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How to become world-class at finding your dream job

Ramit Sethi

So I was sitting there on the floor of my dorm room, listening to the recruiter tell me about the salary they wanted to pay me, and I started cracking up.

In college, when I first started seriously looking for jobs, I decided to become world-class at finding my dream job. I wanted to be able to reliably secure the best internships and jobs (even un-advertised ones), including mastering interviewing, salary negotiation, and most importantly, deciding what I wanted to do with my life.

Since I’m a weirdo and I tend to go overboard with certain things, I ended up having a series of hilarious experiences in the job hunt.

One company I was talking to, a very large software company, extended me a job offer for their RDP, aka their Rotational Development Program, which was for people they identified as having high potential. I’m sitting there, a college student on the floor of my dorm room (my bed was too messy to sit on), and the recruiter tells me about the job offer, salary, benefits, and all that.

Then she added something about their “ranking” system. “You’ll be graded on a scale of 1-5 here,” she said. “Most people get a 3, but our RDP employees tend to get a 3.5. Almost nobody gets a 4, and nobody in RDP has ever gotten a 5.”

Once she hung up the phone, the first thing that went through my head was, “I WILL GET THAT 5!!!” I almost shook my fist in determination, like I was about to go to battle.

And then I started cracking up. What the hell was wrong with me? Why was I so determined to get a 5? What is a 5, anyway? A random number given to me by a random person that tells me how valuable I am? I found it absurd that I got so hot and bothered about a ranking system — and the company knew that I would do just that.

See, if you put a problem in front of smart people, they’ll often lunge at it like rabid dogs. But they often won’t consider if they really SHOULD be tackling that problem at all.

I ended up getting multiple job offers from some of the top companies in the world. And over the next few weeks and months, I want to share some of the techniques on how I did it.

But first, I want to know the exact questions you have about finding your own dream job.

Do you have a dream job already? If so, tell me about it. If not, why not?

What do you want to learn most about? Finding your “passion” (what is that, anyway?). How to write a winning resume? The best techniques for negotiating salary? Answers to the toughest interview questions?

Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you Wednesday with some answers. The more specific your question is, the more likely I’ll answer yours!

See you Wednesday.

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  1. avatar

    Ramit, I would definitely like to learn about how you wrote a winning resume and how you followed up with companies to land so many entry level jobs. I have read about how to stand out but most of that information seems to apply to freelance jobs. Is it even possible to stand out for a vague job title like “Associate”?

  2. avatar

    I want to know how one who has mainly right-brain interests (psychology and writing) can survive with minimal brain damage until he has his own business. 🙂

    What is passion? For me, passion means 3 things:
    1. an activity that I would do despite of being tired
    2. an activity that I would do even for free
    3. an activity that puts me in the flow state (the state where you perceive that times flies by, because you like it, instead of going slower, because you loathe it)

  3. avatar

    Whats the best way to introduce yourself to an organization/business, even if they’re not hiring, with the goal being they know you exist and that if “something opens up” they will remember and call you?

    In other words, getting those “un-advertised” jobs.

    (I have an idea it will involve getting in their heads- possibly showing them how you would solve a problem they might be facing?)

  4. avatar

    First, I’ll define my dream job.
    •Earning potential of 6 figures within 2-5 years
    •Work week is 30-40 hours on a flexible schedule
    •Amazing colleagues who are supportive and positive
    •Challenged daily and forced to live in my stretch zone


    What are the specific first 3 steps to take to get yourself noticed in front of the decision makers (not necessarily the HR dept) of top notch companies?

    What is the best way to demonstrate tons of value to a company that you dream of working at?

    What is the best way to persuade your dream company to give you a chance even though you have limited to no experience in the particular field you want to work in?

  5. avatar

    You’ve already covered the big questions but there is still I would more I would like to learn.

    Using your tips helped me land a few great jobs here at the university. I now help friends out by passing along my old job offers.

    Even still, there’s a huge % of people that just do not have the skills, education, or even valuable work experience to aid their jump into better paying “job security”.

    Ramit, If you were in that pool, how would you upsell yourself enough to get out that hole?

  6. avatar

    I want to know one would go about changing one’s career. Suppose you work at job X but you want to switch to related job Y. Everybody wants to hire you for X since you have experience in that but you want Y. How do you go about switching?

  7. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    So far most of these questions are good, but vague. You need to be WAY MORE SPECIFIC.

    Talk about what you’ve already tried, what’s worked/not worked, and why you think that is. Talk about the 3 options you have going forward and be specific about which you’re leaning towards.

    Vague questions like “How can I do X?” always get vague answers. I’d rather answer something particular to your specific situation.

  8. avatar

    How do I use LinkedIn for networking and job application? Have folks been successful using cold-calling techniques (the LinkedIn equivalent would be an InMail) contacting a recruiter? Let me explain.

    I have been working at my current job for three years, and am looking to move to a different company. I am doing exciting, challenging work at my current company – the problem is, my current workplace is in government. I have a Masters from a prestigious public university in the MidWest and know I am great at what I do, but I am concerned that the popular sentiment these days about government workers – lazy, unproductive, overpaid (ha! as if) may have stuck and I may be getting shut out before I can even get an interview.

    My goal is to get into a global non-financial services firm to get the chance to do a different kind of financial analysis. How can I tailor my approach via social media and networking?

    What I am already doing – Over the past few months, I have trained myself in a few software packages that will give me an edge over others. I am currently working on publishing my LinkedIn profile publicly, getting feedback on the language and content and considering putting together a personal website as well. I also plan to ramp up my offline networking presence, and contact select former coworkers to see what’s out there.

    What I will not do – I am very sure that if I simply send my resume out into the online ocean, however well-written and well-edited it may be, I will get zero responses. So, that’s out of the question. Schmoozing at conferences is not my forte either, and while I will practice it to get better, I am not banking on it as my sole way to a new job. I am also a little wary of getting jobs solely by reference. I got my current job via reference from a VP, then the VP left, and I’ve had to deal with some office politics as a result. If I can avoid it, and get in solely on merit, I would prefer it. (I also welcome your thoughts on this..)

    I want to see what’s there to the LinkedIn phenomenon, and would like to hear if you have any strategies / suggestions that have been successful.

  9. avatar

    “You need to be WAY MORE SPECIFIC.”

    I’ve never been good at math, but my parents insisted that I would go get a computer science degree, because they saw that I’m good with computers. I could handle some of it, because I had the experience, but I couldn’t handle all the math that was involved in the process, so I dropped out. Now I see it as a failure, knowing that I wasted all these years on a path that wouldn’t bring me satisfaction.

    By default, I’m very much interested in topics like Psychology, Marketing, Writing, I can do this kind of stuff all day, without external motivators. I could also do computer stuff that doesn’t involve math, like html and css, but only in a “carrot and stick” fashion, and the thought of doing it for a prolonged period of time gets me depressed.

    Now I’m at the point of switching paths, and I see it as an advantage to know exactly what I’m passionate about, but I don’t know which options do I have in the first place, given the situation.

    So my main concern right now is finding out a job where I can use my passions to get an income that allows me to survive without relying on my parents.

    Thank you for reading this far. 🙂

  10. avatar

    I am currently looking to seriously reduce my workload, because at the moment I am pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in addition to a demanding full-time job and am very close to a burn out.

    There is a special kind of scholarship in my country for people who are studying and have been employed for at least 3 years (which I have). Basically, you get 700 bucks a month (after taxes) and are allowed to earn about the same amount in addition to the scholarship, everything above that threshold you’d have to pay back at the end of the year.

    At my current hourly rate, that would come down to ~ 10 hrs / week, which is way less than any full-time or even part-time job available. The minimum is usually 20-25 hours. While I could just take on some random job at a bar, I would really like to improve my experience in my professional field (software development), so how would you negotiate in such a case?

