Get Your Dream Job

Have you ever had to look for a job? It can be stressful! You have to figure out what kind of job you would like- and what job is the best match for you. Then you need to locate a job that falls into that category. Once you find a job opening you must apply by filling out an application and then interviewing with the employer. Phew! Getting a job is a stressful process for most people, and although it is challenging, there are things you can do to increase your chances for getting your dream job. Most of these steps involve using executive function skills.

Figuring Out Which Job is Right for You

First, determine the best job match based on your interests and abilities.  You may have had career assessments in school or can find online that will match you to a job category. From here you can narrow the category to specific jobs you find interesting. Also, consider all of the things you do well and enjoy, such as sports, music, art, academic subjects, hobbies, and part-time jobs. These interests and skills can turn into your dream job.

Investigating Local Businesses to Find a Good Match

Next, identify businesses that have the job you want. You can go to online search engines using key words related to the job you want. As you search, you will find a variety of businesses in the area that have jobs related to your goal. Go to the websites of these local businesses and learn more about what they do, the kinds of jobs they have, and possible contacts. Keep this information handy as you build your network of contacts.

Building a Network

Once you’ve found businesses and specific jobs, start networking. Effective networking is not hard to do- the first step is to tell everyone you know about your job goal, and ask if they have a potential contact or information that could help.  Start your network with family members by asking if they have a connection or contacts with the businesses you are targeting. Talk with neighbors, teachers, and friends, letting them know the kind of job you are looking for and asking if they know of any job openings. The second step is to develop a list of contacts who can help by using an organizing tool, such as the Networking Worksheet shown below.

People often get jobs because of someone they know before the job is ever advertised. Getting job leads from your network of family and friends helps you make connections with employers to get a foot in the door, that can lead to a job interview. Often it is who you know that leads to job success. This takes planning and organizing, which is one of the most effective executive function skills a young adult can use to manage a job search.

When a student named Angelica wanted to find a job working with animals, she researched to find all of the animal shelters, veterinarian offices, pet stores, and feed stores in her area. She asked everyone she knew if they had heard of job openings in any of these businesses. Her uncle was a veterinarian and knew many of the animal care businesses in the city.  He gave Angelica the name and number of the manager of a large pet supply store who had several job openings. Angelica added the manager, Ms. Chun, to her Networking List and then followed-up with a call and asked lots of questions about the business and available jobs. The manager was very nice and told Angelica to complete an application. Then the manager would schedule an interview for her.

Building Your Interviewing Skills

To prepare for the interview, it is important to do your research and learn as much as possible about the job you want. This information will help you stand out during your interview. When you show that you know specific details about the business and the job you are interviewing for, the interviewer will see you did your homework by preparing for the interview. This tells the interviewer how much you want the position.

Now that you have done your research, it’s time to get prepared for your interview. Interviewing for a job is usually stressful for anyone.  This can be especially challenging if you struggle with impulse control and have a tendency to interrupt others or answer questions without thinking about their response.  The Tips for Job Interviews card shown here is a visual cue for interviews that can be written on a piece of paper or a small card, or can be a photo on a phone or tablet. Using a visual tool like this, is another very effective executive function strategy that helps with impulse control.

The five tips on the card offer a good way to prepare and practice for an interview and acts as a reminder of the ways to control your behavior during the interview. Angelica used the Tips for Job Interviews card to prepare for her interview but was still worried about her behavior during the interview. Although she had practiced with her family and felt prepared for her interview, she was worried that the stress might cause impulsive behaviors during the interview. Angelica took a picture of the card with her phone to use as a visual reminder. She reviewed the tips right before the interview and felt confident she could control her impulse to interrupt or talk too much during the interview.

Like Angelica, you can get your dream job by successfully networking and interviewing. Angelica was successful and landed her dream job as a Pet Care Associate by following the networking and interviewing steps when she:

  1. Considered the results of the career assessment from school and decided she wanted to work with animals.
  2. Networked by sharing her job goal with her family, teachers, friends, and neighbors.
  3. Made a Networking List of contacts from the information she received.
  4. Called local businesses from her networking list and found an opening at the Pet Center.
  5. Applied for the Pet Care Associate job.
  6. Prepared for her interview using the Tips for Job Interviews card.
  7. Got the job after a successful interview!

Angelica was successful because she used executive function skills to plan and organize her job search and by using visual cues to control her behavior during the interview. Remember, all of these strategies are available to help you find your dream job, too!

For more information go to FLIPP The Switch 2.0 @ AAPC Publishing.

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