“I can’t lie. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. There are so many components to landing the kind of job I want. I’m feeling inadequate...like I don’t have the experience I need. There’s all types of advice out there: look for job openings, build your network, reach out to companies, build your skills, do pre-interview projects. It’s so much! Well, I finished one part of this dream job application. It’s probably a long shot, but it’s good practice. They’re looking for superstars, and to be completely honest, I don’t know if I’m there yet. Wahhh.” - 10/4/16
I journaled the above 4 months ago, when I’d finally reached peace and stillness in Tampa after several months of constantly moving around. It was time to settle into one place and make career moves.
I wasn’t looking for just any relevant job; I really wanted to work where I’d strengthen my digital skills and learn from experts, somewhere I'd feel purposeful -- with a kick ass company that also paid well -- but the job hunt had me stressin’. I didn’t think I was capable of landing this ideal opportunity. “I’m feeling inadequate.”
The very next day, however, I got it together. “Kristen -- Don’t fucking disqualify yourself.” I literally had to write it down and remind myself.
There were two key figures to whom I owe my overnight attitude switch: my mom and my great friend Taylor.
Talking with them reaffirmed things for me. My mom helped me come up with a job search strategy schedule that would make it easier for me to keep calm and not feel so overwhelmed with all I wanted to do. Later that day, Taylor and I had a conversation that brought back all of my self confidence. It was the first of many regular weekly calls where we encouraged each other, exchanged ideas, and updated each other on our goals and progress. That conversation was a highlight of my week.
I found a job I really really wanted to land, working 100% remotely for a popular entrepreneurship site. The application was lengthy -- I spent the whole week crafting perfect answers. I’d researched the company’s expectations for hours and felt confident when I hit “send,” despite initially doubting my experience and my background. At that point, I knew I had what it took to get noticed.
They never got back to me.
But. Two days after sending in that app, I got word from an international job listing site I'd been using that a Malaysia-based company was interested in my resume/CV. I checked out their Youtube videos and website, and fell so deeply in love at first site (whoops - I mean sight).
"This is exactly where I belong."
“I’m feeling golden & electrified about this application I sent in for Mindvalley. I realized I’ve done a lot of creating -- more than I give myself credit for. I know my work will land me in the right places. This is such a dream opportunity, so I’m just praying the universe returns the positive energy I try to dispense.” - 10/13/16
Throughout the application and interview process, I continued to journal more affirmations. “I’m a tad nervous, but mostly confident. Actually, I’m 100% confident. This is all me. I don’t think there could be a more perfect fit for me at this moment. I truly believe this is where I will be - I GOT THIS.”
The interesting thing is, my application for this wouldn’t have been as strong if it weren’t for the first “dream job” I applied to -- the application that apparently ended up in a black hole somewhere in cyberspace. Even though I wasn’t too confident my background aligned -- I still made it my mission to research and respond as thoroughly as possible.
Fortunately, by going for it anyway, I learned the art of creating your own narrative and framing your traits/accomplishments/experience in a way that appeals to a company’s core values and requirements. So when the real, even dreamier opportunity popped up days later, I was more than prepared to demonstrate why I was the right fit for this role.
Could the timing have been more perfect?
I had almost 0 doubt that I’d make it here to Malaysia. From the jump, it felt right -- like everything in my life so far had led to this. I knew I was going to seize the opportunity. This company, my interviews, and the prospect of working there thrilled me like no other job opening ever had.
If I could offer my humble words of advice to any fellow dream job seekers, I'd suggest remembering these 4 essential points:
1. Self learn.
You better be self-learning. Choose a skill/niche of interest and learn the f*ck out of it. I can’t emphasize this enough. There are podcasts, Youtube videos, books, blogs, and courses on just about everything. Start off with free and inexpensive resources, and then invest in quality educational classes as needed. Hone in and deepen your knowledge on a specific skill set. Some of the info you consume will be boring, no doubt, but if it will help you build the necessary skills to get you in your dream company, dedicate yourself and push through.
2. Learn yourself.
Get in touch with your true career desires. Shed whatever external expectations were placed on you to have a specific title within a specific kind of company. What would it take for you to wake up and actually look forward to going to work? If you don’t quite know, it’s okay! Start with writing down what you like and dislike about your current career/job environment. Talk to people who love their careers and find out why they love what they do. Research all different kinds of companies. Know that you do not have to settle. School never really gave us an adequate view of just how many options we have career wise. You can literally be successful at anything. You’ll never know if you don’t take initiative to explore what’s out there.
3. Make like Nike.
Speaking of initiative -- just freaking do it. If your current job isn’t giving you the purpose or the kind of experience that’s going to lead you closer to your dream role, then go out and create that experience for yourself on the side. What are you waiting on? Start a passion project, partner with someone on a business idea, freelance, get active in your community, intern, find a small business to help out -- don’t limit yourself! START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE.
4. Keep a squad of real ones around.
Man, this is so necessary. You need people who genuinely care for you to remind you of your greatness when your path gets murky, or to hold you accountable for the goals you set, or to provide an ear and genuine feedback -- or all of the above, really. Nurture these relationships and make sure they work both ways. Within your community or closest group of friends/family, cultivate a space of honesty, trust, encouragement, and mutual benefit.
Keep the Vision
When you have a clear understanding of what you want from your life and career -- the bigger picture, the vision -- lean toward only what aligns with that. Go for it. Go hard for it. Life will throw you curveballs, and plans will pretty much always change, but remain committed to your mission.
An overarching goal I made in 2015 was to “create a life that resembles the pages of my favorite travel magazines.” The next year, I also made a goal of helping people create a life they love by taking advantage of the world wide web.
Each step toward both of those goals -- running an online store, moving to Asia, traveling solo, receiving digital marketing certifications, freelancing, making connections with people around the globe, contributing toward online and offline communities, consuming hellllaaaa educational content -- has helped me reached this next, crucial milestone: a year-long opportunity abroad, with a most amazing company, in a role that directly aligns with my goals!
I’m so so so ecstatic to be here, both intimidated and invigorated by this new experience. At this moment, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
“Success = a series of small wins.”
Keep the faith. Keep the vision. Keep killing doubts. Keep climbing. Keep winning.