    Scenario A: Take on a new job and convince them to employ me for 10 hrs / week.
    Scenario B: Talk to my current boss about reducing my workload to 10 hrs / week. (Less likely, they have some kind of “min 30 hrs / week” policy, but possibly not set in stone).

    I guess that should be detailed enough and I’m really looking forward to your suggestions! 🙂

  11. avatar
    David Erdos

    Three questions I have:

    – How can I make my resume and cover letter AMAZING?
    – Should I set up informational interviews with people at a company before applying?
    – Would it be beneficial to email some of the top managers/CEO ask a few specific questions about the company and learn about the specific challenges they are currently facing?

    I watched the resume boot-camp with Penelope Trunk that you had on your blog, and found it helpful and applied some of the techniques discussed to my resume. But it didn’t mention a cover letter, and I’m more interested to hear what you have to say about what makes a resume great.

  12. avatar


    I’m looking forward to semi-annual reviews at my firm, and hoping to ask for a raise at that point. I’m planning to justify the raise by showing performance superior to my peers, increased responsibility and scope over the last six months, and a sharp uptick in my own talent base (as a programmer).

    The caveat is that I work in finance and from what I’ve heard, compensation is typically only discussed annually. Would asking for (and either getting or being refused) a raise at this time of the year hurt or help me during the bonus process? Do you have any tips regarding salary and bonus negotiation regarding ibanking / finance?

  13. avatar

    Am I in my dream job now? No way. Why is that? Because I’m stuck in this town til my husband finishes his master’s degree, and I just finished my undergrad in marketing in May. I’ve attempted to find jobs that are in the city about an hour and a half away that does have more opportunities, but those either require much more experience than I have, don’t pay enough to offset the gas expenses (yes I did ask about telecommuting options and was told no), or are commission only.

    My dream job would be a place with a flexible 40 hr work week that paid around $65,000 a year (Cost of living is very low here—you could easily support a family of 4 on this and live in a pretty good area of the city) and involved analyzing market research.

    To my question:
    I know all the career guides say to network to find a job. How are we supposed to do that if our network consists of friends from college (22 year old recent grads who are at the bottom of their company’s totem pole), and a lot of retired people–half of the companies they worked for don’t even exist anymore (and the ones that do have moved their operations out of this area)? Also, how do I get over the feeling that networking is “cheating”. Those that were from well-off families are more likely to have a relative who knows CEO’s, VP’s and the like, while those of us who weren’t do not.

  14. avatar

    r me is how to find out where I have the potential to be really, really good at.
    I’m 21, so have done a fair amount of soul searching already, but that didn’t get me really far. What I have done is identified a couple of “areas” that I have been interested in consistently over the last couple of years.
    These areas are:

    a) Writing
    b) Acting
    c) Photography
    d) Programming

    More Details on

    a) I have been writing for a long time, but not in a consistent way. I have folders (digital and paper) full of stuff that I’ve written or thought about writing, but never submitted anything anywhere. I’ve started a couple of blogs that I’ve then abandoned. Reason for that is that while I have opinions on everything, the written word demands a level of insight from me personally that most of the time I don’t think I got something valuable to say. I am not going to write posts like “10 ways to do XYZ”.
    b) That started 10 years ago and hasn’t let loose since. I’ve been to Los Angeles (I live in Germany) for a month at an acting school and really liked it. One of the teachers told me that I looked “happy and right” on the stage. As much as I like to hear that, I know that they have a conflict of interest (money) and I am still afraid of taking the leap to really pursue this. Mainly because my efforts in the area are not as big as they probably should be. I guess the point is: this makes me scared shitless.
    c) Got into photography roughly three years ago and I regularly get compliments from friends and strangers for my pictures. But I assume this is just another case of the “Craigslist Penis Effect” at work. Most people just take shitty pictures. I also don’t like how most “commercial” photography looks, so I don’t know if I could make a living in that area.
    d) Has fascinated me since I’ve been in contact with computers (basically: forever) but in the past I have never stuck to it for a longer time. I have tons of ideas for apps and just yesterday spent 6 hours installing Ruby, Rails and Mysql which was longer than I would have liked it to be, but that didn’t stop me from trying until it worked.

    What blocks me from pursuing

    a) The fear of having nothing meaningful to say and sounding like one of the wannabe cool-kids that write on the internet. I want to contribute something, not put more shit into the world.
    b) Not knowing if I have the talent necessary to make a meaningful/significant income, if I’d enjoy it if I had to do it as a job. Lacking support from my parents.
    c) I am bewildered by the idea of telling beautiful people how to move and look. I don’t like most commercial photography, it doesn’t look “real” enough for me and I don’t know if I could make any money with that outlook.
    d) Honestly no idea, because technically there are no excuses not to rock it. No one stops me from sitting down at night and cranking out the most amazing programs (except my current lack of skill, obviously). Maybe I think I’m not logical enough or something.

    You’ll notice that these are all basic skills and have nothing to do with what I study at University (Politics and Administration Science).
    I like what I study and have no plans of quitting. I am interested in a lot of other stuff (psychology, mainly), but I know for a fact that I can’t get in. And no, this is not an excuse. I a) tried and b) getting into University works differently in Germany than in the US. We don’t have to write long letters of motivation, we send in our grades from school and get admitted or rejected on that alone. I did well, but not good enough for Psychology or related subjects.

    We learn some management skills at university, but I don’t want to become the third cog from the right on the org-chart, if you know what I mean. I fear that I can’t change the world effectively in a corporate environment. I also have no idea what part of the world I need to change the most.

    There is a lot of “fear” in this post, and I am aware of that.

    You wanted specific questions, so I’ll try:
    How do I find out what I can be really, really good at?
    “Start doing them” is not an answer, because I do. I want to know how to determine in what area/skill/job I can rock the world. I like a)-d) reasonably well and I’m sure I’ll try my hand at a couple of other things to find out what I enjoy doing. But that is not the point. I want to know **what I can be the best at**, what is the skill that I am naturally most predisposed to succeed in. I want to be world class at something and don’t want to waste my time doing irrelevant shit.

  15. avatar

    1) I do want to find my passion. I’ve certainly found some /interesting/ areas I could get a job in, but nothing I’d really prefer over watching some good TV. Nothing that makes me jump out of bed saying “I can’t wait to do X today!”.

    2) How can I find the good jobs? I already understand that most of the best jobs aren’t in job postings- jobs only get posted after all of an employer’s first- and second-degree contacts turn the job down. This is why people often say “it’s all about who you know”.

    How can I find out about good jobs without needing a giant social circle full of employers? How can I look at a company I’d like to work for and approach them asking for employment for a position they aren’t advertising? How can I identify a spot in the company where I could prove myself a value-add when the company doesn’t even see the deficiency clearly enough to take action on it?

    3) How can I learn to negotiate a good salary? I’m terrible at negotiating, and not much better at understanding the bottom-line dollar value I add to a company.

  16. avatar

    Just realized that you didn’t want “How do I do X” questions, since they’re too vague.
    My problem is that I have no idea how to give you a) b) c) choices to help get to the answer of my question, because if I did, I’d have tested them long ago.

    Maybe the most intelligent way to go about it is this:

    Do you think there is a way to find out what someone has the potential to be really good at or not, other than just spending the hours trying?

    If you think there is a way, what is that way?

    If not, based on what I’ve written so far, what skill should I pick to get good at?

