Finding Your Dream Job, is it a reality?

Recently I have seen numerous posts on soc media by people applying for over 100 jobs and still not getting the position they want. If this is you STOP! Before you apply for another job listen to this episode.

The best way to get a job you will hate is with the “spray and pray” approach. Applying for every work-from-home job with an opening just to get away from the bedside. Or applying for every opening in your geographical area because you are desperate. 

Desperation stinks and good employers, the ones you want to work for, will not hire desperate. They want qualified people who will fit in well with their current team and embrace the company culture.

You may be asking “what is this company culture you speak of?

Company culture includes the mission, vision, and values of the company. What they do, why and how they do it, who they serve, the direction they are going in, and what’s important to them. 

The secret to finding your dream job is to know what you want and to do the research needed to find a company whose culture will give you what you want. 

Let’s look at some EXAMPLES of company culture

Perhaps one of the most well-known examples is Zappos. They offer new hires a monetary incentive to leave the company. They do this because they only want people working for them that REALLY want to be there. People who get the bigger picture and want to be part of something bigger. Not someone who just wants a job.

A better example may be to compare 2 well know companies Walmart and Publix: 

Walmart is known as the Low-Cost Leader. Publix, on the other hand, believes in treating customers like royalty. 

I used to go to the Walmart by my house and every time I would complain:

  • Items were Out of stock
  • Only one or two checkout aisles open 
  • If I couldn’t find an item I would walk around the huge store aimlessly trying to find it. If by some chance I saw an employee and asked them where to find the item 9 times out of 10 they had no idea. 

Ten minutes into town was a Publix. There they had people walking the aisles asking you if you need help finding something. They would open a new checkout lane if a line formed. They had baggers who carefully packed your groceries and took them to your car. 

Walmart prioritized low cost, and Publix prioritized the customer experience. Neither would change for me, but I had a choice. Don’t expect the company you work for to change its culture for you. Instead, find a company that has the culture you will thrive in. 

Before you can know what your dream Company/job looks like, you need to know what you want, what you need, and what you value. 

Do you want to work in a company that values innovation or one that likes to stick with tried and true practices? Ask yourself… 

  • Are you always thinking of ways to do things better and want to work in an environment where you can see these ideas come to life? Or;
  • Are you frustrated every time something on your unit changes?

Is work-life balance important to you or are you looking to climb the career ladder and willing to put in the extra time necessary? 

Are you all about customer service and want to work for a company that values the extra time you take to make sure your patient is satisfied? Or do you love a challenge and have a competitive nature where you would thrive in an environment where you are incentivized for meeting certain metrics? 

It’s important to understand that none of this is good or bad, it just is. It’s important to know what you need now, and that may look very different from what you needed in the past or will need in the future. 

Spend some time doing research

Once you know what you need, you can begin researching hospitals, companies, and organizations. Look for those that align with your values, goals, and needs. These are the organizations you would be happy working for.

I didn’t always know this, I had to learn it the hard way. I was desperate when finding my first 3 jobs. I thought I hated nursing, but the fact was I loved nursing. I loved nursing school, I loved taking care of my patients, and I loved learning and growing in the profession.

I did not love the environments I worked in as a nurse. I did not realize this at the time but, the hospitals’ cultures did not align with my needs, values, and goals.

I finally learned about company culture when I had the opportunity to move out of state. I interviewed and was offered my choice of 3 positions at a large teaching hospital 9 hours away. I was excited to be part of an organization where I would be challenged to grow in my profession. But unfortunately, this was not the right time for my family. So reluctantly I turned down the position. 

A little over a year later my friend called to tell me another hospital system in the same town (she had worked for both) was coming to Pittsburgh to recruit nurses. She convinced me to “just go talk to them”. 

This hospital had a completely different culture. The woman who interviewed me was the manager of the L&D unit (where I wanted to work). She had just filled her 2 open positions with Graduate Nurses and promised me that if I accepted a position in one of their ICUs I could transfer to her L&D unit after a year. I always wanted to work in ICU. I so wanted to jump at the opportunity but shared with her my concern about moving my young family so far away. 

She shared with me that the company culture was very family-friendly. She had conducted interviews with babies playing on a blanket on the floor of her office. This really impressed me. She assured me she was a mom and understood that we were moms first and nurses second. 

She invited me and my family, my Husband and 3 children at the time, to come to visit the hospital. She would put us up in an apartment and let me visit the hospital and units, and let my family visit the city. 

I ended up taking the position and was extremely happy working there. True to her word, after a year I got my dream position in L&D. By that time I was so happy in my current position in ICU that it was a tough decision to leave; but L&D was my dream job and I had to take the opportunity. 

I loved my time there and was happy. But then it was time to move again. 

By this time I had learned about company culture. The city I was moving to had several hospitals to choose from ranging from large academic institutions to smaller community hospitals. 

This was before the internet was as fast and informative as it is today, so although I could do some research online I also asked my network about the various hospitals’ cultures. Based on the information I received, I was able to narrow it down to two hospitals. And as luck would have it, I was able to do a travel assignment at one of them. This was a great way for me to try out the hospital without committing. 

After working my 13-week travel assignment I ended up accepting a position at the other hospital. Again, I was very happy there. 

It’s important to mention that the company culture is not just related to the hospital system and management. It also determines your coworkers. These hospital systems hired people who aligned with their company culture. My coworkers were also people who shared my values. 

Identifying the places you feel you would enjoy working at is only the 1st step

Once you decide where you want to work, you need to work at getting the position. 

Don’t wait for an opening. If there are job postings for positions you are interested in great, go ahead and apply. But if there are not, don’t let that stop you! 

Many positions are filled before you ever see them posted. Some organizations have to post all open positions, even if they have a candidate in mind. And many others fill positions without ever listing them. 

Find out who the manager or director of the department or unit you want to work on is. This can be done by using your network or by searching their website or LinkedIn. Then reach out to them. Let them know you are interested in working for them and why. Highlight what attracted you to them and why you think you would be a great fit. Also, tell them how you will add value to their team and organization. And finally, attach a CV/Resume.

If you don’t hear anything don’t let this stop you. Wait an appropriate amount of time and reach out again letting them know you know their busy and your previous communication may have gotten lost. Share all of the same info again (make it easy for them). 

You can keep doing this, letting them know that if they don’t agree that you would be a great fit to reply back letting you know and you will stop contacting them. 

After not receiving a reply from a hiring manager I have even reached out and called them. This resulted in an impromptu interview and job offer! Remember, these people are busy, by reaching out to them you are making it easy for them. 

And Finally, Interviews Work Both Ways

The final test is the interview. Remember, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. If you have done your job well selling yourself as the ideal candidate they will be selling themselves to you. 

Most people hate the question, “do you have any questions for me?” at the end of the interview. What do you ask? 

Here are some examples…

Ask, how do they ensure the mission, vision, and values are held to? Then ask specific questions related to the specific mission, vision, and/or values that are important to you… 

  • “I noticed your company values work-life balance, how is this demonstrated?” Or, 
  • “Your company is known for innovation, can you tell me about some recent innovations?” Or, 
  • “Customer service is important to your organization, how do you measure this?”
  • If you are looking to move up, ask, “What are some opportunities for growth within your organization?”

There you have it! The secret to landing your dream job. It’s really 4 easy steps when you think about it. 

  1. Figure out what’s important to you NOW
  2. Research hospitals, companies, and organizations to discover their culture. Think outside the box with this one. There are many opportunities for nurses outside of hospitals, don’t limit yourself.
  3. Reach out to the managers of the departments of the organizations you identified as the ones you would like to work for.
  4. Interview them.