Find a Job You Actually Love

I’ve been hired for several of my dream jobs/professional experiences -- interning at the White House (Obama 2009), worked in technology consulting at an education reform organization I shamelessly stalked for years and working on several films by directors I admire.

I was reflecting on my dream job history with my dear friend Daniela last week…here’s a little Instagram love for you…

"Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper" 🐝In other words, the world is changed more by your example than by your opinion. ⚡️I boxed for an hour this morning, directed an incredible interview with a dear friend, connected with a foundation about a film I'm an Impact Producer on, and am now co-working with my biz bff (hey  @danielauslan !) 🚀In the hustle and chaos of today, what actions are proud of having taken today? How did you slay today?! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

"Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper" 🐝In other words, the world is changed more by your example than by your opinion. ⚡️I boxed for an hour this morning, directed an incredible interview with a dear friend, connected with a foundation about a film I'm an Impact Producer on, and am now co-working with my biz bff (hey @danielauslan!) 🚀In the hustle and chaos of today, what actions are proud of having taken today? How did you slay today?! ⚡️⚡️⚡️


So, how have I landed several of my dream jobs?

Here’s an outline of what I’ve done to get my dream jobs/professional experiences:


1. (2-5 min) Set the intention in your mind that you’ll only apply to jobs you actually want.

Finding your dream job -- or even just a job you feel lukewarm about -- can be insanely overwhelming.

Even before some people start applying, I’ve heard them say:

“I have to see what’s out there.”

But, instead, flip this on it’s head and think:

“I have to decide what I want, and then find it.”

You don’t have to wait to see ‘what’s out there’ -- go for what you actually want.

Set the intention that you’ll only apply to jobs you actually want and feel excited about. ( dating, only date people you actually like...but I digress).

If the thought of having that job makes you feel drained or blah, then don’t apply. Only apply to those that make you feel excited when you read the job description.


2. (10-20 mins) List the “must haves” and “nice to haves” of your dream job -- things like:

  1. Must haves:

    1. Location - What’s your ideal location? Are you looking to move or stay put?

    2. Responsibilities you actually enjoy - What would you be most excited about doing? What responsibilities give you energy?

    3. Salary - What’s your minimum salary requirement (which you can always negotiate)

  2. Nice to haves:

    1. Commute time - Do you want a short commute time?

    2. Autonomy - Do you want to work in a team or by yourself?    

Alternatively, you can also write the job description for your ideal job. Think of it as Pinterest boarding for your dream job.


3. (30-60 mins) List 2-5 organizations and/or people you deeply admire and would dream of working for. (Hint: It’s probably the first ones that came to mind right now.)

  1. For the organizations, maybe you read their publications, maybe you’ve always wanted to work there, and maybe you’re on their newsletter?

  2. For the people, maybe you know them personally, or maybe you don’t, maybe you’re on their newsletter?

  3. Decide which of these is your #1 dream organization or person to work for.


4. (1-2 hours) Do some research & rate what you find.

Start with your #1 organization or person on your list. Look at what’s on their job board, on their website. Write down 2-5 jobs that you’d love to do on your Dream Job Decision Matrix.

Include jobs you think you’re not qualified for.

Even if you don’t think you’re qualified for a job, but it excites you to think of having it, write it down. I repeat, even if you don’t think you’re qualified for them. GO FOR THE BEST PARKING SPOT.

You can even include jobs that aren’t posted.

Yes, not posted. I applied and got a job that wasn’t posted. I’d seen the job posted a year prior, but wasn’t looking at the time. A year later, I wrote an application to a recruiter at the organization (who I found on LinkedIn) asking about the job and basically pitching myself. I knew I’d be a great fit, and I knew they still had that department, and thus a need for those roles. So, I basically applied in a roundabout way. The timing and my initiative worked out. They were looking but hadn’t posted about it yet. Long story long, I got that job. So, even if they don’t have a job posted, but you know you’d be a great fit for them, list them anyway.

Write down 2-5 jobs that you’d love to do, then given them 2 points for every “must have” requirement and 1 point for each “nice to have”. As you connect with people and interview (#5) you’ll learn more about the work and the points you assign them may change.

Your bull’s eye will be the job (or prospective job) with the most points. That’s the one you want to focus all of your energy on getting. But first, search your network (#5).

5. (30-60 mins) Now that you’re focused on the bull’s eye, brainstorm connections within your network to that place/person.