  17. avatar

    I have recently become a partner in a new business in Pittsburgh, PA. Both my partner and myself work for a TV production & syndication company on the side. The company we work for, PMI.TV, has allowed us to use their equipment and facilities to start up a recording studio and potential record label. (Official Sound Studios).
    As we have a few clients already, and are doing fairly well, we feel our marketing and advertising skills are lacking. My main question to you is, How can we advertise and get clients to know about our new company when we don’t have a budget? There isn’t a lot of money to spend with newspaper and internet ads, and we are kind of at a stand still with bringing in new clients.
    Since discovering your website, and extremely helpful articles, it has kept me grounded, thinking positive, and has encouraged me to not give into the bigger companies that we are competing with.
    Thank you for your time,
    Gillian R. McLane

  18. avatar
    Ben Hong


    As someone who has searched and scoured the various job sites (e.g., Monster, CareerBuilder, etc), it’s always perplexed me as to how people find that jobs that AREN’T advertised. As far as I’m aware, the only way to find out jobs before the masses discover them online or in the newspaper is to go through networks. So my question is, what happens when you lack the network to do so. How does a person go about finding a job that has not yet been posted?


  19. avatar

    I have my dream job — just trying to figure out how to take it to the next level…

  20. avatar

    RDP = APM at Google?

  21. avatar

    What steps can you take during the interview process to gather some information about whether the work environment has interesting peers, committed mentors, and a generally healthy/innovative work environment?

    Particularly in early career jobs, these things seem to be much more important than whether your salary is slightly above or below average, but they’re the hardest to judge (and sometime seem to shift within the first few months anyway). Is there a way to make it less of a roll of the dice?

  22. avatar

    These are my questions:
    1. How do you define a dream job? Is it based solely on what you are good at or just something that one has always wanted to do?

    2. What are the top 10 things that most people do during the interview(s) that decreases their chances of getting the job they are seeking?

    3. What makes or breaks someone getting their dream job?

  23. avatar

    Personally, I’m not interested in tips on cover letters, resumes, and interviews. I already know that I can nail those things.

    For me, the big thing is…where do you actually find the great opportunity in the first place? The big job sites like Monster feel like a complete waste of time and even the smaller job sites are quickly filled up with spammy work-at-home-no-money-down “positions”.

  24. avatar

    I do pretty well when I get into interviews (I’ve gotten second-rounds or offers that I’ve turned down almost everywhere I’ve interviewed), but the question is what do I include in that first killer request for introduction or email for a company that is tangential to my field but not directly related to my experience, to make sure that I will be heard and responded to, even when the company “isn’t hiring”?

    Things I’ve done: coming up with a strategy presentation for where I think the business is heading (and including the link in my letter), taking the time to take out my connections for coffee to discuss what I’m looking for before I ask them to make an introduction for me, strategic networking for people in my field and outside of it, trips to my target location to scope out the job climate, trips to conferences that are in my target field to network.

    Introductions from my network have always netted benefits in getting interviews, but I need to meet more people in the fields that I want to work in, rather than what I’m working in now. On top of that, I am going to make a geographic change to take advantage of a network that isn’t available to me where I am, but I don’t have the contacts yet to be able to do that.

    Options moving forward: find ways to connect to people that are influential in my target fields, keep applying to jobs in my current field in the new location to build my network in a “safe” way while I find something else, take a blind leap of faith and leave my current job and move (terrible idea).

  25. avatar

    I have a low GPA. How can I get a job at top tier consulting firms or other companies which have a strict GPA cutoff?

  26. avatar

    When I recently changed jobs within my company, I thought I would be smart and have a couple job offers on the table from different divisions so I could negotiate salary an benefits improvements. However, the idea totally backfired because talent management says that it will not negotiate against itself for two positions in the same company. Therefore, I essentially zeroed my bargaining power. I’m sure that there are other organizations that have similar policies, so beware. Any great ways to get around that for the future?

  27. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    My dream job is to be a college professor (of Theater, specifically). I got my undergrad in Theater and have been working as an Executive Assistant since I got out of college. I need to get my masters to teach, but the idea of even more student loan debt kills me. After all, I just got out of credit card debt and am starting to save. Should I just apply to grad schools and then work at getting as many scholarships as possible? The idea that I’m going to be trudging around in an office for years when I could be on the path to my dream job is killing me.

    Thanks, Ramit.

  28. avatar

    I am almost 57 yrs old and I will be working for still quite awhile. Right now I am in an accounts payable job and I really really really don’t like it. Is there anyway to change careers at my age? If so, what info do you need to know to make some suggestions?

  29. avatar

    Hi Ramit,
    It seems to me that the trend is moving away from a person having one “dream job” which will lead to a life-long career, but instead to several “niche” careers to fulfill multiple passions. Most of my friends (and myself included) have several things they want to do with their lives, so the challenge becomes the timing. How to decide which career path to go with, and when? If that makes sense… And finally, after that choice has been made, where to look for opportunities? What resources did you use during your search? Everyone hates the “black hole of HR” online applications and I assume you found more creative ways. Looking forward to reading about them!

  30. avatar

    I know what job I want. There are no openings in sight right now. I want them to WANT to create a job just for me.

  31. avatar

    Ramit, I want to know how the f to find my passion and what does that really freakin’ mean anyhow (I’m sure you have a good answer for this).

  32. avatar

    How do I find comparable job opportunities in locations I want to live?
    How do I address relocation fees with that company?
    How would I build a resume to acquire this opportunity?

  33. avatar
    David Silvernail

    I am in a good job, but I’m looking for something better. I want to make sure I’m not wasting time on my search. I want to know what works, and what wastes my time.

    I sent my resume to a friend who hires engineers at his job. He told me to rewrite my resume in the 3rd person voice, and said that is the standard method. Having not heard of this rule before, I would love some clarification on the preferred tense and voice of resumes.

  34. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I would like to know how to land a interview AND the job at one of the top companies that I am targeting. I keep getting calls and emails back for jobs I really am not that interested in, but hardly any to none from companies/jobs where I am really desiring to work.

    I look forward to reading your advice on this topic!



  35. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    What job is that? What makes you think there are no openings? What have you done to test that assumption?

  36. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Unlikely. Try to get another job instead, which may eventually lead back to opening other doors.

  37. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    The closest equivalent would be APMM.

  38. avatar

    How can an effective resume and cover letter to get a job which I could do, but may not have all the skills/requirements for the job. A company I would like to work for is hiring, and my skill set different in some areas than what the job requires.

  39. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I already wrote a stellar resume, got job offers when I wasn’t even looking, and even negotiated a higher title and raise despite being fresh out of university and not having the “qualifications” for the specific industry. I have to admit that a lot of the motivation to do that came from getting psyched up reading your blog.

    However, once I did all that, I realized I hate my job. Like you, I was so focused on winning that elusive “5” that I forgot to wonder why I wanted it and if I should even have been striving for it in the first place.

    I am now in a very specific field (geology) but I want to find something better. My biggest issue is that geology requires extensive field work (rotations consist of 3 weeks in remote camps, one week at home) and I would much rather be working in a city where I can sleep in my own bed most nights.

    I would still love to travel, but to other cities rather than the middle of nowhere. Literally, most of my work locations are places where people have never been before! I have management skills and a 4-year honours science degree.

    What would you suggest is the best way to find something I can be passionate about that is in a city without having to start all over again?


  40. avatar

    Ramit, a dream job is a job designed by me, for me. Personalised, customised and inherently changeable. It’s up to me to manage my lifestyle to match the money coming in. What I want to know is how to build and maintain a good professional reputation these days. Is a blog better than a business card? Should I be a member of every conceivable professional association connected to my work or just the ones with local chapters ?


  41. avatar

    What is your take on Dave Ramsey’s money philosophy?

  42. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    Thank you for your email — and thanks for making me think about things I usually don’t think about. These are my questions:

    How can I find out how much I am “worth” on the market (with my degree, my skills, my professional experience), without paying a lot of money for services like LinkedIn JobSeeker?

    How can I get the attention of big companies like Google? It seems there have already been way too many people with crazy, creative, impressive ideas for their applications, so is a solid, regular CV maybe better, because they are already tired of all the funky stuff?

    Is there anything young, unmarried women not planning to start a family in the next ten years who want to get a high-level job in the Silicon Valley have to pay attention to? I want them to know that my career is more important than anything else to me.


