You’ve had your eye on an awesome company. It’s known as a best place to work for its creative environment, industry leadership, advancement opportunity, pay or something else that is a priority for you. You begin to dream.

There are a few jobs you know you can do, and one position in particular you’d love to land at this great company. A friend works there, and has passed your resume to the hiring manager. But, still you haven’t gotten an interview.

What gives? And, more importantly, is there something more you can do to get noticed?

The Trick To Landing Opportunities

Just after a speech I delivered for #UltimateSoftware in Philadelphia, a gentleman asked, “What’s the trick to getting hired in sales at Ultimate Software?”

“Trick?” I asked.

“Yeah, I’ve been trying to get a job with this company for a while and I haven’t quite figured it out,” he shared.

Looking around, I asked if he’d talked to any of the sales professionals milling around the room. “Maybe consider asking one of them what company they’re trying to land in Philly right now,” I suggested, “Then, make connections and find a way to help them land a contract. You’ll be doing the job you want you want them to hire you to do.”

(Side note: while this approach may not work for higher-level positions, it can be used with many entry-level positions. Once you’re in, repeat the process as you make your way into the opportunities you crave.)

Getting Paid To Do What You Love

As he was nodding his head, I shared about how I landed my first opportunity with Ultimate Software.

“While learning how to swim in my mid-thirties, I’d often become aware of life lessons while struggling to get across the pool. When this happened, I’d record a quick video next to the pool, and then share on social media. My hair was a mess, I had goggle eyes and the video was often shaky because I was holding my phone as I recorded. These videos were far from perfect, but they were fun to do. A few weeks into posting videos, I received a request from Ultimate Software to speak.”

Having fully captivated his attention, I went on to share how months before I landed a single opportunity to speak on giving and receiving candid, compassionate feedback, I worked with a speaker coach, wrote the speech, and then performed it hundreds of times—for my cats! Each time I deliver this speech, I take it back to my coach and pay him to help me improve. I’ve been working at this for fifteen years. A friend of mine says that in a couple more years I’ll be an overnight success.”

How To Create Your Own Opportunities

Said simply, there is no better way to nab the opportunities you crave than to show up and do the work you want to do whether you’re being paid or not. By focusing on serving your passion, you cannot help but put the energy in motion to capture the opportunity.

Here’s a simple 7-step process you can use to get the opportunities you crave—

  1. Identify the opportunity you want.
  2. Figure out what skills you need to develop.
  3. Start developing those skills.
  4. Build relationships with people who need help in the area you’ve identified in step one.
  5. Show up and contribute, whether you’re being paid or not.
  6. Strengthen your skills as you demonstrate your ability to create results.
  7. Appreciate the people who help you learn, refine and gain opportunities.

The key is to make a decision about the opportunity you want to land, and then stick to it no matter what. It’s not always easy to fail, which is necessary for progress, when you’re doing meaningful work, but it’s worth every bit of effort.

Your Experiences With Landing Opportunities You Crave

Struggling to land an opportunity? Or, have you ever landed an opportunity this way? I’d love to hear your story, and I’m delighted to share some specific ideas for your unique situation. Pop me an email at Misti at Misti Burmeister dot com.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister

P.S. Are you at your wits end with an employee? Would you like to have them walk out of your office saying, “Gosh, thanks so much for this conversation.”? Email me directly at Misti at MistiBurmeister dot com for a ten-minute complementary conversation.