Who are 2-5 people you admire in your network who may have a connection there? Who are mentors you’ve worked with in the past? What friends do you know that may have worked there in the past, or know someone who did?

These should be people you admire and actually want to maintain a relationship with. In other words, you’re being sincere -- your dream job and true heartfelt aspirations deserve sincerity. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with another job you don’t really like.

Search your LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends, and ask your personal network (past colleagues, mentors, former or current classmates, etc.) if they have a connection or know someone at the organization. Whatever you do, don’t send a mass email -- frankly, that’s in poor taste, and you’re too graceful and savvy for that.

You can send something like this:

SUBJECT: You & [Your #1 Organization/Person You Want to Work With]

Hi [Name],

How are you? How’s [insert an anecdote or memory from the last time you connected -- actually take the time to connect and catch up. This is someone you admire, don’t take their -- or your -- time for granted.]

I’m well, but looking to make a professional shift. I’m looking at working with [Your #1 Organization/Person You Want to Work With] because the work they do aligns with my professional aspirations [and any other reasons it’s your #1]. I know you [insert why you think they’re relevant like -- “I know you worked in that industry” or “I noticed on LinkedIn that you used to work there”].

Do you have any thoughts you’d be willing to share about [Your #1 Organization/Person You Want to Work With]?

Thank you,

[Your Name]


6. Follow-up

Talk to people who’ve offered their time. Ask them sincere questions and be respectful of their time, knowledge and connections. Thank them and follow-up.

I’ve recommended people to jobs, written letters, shared references, and sometimes I don’t hear how it went. I felt used. (I was guilty of not following up myself, until I was on the other end and realized how used I felt when people I shared connections and insight with didn’t follow-up to let me know how things went. I really wanted them to succeed, but them not letting me know how it turned out made me feel taken advantage of.)

Always, follow-up and thank them sincerely -- no matter what the outcome is. Let them know you appreciate them and their time. After all, this is someone you respect and admire so following-up is only the respectful thing to do.


7. Apply (to only ONE job at a time!)

See how this is #7. Look at all the work that happens before this. See how different it is to apply knowing what you actually want not the other way around and just settling for what’s out there.

Also, rather than applying to a TON of jobs, only apply to one job (to the best of your ability) at a time. In other words, treat your search as if you’re only applying to 1 job, and only one job. That way, the quality of your application is instantly elevated and you’ll apply to the best of your ability -- and I mean thee (2 e’s) best of your ability.

For example, I’ve submitted extra materials with tailored examples to show that I can do the work. I once created a video resume for a specific job (it was for a film company so it made sense). I also sent extra sample calculations and proposals that weren’t required, just to illustrate that I can not only do that work, but that I had ideas already cooking for how I’ll solve their problems. After all, to put it simply, a job is a set of problems that someone needs solving. If you show that you can solve the problems, the better.

Do that by putting together a luxury-worthy tailored application. Think of service at a place that’s “mass market” (like Walmart or Costco) versus a place that’s tailored to you (like your favorite cafe, where they know your name and your order). Be like their favorite cafe -- the one that knows their needs, hopes, fears, wants, and can solve their problem even before you start working there. In other words, be the luxury brand they must have, not the generic brand/resume that could just do the job. Show them you can excel at the job.  

In order to create a kick ass application, you need to focus on making your application steller, and to do that only work on one application at a time before moving on to the next.   

Apply to what you actually want as much as you and your circumstances can muster! You’ve worked too long and hard to get to where you are today, there is no reason you should settle for unhappiness.


8. Repeat.

Repeat #3-#6 until you’ve found a great fit.

Finding a job is like dating -- it’s not a one-way street. You both need to be happy.


9. Negotiate.

Once you're interviewing, negotiate your salary + benefits + vacation time, etc.! See this for tips.


10. Just cuz...I really just want to have a number #10 on this list because it makes it seem better than ending at #9. :)

So...let me know in the comments if this is helpful, are you looking for work, where are you stuck? Did you use this in a job search? Let me know so I can create other work to help you!

I’ve done this and earned most of the jobs I’ve sought. Otherwise, it’s been their loss ;)


What are you waiting for?

There is no such thing as “the powers that be” -- you are the power that is. You are what you are seeking and waiting for. Be and do the things that you daydream of and let yourself run wild with fear as you make them happen. Yes, fear.