  43. avatar


    In your experience how are you able to get direct (as in able to communicate with them one on one without any gatekeepers holding you up) to decision makers of any company?

  44. avatar

    How Do You Cure The Curse Of Curiosity?

    Hello Ramit. I know my calling is in teaching/coaching – but I’m always fascinated by the ever changing landscape of corporate America – especially fast-moving high tech companies. I’ve bounced and learned about the restaurant, software, pharmaceutical, finance, and IT consulting industries all with much interest but not passion. I know I want to become an expert at a subject, be able to teach about it, blog about my journey to mastery, but my problem is finding said niche subject.

    I’ve tried plenty of things that don’t work, and I’ve certainly weighed all the important things I value in my life said respective industries (and found that there was a mismatch in one way or another). Is there a non-deductive method towards my search for expertise?

  45. avatar
    Neil Desai


    I am currently doing a job search and have realized the hardest thing to prepare for are technical interview questions (I’m going for a job in software engineering). Being able to properly prepare for these types of questions is difficult and I would love some help. Also, writing cover letters that really get into the psychology of what the company wants is tough to do. Been trying to do this (briefcase technique style) but sometimes it’s hard to find out what these companies are really looking for.


  46. avatar


    How do I figure out my dream job? I know plenty of things that I don’t like doing, and I know things that I like to do, but I haven’t figured out how to translate them into a job.

  47. avatar

    I’ve worked for 10 years building sales teams: recruiting, designing collateral and scripts, and helping businesses grow, both through recruiting affiliates and recruiting outside sales people.

    I’m actively looking for telecommute positions, possible profit share positions where I am doing the same thing with great companies that have a lot of promise. So far, I have not been that successful in my networking efforts.

  48. avatar

    I need help with how to approach my boss for a considerable raise. I love my job, but my boss, the business owner has had a TON of dramatic events occur since she opened the business and hired me. From major health risks to pregnancy to moving into a gigantic new monster home, I feel as though I’ve been over-looked. I understand that it is also my fault for not speaking up, but I’ve been too afraid of looking insensitive during these difficult times. I want my boss to know that I’ve been running her office this entire time and deserve proper compensation, without sounding too heartless…

  49. avatar
    David S.

    Hey Ramit,
    So I have a job offer, and after the first round of negotiations, they’re telling me the salary has no flexibility. How do I show them that it does?

  50. avatar

    I work at a software company that makes investment banking software and I am happy at my job, but there are not much opportunities for growth so I am considering an MBA. My ideal job is one that pays a lot of money, where I get to travel (but not all the time) and with reasonable working hours (9am – 8pm max).
    Many jobs in finance offer that, especially private equity jobs.
    So what I need to figure out is:
    – Is a private equity job my dream job (sounds like but I am get more information)
    – Is an MBA the best way to get there
    – How can I get the best MBA (top 5)

  51. avatar

    Ok. So is a dream job doing the work you enjoy most or is it more related to the working environment? Right now, I’m doing work I enjoy but I’m working with ASSHOLES which makes doing the work almost unbearable. How do I know I’m going to be working somewhere that doesn’t breed scum? Or at least the scum is dealt with and kept to a minimum.

  52. avatar

    I think I’m on to a dream job- working as a sales manager for an international online platform marketing private vacation rentals worldwide (you might know the amercian model, its a recent start up too). Having a background as webdesigner with some project management experience in the Arts I really have no idea about Sales but I figured I’m good with languages & networking worldwide so I might go for a job where I can use these skills and learn valuable new ones- like selling a product or idea (hopefully one day my own).

    My first target area will be Scandinavia, establish connections and promote the website(mainly here from Berlin). However they are also still weak in Australia and New Zealand and have hardly any listings there. Before I got the job I had planned to take a 2-3month break in NZ to escape the horrible winter over here.
    How can I convince my boss to send me on an extended holiday and work from over there to cover the Pacific market? E.g. 2 weeks of my holidays combined with another month+ of work there? I have existing networks over there and would even have a friends’ office to work from.


  53. avatar

    I am in the same position. The problem is that across the many blogs and articles I have read, they always tell you to find your passion. I enjoy doing many things but I would not say I am truly passionate about any one thing. So how do I get go about finding the job that will make me happy not know exactly what will make me happy?! It is going to involve a career change, fortunately I am still young enough to do this.

  54. avatar

    Hi Ramit, I’m a 40-something who just went back to school to finish my undergraduate degree because I’m torqued about seeing jobs I have the experience to ace, but I can’t get an interview because of the degree requirements. My question is, how can I leverage my existing experience to position myself in a better-paying job now, while I niche down, find my passion and finish my degree (about 2 years left).

    Thanks for all your great information.

  55. avatar

    I’ve got my dream job. Since you asked, I’ll tell you all about it.

    I design websites while living in Costa Rica.

    It took me some time to find what my ‘dream job’ even entailed; I was stuck in a miserable 60+ hour a week job, learning great skills (sales and networking) but I wasn’t providing lasting value to the world, doing anything artistic, or changing up my projects.

    Once I identified what I really liked about my job, and started listing things that I would like in a dream job, I began to construct that job for myself.

    To make this happen, I followed these steps:

    -Identified what qualities I would take from my current job
    -Asked myself what qualities in past jobs (and recreational activities) I would like to incorporate in my dream job
    -Added on a few ideal characteristics into the dream job profile
    -Brainstormed on all the businesses that fit that profile
    -Narrowed the list down to what matched my skill set and aptitudes
    -Learned the skills I was lacking
    -Built my website and started doing free work
    -Built a portfolio and started charging market rate
    -Moved to Costa Rica

    For people with an entrepreneurial spirit, running your own business (if it’s designed to accomodate your skills and personality optimally) is the dream job. Because as my own boss, if I don’t like what I’m doing, I hire someone else to do it, or I politely decline the work.

  56. avatar

    Hi Jackie,

    I’m an arts professor at a well-known university. The most important thing for you to do, outside of an MFA (which you will need, for better or worse), is to make projects happen. Work with friends, meet other people doing theater, think outside the box, and find your voice. The best programs will want you to already be working in theater, not waiting until you are in school to do so, and you can definitely do this on top of a day job. Also, think about why you are interested in teaching, specifically, and figure out how to gain in those skills now. Can you volunteer with a youth theater program? Create a site-specific theater project working with local teenagers? Don’t wait to go to school to do what you love (theater). And I think you’re right to be concerned about student debt – my recommendation is to do as many cool things now as you can (after hours) so that you can get into a program that will give you a fellowship, most often in exchange for teaching. You can totally do this.

  57. avatar

    I realize that this might be too vague but my biggest problem is that I can’t figure out how to determine how much my work is really worth, especially when I don’t have too many examples of people on the same position and level of experience elsewhere. My question would be if there are some steps that should be followed to determine this to be able to negotiate better.

  58. avatar

    First of all, thank-you for doing this.

    I am in my third year of University completing an arts degree in Sociology.
    I have two internships under my belt from the past two summers. One, I worked in India for three months in rural villages helping an N.G.O. in women empowerment training – changed the way I viewed the world, but I know that’s not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. Two, I worked at a graduate level school writing policy based article on the best way a health care sector can reach rural constituents. Again, great experience, great reference, improved my writing tenfold, but I now know I don’t want to go in to graduate studies. Priceless piece of knowledge.

    I keep going in to highly academic or “save the world” fields and to be honest generating a voice for rural needs in India is something I see myself eventually dedicating my life too or working on the side, but before I can make difference or actually have an influence there I know I need to make some money/I want to!

    The two options I have going forward are for an internship in the summer before my senior year:

    1.I am attending A LOT of consulting recruitment sessions, been accepted in to a program run by Accenture with current consultants that guide university students in efforts to consult a local non-profit, and sent questions to friends/networks that work at consulting firms (ripped off your “e-mail-mentor” scripts with success). Working consistently at practicing cases and interviews (again, something else I picked up off your posts). For the record I do enjoy the entire “problem solving” and dynamic day to day consultants typically have.

