the jobs section of their website for available positions. If something fits your profile, go ahead and apply. If there is no fitting position, you may still be able to submit a resume to their general database. They can then check their records as positions open to see if your resume is a good fit.
You can also ask about informational interviews, which allow you to get to know the company and its culture. This is a great way to make first contact.
Finally, the internet offers a wealth of resources for finding your next great job. Take advantage of online search engines, which allow you to easily filter through thousands of job descriptions quickly. You can set search settings based on key criteria like location, job title, salary range, full-time versus part-time hours, and more.
You’ve made it to the interview stage — congratulations! You’re almost there. As with the rest of your application process, preparation is key if you want to ace this step. Practice your interview before going in. Role-playing with a friend or family member is a great way to do this because they can surprise you with interview questions you may not see coming.
The night before your interview, lay out the outfit you plan to wear, selecting something fittingly professional for the role. Is it a virtual interview? Put on your best look anyway! Studies show that the “dress for success” concept actually works, as it boosts your confidence. Confidence is critical when talking to hiring managers.
If the interview is on-site, make sure you know how to get there and leave plenty of time for your trip. Pack your bag beforehand and include any necessary paperwork, like copies of your resume and educational certificates. Having your documents on hand makes you look organized, giving a positive first impression.
Take the time to review the position for which you are interviewing. You likely sent out multiple applications and want to be well-informed about this specific company and position. Additionally, know who will be conducting the interview. Will it be a human resources (HR) generalist or your possible future boss?
Try to get a good night’s sleep so you are rested and refreshed. And finally, relax. With all the prep you’ve done, you’re going to do great.
The job search process takes time. It may take a few months until you get the perfect job offer, but don’t give up — the right gig for you is out there. You just have to find it.
Joblist is ready to help you find a better job in 2024. Use our resource guide for job seekers to learn about career opportunities and prepare your application materials. When you’re ready to start applying, you can search our nationwide database of job listings to find the perfect opportunity to suit your needs. Start job hunting now!