The Most Effective Job Search Strategy (And How to Find Your Dream Job)

If you asked me to define a start-up six months ago, my answer probably would have been “A company, that’s like… just starting up?"

Today, if you asked me that same question, I’d begin by defining the one I work for now.

I never would've guessed I’d be a “start-up girl” when I began my quest to find a job that fulfilled me and allowed me creative freedom. However, as I watched the universe’s master plan unfold before me, I knew that taking this job was the right decision. “There is no reason not to follow your heart”, Steve Jobs said. And that is exactly what I did. But, following my heart wasn't the only part of this equation.

There was another force at work that led me to this job. Some call it a sixth sense. Napoleon Hill calls it the creative imagination in his best seller, Think and Grow Rich. A good friend refers to this force as following the signs.  Whatever you call it, this was exactly what guided me on journey to Passage, the start-up company that now employs me.

Two months ago, I started a job search.  And by "job search", I mean the mind-numbing submission of resumes and cover letters to LinkedIn and Indeed. It was tedious and it got me nowhere. After a week of fruitless searching, a friend invited me to visit him at a local start-up career fair. My mind immediately flashed back to college students waiting desperately in long lines, forcing their resumes into the hands of strangers with the hopes of one day working for the man.

Despite my uneasiness toward the whole thing, I let go of my ego for a second, realized I had nothing to lose, and went to the fair. Luckily, my fears did not come true; this career fair was not the type I was used to. When I first arrived, I had a conversation with my friend that was incredibly refreshing.  His enthusiasm and energy led me to poke around a bit more than I had anticipated, and I left the fair with a list of companies to research and some closely-guarded optimism.  

The next day, while googling some companies on my list, I stumbled across an article: To Be Young, Smart And Starting a Business in Detroit.  I found something incredibly vulnerable in the way this story’s protagonist, a young start-up founder, turned down a six-figure corporate job to build something he was passionate about.

I then did something I never would've done had I not gone to that career fair… I emailed the dude featured in the article.

I straight up internet-stalked him (in the friendliest way possible, of course).  After I finding his email, I wrote a message praising him and his company. I knew they weren't hiring, but I mentioned my skills and background, in case they needed help with design and marketing. I felt self-conscious “cold calling” this random person who had inspired me so deeply, but something was pulling me in that direction. Then I prayed to the heavens that I hadn't just made a complete fool out of myself, and finally, I waited.

About an hour later, to my surprise, I received an email from the founder, who thanked me for my message and asked if I wanted to come into the office to chat. I drove to downtown Detroit less than a week later, and was greeted by a team of four dudes with standing desks, listening to music. I felt so comfortable and at-home in this environment, and the rest is history.

Apparently, they had planned to start a hiring process for someone with my exact skill set the following week.  I felt blessed when I began work a few days later, surrounded by energetic people who were passionate about what they were doing. And the best part…? My own standing desk.

I know this all sounds very fairytale-ish, but let’s just take a look at all this from a raw, brutally honest point of view.  I never would've gotten to where I am now without following “the signs”. Looking back, it all makes sense:

Of course I went to that career fair to see my friend, which lead me to an afternoon of online research (of course), during which I would find the article that would lead me to meet the founder of Passage just a week before he was looking to hire someone exactly like me...  Of course.

So, the next time you feel like you don’t have enough experience, or you’re not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough, try doing this:

1. Make a List of All of Your Limiting Beliefs.

Write them down on a piece of paper, all of them. Leave nothing out. Write down the words you constantly tell yourself that limit you from getting what you want. Put them out into the universe and get them out of your head, and most importantly, out of your heart.

2. Then, Read Them to Yourself.

3. Then, Laugh. Yes, You Read it Right… Laugh.

These petty, little thoughts keep us from following our signs, using our intuition, and listening to our hearts. They are the obstacles of life, the downward spirals that lead to low self esteem, loss of self, and unhappiness.

Talk to the universe, tell it what you want, and then give it the chance to talk back. You might be surprised what it leads you to.