    2. Go intern at a package food goods industry (have been obsessed with “Kraft” as a kid). Spoke with a mentor about this.

    I am leaning towards the first option. I am honestly, seeking out consulting internships because I have no idea what I want to do and I know they’re a good way to be exposed to multiple industries and make some decent money while you’re at it. I am afraid however, with an arts degree in hand, minimal networking in the field of consulting, and an academic background my resume/applications to consulting firms will be tossed aside. How do I take what I have and sell it? What’s the best way to make sure my resume gets looked at?

    Thanks again.

  59. avatar

    Hi Ramit I’m a Computer engineer and teacher, Im a software developer and make a good living out of it, with my software I earn each month a year worth of salary as my teaching job, I’d love to start doing business, that would be my dream job, I have some money to start, but my job as a teacher gives me security, and I’m honestly a bit afraid of leaving it and later regret. I love teaching but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction I’m looking for.

  60. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    Thanks for making people think about their financial lives. I feel like I commonly talk to highly educated people who blindly ended up with professional skills and degrees, and somehow found themselves in their current career because they didn’t grab the reigns early enough (e.g., college or even later) and decide to steer their career in a certain direction. I too am one of these people and trying to structure a plan to lead myself out of the cave of professional dissatisfaction.

    I’d like to know if you have any tools to allow people to account for their personal skills, their interests, and their means, to figure out what their ideal job would be. Bonus points if that tool also instructs where to find those jobs!

    Keep up the awesome work!


  61. avatar

    Hi! Right now, my dream is to be an adult ESL teacher. I have a Master’s Degree and experience, so I have no trouble finding part-time jobs. The problem is that it seems that full-time jobs in my field are impossible to find. I can’t afford to work part-time anymore…I need health insurance! Do you think it’s possible to convince an organization to hire me full-time, or should I just try to find a new career?

  62. avatar

    You mention “What is passion anyway?” I would like to know how you define passion and if you think it is possible to find. I know it’s vague, but I am curious to your view.

  63. avatar

    As dream jobs would go I think I have found mine (not there with pay) but the job is a dream never the less. I have the potential to work from home (not for over time but just the normal hours work) The field is changing and challenging so its great since I am always thinking. I don’t know what I will do once the salary that I want comes into play.

    And you are right, put something in front of a smart person and the lunge but sometimes you really shouldn’t. Sometimes more thought should be into it.

  64. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Chapter 9 of my book.

  65. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Analyze why you didn’t pick up on this before, like during the interview process. Apply the learnings to your next job search.

  66. avatar

    I am about to graduate this December. I have 3-4 job titles in mind and a list of 10 or so companies that I am targeting, I’ve created a spreadsheet to track my progress with each company, and I’ve created a folder for my top 3 companies that holds news clippings and analyses of their industries. I’m trying to do my research and to address “pain points” but:

    1. How exactly do I FIND these pain points? Sure, I can assume that their goals involves acquiring more customers/users/views but without quantitative data and knowing the ins-and-outs of how they do business, I’m not sure how I can craft my “offer.” Of course, I can always set up a meeting with this person but …

    2. How would I ensure a meeting with this person? I’ve sent out a few emails briefly expressing my interest in meeting to learn more about the company and their goals but haven’t gotten a response back yet. What specific questions should I ask when I DO get to meet the person?

    3. Even when I get an idea of their pain points, how would I, as a new graduate, offer good, concrete ideas on solving those problems? I like the idea behind your Briefcase Technique and I want to implement it but my experience has been somewhat limited (I HAVE freelanced but marketing/selling for a one-woman show is a different beast than marketing/selling for a bigger company). Part of the appeal of working for these companies is the opportunity to LEARN how to fulfill these sort of positions. How do I appeal to these companies as a new grad?

    Thanks, Ramit! Can’t wait!

  67. avatar

    Hey Ramit, my question is how do you scale a small business idea to the point that it can bring a modest income. Pete

  68. avatar
    Gal @ Equally Happy

    What recommendations would you give people who have been out of work for a long time? My brother was laid off three years ago and has struggled to find a job. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in history and a good track record of managing security organizations. However, he’s had no luck finding work over the past few years. He’s tried real estate, tech and a variety of other paths and is now working two part time jobs to make ends meet. He’s highly motivated but is getting frustrated since there seem to be very few openings in his previous field and all other industries are reluctant to hire someone who is essentially starting over.

  69. avatar

    Should my dream job mean being at the same company until I retire? That seems kinda… scary, like a marriage, and being fresh-out-of-college guy it sure seems like I should take whatever comes in my way (you know, because of recession and all that stuff). Or on the other hand, should I be a company-hopper and get fresh air every 4 or 5 years hoping to land a really high profile job down the road?

    Would love to hear your comments.


  70. avatar
    daniel gonzalez

    How do you negotiate salary

  71. avatar


    I work for a large professional services firm (that also rates people 1-5, although in our case 1 is the highest) and have decided to look for work for a much smaller company in real estate development as this is an area that I’m really interested in. The problem I’m facing though, is that most of these jobs are unadvertised and it seems like they are going to people within their internal company networks. I’ve sent e-mails and called the companies, but I’m having very little luck actually getting through to someone who makes decisions and I have no idea whether my resume is being looked at. Even if it is, they probably have no idea who I am.

    As a stranger, how do I get in their heads so they not only want to hire me, but also want to pay me a higher wage than I’m making right now?

  72. avatar
    Christopher Mancini


    I am already with a really great company as a software engineer. Is it my dream job, no, but it is certainly one of the best jobs that I could have for my career.

    Things that worked in getting this job.

    1. I attended ZendCon, blew off a set of sessions and chatted at length with a recruiter from this company. This was a huge win, when it came time for me to start job hunting, I had an instant interview.

    2. I put together a very simple site explaining who I was, where I have been and posted downloadable copies of my resume. You can see the site @

    3. I researched the company, researched the surrounding communities, researched the state and even had an idea of where we would look for a place had I been offered a job. It gave me something to talk about during interviews and showed the interviewer that I was serious about the opportunity.

    I am pleased for the next couple of years. I think my true dream job is to be independent and serving people within my community. Which I had already started working towards.

  73. avatar

    In 1980, I knew what I wanted to have as a business was a bar / nightclub.
    but bad luck would take its hold on me and not let go, from no job, no savings and lost of hope that things will get better, one bad thing happen after another.
    In 1983 I was in a car accident that gave me back pain, In 1990 I was hurt on the job and layedoff after 8 years of working for $4.68 an hour. From there I had a brain injury in 2003, ” I should be dead ‘ is what the doctors told me, I want to be my own boss, But don’t know if I can’t make it with bad luck. how can I find my way back to my dream of owning my own club?

  74. avatar

    I am entering a field, law, in which many employers strictly scrutinize our grades in law school. I’ve put my best effort in, but because we’re graded on a curve, I can’t seem to edge into the top of my class. I am a competent student and feel that I will be a good attorney, but talking about my sub-top-ten-percent GPA in interviews is tricky. Do you have any tips? I don’t want to make excuses, and I am not at the bottom of my class either – just hovering around the mid-percentages.

  75. avatar
    Ramit Sethi are a good start.

  76. avatar

    Ramit, I am currently a Store Manager of a regional auto service repair facility. I am under paid and over worked. I feel like I am missing out on some of the best years of my five young children. After reading your emails over the past few weeks I think I have come up with a great idea for a book regarding the automotive industry. I’ve never written a book before. Do you have any specific advice you can pass along? So far I’ve just been typing away on ideas for each chapter.
    P.S. I never considered writing as my “DREAM CAREER”, but I understand that I need to leverage my time more effectively. In addition, I love what someone once said to me regarding an acronim for “JOB”. Which stands for, “Just Over Broke”. I am fed up with being broke!

