I had a conversation with a friend recently. We were discussing our children and their budding careers.

Her daughter was a psychology major in college. She has a passion for working with children especially troubled youth.

She has applied for jobs with other agencies and some of her ideal employers are not currently hiring. So what should she do?

One option would be for her to stick it out at her current job. There is nothing wrong with working a job to provide for you and your family. But if you want more than to just make it through the workday, you have to take action.

Stacey may not be able to acquire her dream job right now through conventional means, but she can certainly get creative.

When you’ve submitted 100 resumes and stalked Monster, Indeed and Linkedin with no luck what else can you do?

As business, communication and our technology continue to evolve, so should our methods approaching our careers. Here are a few strategies to get you a bit closer to your dream job.

Follow the company on social media

There are very few organizations that do not have a social media presence these days. Follow the companies you want to work for. This is just as valuable as the old school methods of researching companies we’ve done in the past. 

By following and engaging with them on social media, you learn about their priorities, what they stand for and potentially when new opportunities arise.

If you engage on their posts, you just may get lucky and connect with someone on the inside. You never know!

Work for free!

That’s right I said it. Everyone wants to work and get paid. But it may not always be the current option at your dream employer. You can ask them for internship opportunities. You can also offer to shadow an employee or develop a mentor/mentee relationship.

It couldn’t hurt to volunteer your services as an unpaid assistant as well. This gives you the opportunity to be present and showcase what value you can add to the organization.

Other people are more willing to invest in you when you show what you have to offer, and provide them value.

Find people who work there

There goes that social media again. In addition to following the organizations themselves, look for people who work for the organization.

Although we live in the social media age, human connection is super important. If you find them on Facebook, look for common interests. Reach out and tell them how much you like music or attended the same college. Find an in!

Again, don’t stalk them or be super creepy but do you research. Find a way to connect. Develop a relationship with this person before you ask for anything.

Learn, learn and learn

Once you’re out of school, that doesn’t mean the education stops. Learning should be a continuous process for the rest of your life.

If you are interested in a specific field, learn as much as you can about the industry itself. Read books by experts, take webinars or continuing education courses. Continue to enhance your skill set and your resume. By updating your education, you learn of new ways to connect to your industry or the people in it.

New opportunities may present themselves through the things you learn or the people you meet.

Create it!

The job market is not what it used to be. Working for an organization for 40 years and retiring is not the norm anymore. A great way to get your dream job is to create it.

There are creative ways to do this depending on your industry. You can work freelance or as a consultant for different organizations. The other option is to start your own business, start a blog or create your own product.

Of course the specifics of what your entrepreneurial venture, or the profitability would depend on your industry. But don’t rule it out. Success is what you determine it is for you.

So I’ve laid out a few options to expand your dream job horizons. Your limits only extend as far as you believe they do. Believe in yourself, the unlimited potential and your dreams will come true.

Originally published at www.karimamiller.com