We’ve all heard the ubiquitous quote of doing what you love and loving what you do. In fact, we’ve heard it so much it’s almost become an urban legend. Does it actually happen? And do people get a career happy ending by loving their work and getting paid for it? The good news is yes it’s possible!
By Elaine Dong
From our experience in various industries, we’ve put together a quick guide to secure your dream job.
This is true for any job, but when you are gunning for the job wherein your passion lies, you have to be even more vigilant. Find ways to get into the industry. Directly, it would be looking at job vacancy ads and approaching headhunting firms that specialise in your chosen job. Otherwise, get creative about making inroads towards your dream career.
Poon Wing Shun was one such motivated individual. He had his heart set on becoming an interior designer but he only realised this after his university studies where he graduated in marketing. Not wanting to go back to school for another four years, he started looking around for jobs at interior design and architecture firms.
Without qualifications, he couldn’t get into them. He would have to find another way. He got a job as a writer in a home decoration magazine. Through the course of work, he not only learned to write about the industry, but also got to meet many industry players. At every chance he got, he attended architecture and interior design conferences meant for the public and media. He made friends and soon wrangled a position with a prominent firm. He is now studying interior design part-time while working on projects at work.
Interning and volunteering are great ways of getting a foot in the door and learning about a job hands on. Newspapers and magazines take in interns all the time. So do most professional firms. Most of these internships are not advertised though, so you need to be conscientious about it. List down the companies you would like to work for, and send out query letters to their human resources manager. A job application may not necessarily get you the attention you want, as there may not be open positions or your application may just be one among hundreds.
An internship query, however, will get looked at. For the company, it means getting in help at a low rate, and for a limited time period. Internships are usually unpaid or paid minimally. You’ll get some meal and travelling allowances. But what it offers is a chance for bosses to get to know you. If they like your work, you have a high chance of being asked to stay on as permanent staff. You would have jumped the queue on the hundreds of job applications that are still gathering dust on the HR manager’s desk.
The same goes for volunteering. Michelle was interested in getting into retail, and mall management was where she wanted to get her experience. She had applied to a few prestigious malls, but was told there were no vacancies. She didn’t want to settle for lesser malls as she wanted to learn from the most successful ones. Her chance came when she went for a weekend bazaar at an urban mall and saw they were looking for volunteers to run the next bazaar. She immediately signed up. She volunteered on three bazaars before she finally got her chance, when the retail operations manager was so impressed with her work attitude that she offered her a position in her team.
Everyone can say they have a hobby, but only the exceptional ones stand out. If you like to bake, become the most creative baker out there. If you like to write, hone your craft. If you like music, become the best at your instrument. If you like to sing, become the best singer. In this age of social media, YouTube and instant stars, we have seen many people who are good at what they do, but they stand alongside thousands of others who are just as good.
In every field, there is only a small handful at the very top, with masses at the bottom. To stand out in your talent or hobby, you have to be prepared to rise to the very top. Once you do, you will then have the power to create a path that no one else has walked before.
Michelle Phan carved her career by sheer hard work and creativity. When she started her YouTube channel giving makeup tutorials at www.michellephan.com in 2005, she never thought she’d become a beauty entrepreneur, YouTube star, author and makeup educator.