  77. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    I’ve been writing about how to do that for the last 2 years on this site.

  78. avatar
    Qais Arsala


    I am currently undergoing chemo after my brain cancer surgery (one year ago). I am a dad of three and a year later am back at the same boring state job. I hate it. This is not my passion, but it at least pays some bills and gas $. I have another year of chemo/rehab left. I am sooo much slower at work than I used to be. My question to you is that I do NOT want to waste or make a ‘cancer treatment’ excuse and be lazy. How do I not waste time and study for something that is intersting that can help me provide for my kids in the long term?
    Most of my family advise me to sit on my ass and do not take risks with my cancer diagnosis. They have a valid point because I have kids, but I am stuggling to find a balance between being safe and miserable or taking a chance to find out what is my true passion and either failing or somehow succeeding where no one thinks I can do it.

  79. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Of course not, you can have many dream jobs.

  80. avatar

    My question is, how do you tie together really disparate strengths?

    For example: I majored in Linguistics (and took maybe one computer science class in my entire college career, and hated it), and I’ve been working for six years in web application development (four years in undergrad, and the two since I graduated), and I spend most of my down time on my passion, which is writing – and I’ve sold a good crop of stories to professional (speculative fiction) markets, and have gotten one into a Year’s Best collection, as well as attended some of the leading application-only workshops in the genre. Writing often squeezes out the time I could use to get new career skills, like picking up a new programming language.

    So: linguistics, fiction writing, and web development. How do you tie those together to look great and multi-talented instead of unfocused and all-over-the-place?

  81. avatar

    Hi Ramit,
    Actually I have a dream job already which is a copywriter in an advertising agency. But the worst part is when you’re still work in a company you don’t have the luxury of free time.
    I was hoping that I can work as a copywriter and have the real luxury of working from anywhere in the world. So, I’m not just working my dream job but also living my dream life.


  82. avatar
    Louis Knapp

    I’m a student in chemical engineering, and I’d really like to know how to get a feeling for what jobs are going to be like. It’s not difficult for me to get internships or interviews, but it seems impossible to know whether they’re going to be good or bad before I start working, and whether a full time job would be really different. And as a related question, I’m sure there are fantastic and fun jobs with great customer culture out there that I just don’t know about. How can I find out about those jobs?

  83. avatar
    Nancy Taylor

    Do you have any tips on making the job you have your dream job? I am a small business owner of two businesses, The UPS Store and an Ebay business.

    I love what I am doing but would love to make more money and work less hours. I have made quite a bit of progress using Tim Ferris’s 4HWW approach to work less but I have a long way to go to making the amount of income I would like. Are there systems that I can use to help increase profits?

    And, how do I sell myself (and my businesses) to potential employers (customers) so that I am the best choice, but not necessarily the cheapest choice.

    Thanks for your time.

  84. avatar

    I am 43 and have been doing software development for 18 years. I normally have worked for small companies. Small as in IT department. I like following Tom Peter’s idea of being a “big fish in a small pond”. I do not want to work for a large company. I feel like a cog in a wheel. I like being someone who is part of the team or even the only one who makes certain IT decisions. I enjoy working with all the different parts of the software development process.

    My current company, in the last 3 years, has greatly expanded. The new CIO brought in his peoeple and pushed the orginal people down. I am now a “small fish in a smallish pond”. I enjoy a good pay and vacation time but am frustrated by not being in the meetings where decisions are made. More projects are outsourced, which diminishes the role of internal development.

    I have the itch to be part of a startup or start my own biz. But lack the “good idea” right now. So, how to I satisfy my desire to be in charge while working for a company where I am not?

    So.. how do I find small companies that are looking for someone? Most are in that “hidden” job market. Asking friends to recommend people. A recruiter will always be working for a large company which can pay for the fee.

  85. avatar
    Jennifer Carleton

    Hi Ramit,
    I work for a fairly large bank…..not Wells Fargo big, but we’re solid. I really want to get into commercial banking, and I’m just not sure where to start. It’s my dream job to be a commercial banker. I currently work under commercial banking, but more in a customer support role. I know commercial banking is very dog-eat-dog, but I know I could handle it. I just need the skills. What do you recommend I do to learn more?

  86. avatar

    Finding the dream job…this is a dream! I tried many time to write a winning resume=a disaster!Please give us some advices

  87. avatar

    Pretty close to a dream job; except I’d like to replace my ‘job’ with my own ‘business’.

    Currently work at a small sports-based marketing firm (4 employees) with 2 major clients…have been here for 8 months and have assumed a sort of jack of all trades/2nd in command role.

    The hours are extremely flexible, I can work in flip flops and we are on the verge of acquiring several new, potentially lucrative clients which would mean the only downfall of the current position…the lower than desirable pay…would increase. I’ve been granted to opportunity to learn the fields of e-commerce (online store), web design, and media planning, skills which I hope to use to create my own marketing/web design company before the end of 2011.

    My goal at this point is to never use a resume again in my life…after 10 months in corporate america (before my current job), I have no desire to ever go back.

    At this point, I think my passion would lie in creating educational opportunities for underprivileged youths in the US (as opposed to international projects…so many of those). There are several really cool non-profit start ups (including Vitana; that I think could eventually go a long way if launched in the US within the proper network.

    You’re a daily, inspirational kick-in-the-ass…thanks Ramit.

  88. avatar
    Consuelo Guevara Knoch

    I was reading your article above and for the questions that you posted at the end, there was only one that caught my interest. Right now I am a college student, in my junior year, not really passionate about anything in particular. I am majoring in Anthropology because I enjoy it but I am not extremely passionate about it. There are other classes that I also enjoy but if you asked me what I was passionate about I couldn’t tell you. So, how do you go about finding your passion?

  89. avatar

    I’d like to know some techniques to break in with a private consulting firm when the economy is bad (fyi, my field is urban and transportation planning). How do you convince a firm you’re worth it? Can it be done without resorting to unpaid work? perhaps by bringing in possible clients?

  90. avatar

    I know you’ll have A/B tested this, run the numbers, and have a system that works, so please share: what are the key parts of a cover letter and/or resume to get into the interview stage, even when you’re not the *best* candidate.

    Specifically: I’m trying to relocate across the country, and I’m sending out resumes (three variations targeted to the specific job titles I’m applying for) and cover letters tailored to each job notice. (Such as: You want someone who can “think fast on their feet?” Here’s how XYZ experience on my resume translates to that.) While I’m sure I’m the most qualified for positions, I’m concerned that I’m not considered the best fit because of the relocation issue.

    What I want to do is know the keywords/phrases/secret sauce that’ll make a recruiter overlook the whole “She’s 2000 miles away right now” and read my resume anyway.

  91. avatar

    Hey Ramit,

    I am a 3.0 engineering student that will be graduating this year, I have a career fair at my college coming up in just over a week, and I want to have a job lined up and ready to go when I graduate. It is common to wait in line for half an hour to speak to a company HR rep for about a minute or so interview in hopes of getting a sit down interview on the following day.

    1. How can I approach this “60 second interview” to maximize the opportunity of landing a interview when I have the minimum gpa requirement for most average companies and a lower gpa then top company requirements? I have had some success in the past talking about my co-op/interning experience and now with the 50 weeks experience complete, that my school’s degree requires, I feel that there is a good opportunity for me to use this in a way to show my value properly to stand out over my peers.

    2. What can I do to my resume to make it really pop out as the recruiter spends several seconds scanning over it. I have read articles on what a resume should have included, for example contact info, degree info, work experience, classes, things of that nature. In your experience of spending a short amount of time looking at a resume, what would you recommend, as a good layout in terms of order of things that I include and the amount of information I put about each thing? Any additional resume tips would be much appreciated!