It’s okay to be afraid, and then just do it anyway.

You are the manifesto you are seeking in everyone else.

Do not let anyone tell your story, do not look for it in anyone else, do not let anyone give you a doubt in what your story is or who you are. Tell your story to yourself -- in the actions you take and in the priorities you express through those actions, in the dungeonlike cavern that you keep your dreams locked in.

Let your dreams explode out into the world like a phoenix blazing with the energy of a supernova.

Be vigilant, be wild, be free within yourself. Be free within the skin that binds you and the body and mind that keep you caged. Not only do you hold the key you are the key.

The next action you take after reading this is the key.

Keep going in the direction of your dreams. No one is there to help you, but you.

You’re already you -- but you just don’t see it yet. Go go go and shine on fearless with the art, poem, book, writing, idea, innovation, philosophy, dance, love, film, design that burns within you.

One day, one lifetime, one year from now -- you decide when is right. But no matter what, it’s alright right *right now*.

Close the computer, the phone, the tablet and just let yourself be free. Let yourself be unshackled from a plan from thinking from feeling like you have to go and figure it out and be out of debt, and be a millionaire, and be skinny, and be something you’re just not right now. You don’t have to wait for any of that.

Start now.

You can be wild and aimless and “fail” or wild and aimless and “succeed” but make no mistake, only you can decide what those two terms mean. Only you can let yourself be free.

So close the facebook/twitter/instagram quote and move from consuming to creating. Create like a wild and fierce wind. Let your heart dance in that way it once did.

Stop waiting, and manifest forth the phoenix, rise above the ashes of your insecurity, and go boldly in the direction of your dreams.

After you take just one small step you will gain momentum. Just one.

You -- as you are, have everything you need to be your best self.

Where will you be one year/month/week/day from now? Still wishing you were doing that thing? Or so caught up in it that you won’t even feel the year pass?

What are you waiting for?


Don't follow your dreams. Make your dreams follow you. 

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. -E.E. Cummings

Before (me 2 years ago) = Analysis Paralysis

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 Two years ago, I self-diagnosed my brain with a serious case of analysis-paralysis. A condition I also like to call the "Once X happens, then the time will be right to follow my dreams/be happy/do that thing I've been meaning to do/[Insert whatever else you're putting off]." 

Analysis Paralysis is what happens when you spend more time deciding, and not enough time actually doing. I spent a full year just *deciding* what the name of my new project would be. How much did that get done? NOTHING. 

Taking action can be scary, but it can also be thrilling, exhilarating, and refreshing. 


What have you been over analyzing? What can you do right now to move forward on it (besides planning or deciding)!? Start now!


After (me 2 weeks ago) = Boom!


6 years ago I started my side-hustle with a tiny hidden dream that has slowly sprouted and is now blossoming into my greatest joy. 6 years of doubt, day jobs, wondering if it's the "right" thing...of course it is! It's time for a whole new chapter! It's time to dream big, work hard, and make it count! BOOM!  ‪#‎DontBelieveMeJustWatch‬

Analysis Paralysis cured!

"But How?!", you might ask.

Two fundamental actions:

1. Doing: I had a vague idea of what I wanted to spend my time doing (I didn't have a perfect website, target client, etc.) I just had an idea -- taking pictures, and teaching -- and I made the intention to do that every day.

I literally set a stop watch for 5 minutes and did that every day for at least 5 minutes. No deciding, no analysis, just at least 5 pure, glorious, unanalyzed minutes of doing. This grew to more than 5 minutes, but the idea here is to build a habit and without analyzing it. Nike knows best here. 

2. Feeling safe: I faced the root cause of my analysis paralysis = fear. I literally made a list of everything I could think of that could go wrong if I became self-employed. And then, next to each item, I wrote how I would overcome each fear if it happened and what I could do to proactively mitigate it (i.e. getting Health Insurance would be a proactive step to take from going bankrupt should I need to go to the hospital, etc.).

Then, I took all of the proactive steps I could to mitigate the risk, so that I felt safe making the shift to self-employment. I created a list of about 15 things that needed to be true for me to feel safe becoming self-employed, and then I did those things one by one. 

Bottom line: You're already you. Time will pass whether you're ready or not. In a year from now, don't let thinking/deciding be the thing that held you back from a year of manifesting the life you dream of. Go forth. Take actions today that your future you will thank you for.