    3. Apart from answering technical questions correctly, how should I approach the interview when I am sitting across the table from a senior engineer. What exactly should I be trying to communicate other than my interest in the job and how can I do this properly? What are some good questions to ask or things to talk about in a more open ended question? When asked about prior work experience, how do I highlight my skills?

    I want to have offers from several companies and have choice to work at a company that I will be happy with as well as to really take advantage of all of the financial advice that you give.

  92. avatar
    Greg L

    I graduated in March, 2009, in Southern California, with an MS in Geology. In other words, I entered an absolutely brutal job market while the job market was still on it’s way to bottoming out. I wasn’t able to find a position in my field, though I did manage to to take some part time work to stay afloat.

    As a result, I find am 2.5 years post-graduation, but without any job experience in my field since graduating. (I do have one 8 month long contract job in my field that I got between undergrad and grad school. I am currently taking some university coursework that will add relevant, marketable skills to my resume.

    How bad will this 2.5 years employment gap look? What can I do to minimize it’s impact on my job search?

  93. avatar
    Sam Rogers

    I have been working for myself as an eLearning Contractor for 4-years while traveling the world, working only as much as I really needed to along the way. Now I’ve decided to emigrate to New Zealand (American aiming for dual-citizenship), and it looks like my best option is to use a job with their government, university system, or other larger bureaucracy to do so. I want to ensure that residency is part of a job offer from someone in NZ within the next year.

    Do you have any advice specific to finding/creating such specific opportunities or bringing things like residency into a job negotiation? Thanks!

  94. avatar

    Dear Ramit,
    I have a dream job. I work as a conductor with a professional orchestra. I work with the orchestra 14 weeks a year for a full time salary, the rest of the time I guest conduct and travel. I study music everywhere I go – on the beach, in the mountains, at Christmas vacation – and I love doing it! I meet amazing people everywhere I work, and I have a chance to inspire people with what I do.

    So here is my simplistic definition of ideal job:
    – to love what you do so much that you don’t mind doing it anytime, anywhere
    – to have flexibility and time AND still get paid
    – to inspire people and change their lives for the positive
    (sounds a bit like your gig)

    At the same time, the business of music is complex, and your blog has inspired me to some new steps in furthering my music making. I love reading your posts, between the lines, and applying lessons in entrepreneurship to my situation. I have changed my website, cover letter, resume, and audition materials based on some of your ideas – and I have experienced very positive responses!

    So, in an entirely selfish way – I would love to see what you consider important in a resume and in a cover letters. (I actually found my “inner Indian” – I used a cover letter from an Indian computer programmer applying for a software job in Singapore as a template to create my own cover letter. And it worked like a charm just last month!) And one more question – any suggestions in dealing with video presentations (in my case a 20 minute performance DVD)?

  95. avatar

    How do I approach a job search after being a stay at home mom for the last 8 years?

  96. avatar

    Sigh, it’s obvious to me just from reading my post that I’m way too vague at this point. I need to spend more time deciding what my options could potentially be before asking you for specific advice.

  97. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    You are doing a great job so far. I will have lots to help you with.

  98. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    Thanks for the inspiration,imagination and sharing. Now a goal requires action.
    I need help to setting my goals and putting action to those goals. Please help.My family is depending on me. And I make it my responsibility to do the right thing my and for them,honestly.
    Thanks and kudos to you and your team.

  99. avatar

    One thing that stuck out for me in your post was how you managed to find un-advertized jobs. I work in the entertainment industry and it seems like 99% of the jobs (or at least the awesome, coveted jobs) aren’t advertized. I know networking is a large component of the search, but I’d love if you would share more about what specifically worked for you. What do you know now about finding these “insider” jobs that you wish you knew when you started your search?

  100. avatar
    Matthew Weintrub

    Hey Ramit,

    My Dream Job is bringing positivity and empowerment to the world. I’m a college junior on that 5 year plan. I’m currently working on developing a positive, empowering clothing line. I realize having an online venue (e-commerce) is important but I also want to try and get into stores like Whole Foods who are now targeting the young, conscious consumer. As part of my marketing plan, I want to connect and send sample to college fashion bloggers, youtube fashion videoblogger, etc. to build a grassroots campaign. I really admire your work and remember finding your website when I was in high school before you got the book deal. Cheers to you! I was wondering what advice you have for me in terms of identify these blogs and what not? I’m only going to be able to print like 24 t-shirts of each design i’ve made. And I have some friends and one shop who wants to buy some. Plus, I want to send tees to friends at different universities. I’ve got a lot of great ideas but I need to filter. Your thoughts?

  101. avatar

    After years and years of working and searching, I have my dream job. I’m pretty unusual though, I’ve spent my entire career being a freelancer and I like to joke that I’ve been unemployed since I graduated! I’m a graphic designer and I learned a lot working with a slew of other companies – far more than I would have had I gotten a “job”- and after I got all that experience, I struck off on my own. I realized pretty quickly that I went to work for myself to do what I loved, designing, and ended up doing less of that than running my business, chasing down new clients, chasing down payments, I could go on.

    Pretty soon I decided I needed to figure out SOMETHING to add to my business that gave me some sort of residual component to my income. I looked at adding services for my clients (way too much work to sustain that), information marketing (I couldn’t settle on anything and felt too inexperienced), you name it. I got a subscription to Inc. magazine and every email newsletter about business I could get my hands on. I finally decided I wanted to build something I could build a business around and then sell for a good amount of money and that’s what I’m building now.

    See all the exploration I did didn’t net me any money, but it’s ok because I was building knowledge for how to do something, even though I didn’t know what it was yet. I put myself in the perspective of being open to an opportunity to find what I wanted, and that’s when I met my partner, who ended up needing someone like me at the perfect time. I was lucky and didn’t have a job to hamper me, I was nimble. Point is, the perfect job for me is something I built and crated myself. I’m now a partner and the marketing director in my company as well as still running a couple of other side businesses.

    I’m still not on easy street, it’s not a piece of cake, but I’m much much closer to my goal and everything I’ve done has led me to this place, even when I didn’t know it at the time.

  102. avatar

    Are informational interviews as useful as job hunting sites say they are? My current place of employment finds them to be annoying, if anything. Any sense of how other companies view someone who tries to secure one of these informal meetings?

    And I’d say I do have my dream job at THIS sage in my career, and at my current skill level. I used to have a soul crushingly demeaning job as a street canvasses (i.e. a fundraising mercenary) but I got fed up with it and taught myself how to do web design using online tutorials. I soon found a great job working as a web master for a fantastic nonprofit.

  103. avatar

    Hi, I’m a college student, majoring in engineering but also very interested in business/investing. And I was interested in how to stand out from other candidates in an interview (for companies like P&G, Unilever, Colgate/Palmolive, that’s the type of company I’d like to work for), especially the personality interviews where they ask you tough questions about how you would react in certain situations, etc.

    Sorry if this is a bit vague; frankly, I just haven’t lived long enough to have as much detailed experiences to write about as the people above me haha. Hope this helps, and I look forward to a response.

  104. avatar

    I am smart, I’m good at what I do, and I’m diligent at getting it done. I have excellent references (but no one calls them). My awesomeness has always been apparent to supervisors once I start working for them. Rarely do I get interviews. When I write cover letters, I write conversationally and say upfront that I am awesome, diligent, etc. but I don’t know how to cut through to the top of the pile: everyone says those things whether they are true or not.

    I have been applying through the standard channels: craigslist and company websites. Many of these websites, especially at universities, explicitly ask that applicants not contact HR or the hiring department. I want to respect that. But I also see advice here and elsewhere that says to follow up on applications or cold call employers to look for unadvertised jobs. Eek! That seems so rude and slimy to me. Networking seems less slimy, but is still uncomfortable, but after a year of looking for better prospects, I’m leaning in that direction.

    1) How do I use the dynamic application/interview techniques you suggest while remaining respectful to employers’ wishes and playing by their rules?

    2) This is my networking plan: look at the companies that employ people I know currently or recently, look at the recruiting pages for those companies, inform my acquaintances when I apply to their companies (or, for smaller companies without recruiting websites, just ask my acquaintances if there are any openings). Is that a plan that makes sense

    3) How do I get recruiters/headhunters to notice that I am someone worth recruiting?

  105. avatar

    My dream job is in a declining industry (journalism) that offers low pay and is losing 40,000 net jobs per year. (Yeah, I know. I picked a lousy dream. But it’s my freakin’ dream job, darn it!) Most of the opportunities are “stepping stone” ones — working at a small TV station or a tiny magazine no one reads. And its next-to-impossible to get past that point. So what should I do?

  106. avatar

    How to make a leap in job fields? How to convince employees along the HR ladder that I am qualified and experienced for a job at their company? The most difficult part is just getting my foot in the door to stand above the hundreds or thousands of other applicants. I need to know more about how HR people perceive cover letters, resumes and curriculum vitae(s) (CLRCV). Their psychology of making judgements.

    I have bought and read a “Judgment in Managerial Decision Making” and learned vast amount about my own biases. But how do I apply some of the ideas like anchoring from that book into my CLRCV? How do I put myself in the shoes of a hiring manager where they have 15-30 seconds to browse over my CLRCV and make a decision?

    My dream job is working in solar energy in Germany as a project manager or design engineer in a mid-sized company (50-250 employees) implementing photovoltaic installations.

    Things Working Against Me:
    1) I don’t speak German or any European language (not always a requirement but definitely a bonus)
    a) Can’t take courses through the local universities due to time conflicts with my current job.
    b) Couple quotes for private lessons through language companies are around ~$3000 upfront for ~100 hours of lessons. I don’t have that money to spend up front.
    2) I have not studied electrical engineering, solar energy or construction management. I have read books, but not exactly something I can put on my resume—can I? Would it show my determination/passion?
    3) Not much hands-on experience in this field.
    a) I might be able to have my current job train me but then I would feel obligated/contracted to stay with my current company longer for them to make the investment in me.
    4) Applied to graduate schools in Europe—vastly cheaper than in America—with the hopes of being in the country and getting internships/work-study during school but came up empty handed.
    a) I didn’t apply correctly i.e. I didn’t contact professors to build a relationship before sending in my application. I could reapply correctly, but feel it is the long path to my goal and an expensive one at that.

    It boils down to wanting a job that I have little experience or qualifications for, but nonetheless feel I would excel at due to passion alone.

  107. avatar

    Many entry level jobs actually still require 3-5 years of experience within a field. Boeing, for example, is one company that posts these kinds of job ads. How (if possible) do you land a job with a company in an industry in which you lack experience?

    Also, most internships require somebody to be enrolled in a college/university. How do we find one that doesn’t require this? Are there other ways to get internships other than applying like a job?

  108. avatar

    I have an interview this week for a job that was not posted. I applied for a different job and they decided I would be a better fit for this…and it’s true – I’m a *perfect* fit.

    Now I have the interview and I’m the only candidate.

    This is a senior-level software job that will turn into management as the company grows. It’s a far-reaching job within the organization and would be along the same lines as a director in most other companies (but in this case my boss would be a director, so I’d just be “senior.” Meh, but ok.

    I have a great set of questions I usually ask, but what one question do you think I should incorporate into the interview that would really wow them?

    My current question list:
    -is this a new position? If so, what key things could I do to not repeat the mistakes of the past? If not, how do you see me contributing to the company’s organization and goals?
    -is there a staff? (would I have a team?)
    -(to boss) who would this role report to? how hands-on/off are you?
    -why do you think I would be a good fit? (mostly a phone interview question)
    -what does the day-to-day job look like?
    -what is the 5-year plan for the company? In this position, how could I help achieve this?

    I appreciate any help you can give me!

  109. avatar

    I have a pretty good idea of what my dream job is. However, I would like to know:

    1. How do I best research and find organizations that can meet my goals? (Most of my job hunting surrounded
    2. How do I find out what they need so that I can easily convince them I’m the best person to help them? (Aka, how do I get into their heads)
    3. How do I position myself once I know what they need?

    Also, I’m not assuming that the position is advertised. I’ve heard quite a bit that there are ways to get a position that is not advertised; I have no idea how to go about getting one of these. I have ideas, but I’d rather hear it from an expert (you).

    I know networking is claimed to be a good strategy; is it really? And if so, what else can I do to supplement that? Also, how could I effectively network out of state (for example, if my dream job is just the same job but in a different area like New York City or LA)

    Lengthy response, but hopefully this helps.

  110. avatar

    I’m 54. 15 years in current position. The last 3 years have been hell. People who do REAL work, have become overworked (no personal life, lots of unpaid OT), while upper management gets big bonuses, stock options, etc., but keeps company under-resources. I’m actively looking for over a year. I find my main obstacle is my salary. HR types feel it’s an “Employers Market”. They would love to have me, for a 25-30% discount. I can’t sell myself short. How do I find a job that pays a 54 year old with 30 years relevant experience, what he’s worth??? Note: I am not much over average pay for my title & experience. Thanks!!!

  111. avatar

    How do I best market myself for a job that I’m a little under qualified for? I’m a quick learner and can pick up just about anything I attempt in the workplace. That being said, I tend to want to apply for jobs that I’m under qualified for but really interested in, and I know I could do the job well if given the chance. How do I market myself?

  112. avatar

    Is there an effective way to compete against an interim in the position? I know the field that I would like to go into, and succeed at getting to both the first and second round of interviews only to find that there was an interim working the position that gets selected. Or are those positions essentially a lost cause?

  113. avatar
    Austin Gunter

    The question that I hear in many technology entrepreneur circles is, when are you going to start your company? The assumption is often that having a job is a waste of time and a toxin to your creative, free, and risk-taking entrepreneurial spirit.

    My question is this: what’s your take on working to pay the bills and simultaneously gain skills and experience as an entrepreneur? Is it an either or/proposition?

  114. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    1. Do your homework by researching the positions available online.
    2. Go talk to 15 people who work in commercial banking. Take them out to coffee.

  115. avatar
    Wilbert Rosario

    Hi Ramit,

    I do not have a dream job, I will prefer to create my own company… Screenprinting company. On the meanwhile I am investing in people I trust in order to earn money from them. In other words, I am investing a capital that they return me one year later with 50% more that what I invest. This give me time to focus on the company I would like to have.

    In my case, I would like to read your book and make some of the courses you teach, just to learn more and more about how the money works. I feel we can learn a lot from you and I am working as a freelancer graphic designer sinces 4 years ago, so I think this is my passion and I am getting pay for it.

    The learning time will occurs on December, at that time I will give me 3 weeks of learning as much as I can about cash flow and business.

    – Wilibert Rosario.

  116. avatar
    David Schell

    I wanted to work in tech support for a long time. I finally got the job, but within a year, it started getting old. In just over a year and a half, I hated it so much that I quit with no other job to go to. Now I’m in college learning Film Production so I’ll have a marketable skill I don’t hate.

    I’m still working out what my dream job is.

  117. avatar

    I want to be a movie producer.

  118. avatar
    Pierre W.

    I have been lucky enough to figure out the career path I am most passionate about at the age of 23 when many of the people around me are still playing the field to find it out.

    What I to know is how to do build my resume into an excellent representation of what I can do for companies in my field? Other than freelance work that I have been doing, my part time jobs are completely unrelated to the field I’m breaking into.

    Is it better to keep getting unrelated jobs to help keep bills off my back while I search? I have been getting more call backs from positions that I want, but my lack of previous work in the field combined with doing my own freelance work in the field makes employers hesitant to hire me.

    Holding out for the right positions shows employers that I have a chosen career path, but it also slows down steady income. What are good suggestions as to how to keep a flow of income while building my resume into something employers of my field can drool over?

  119. avatar

    I do not have my dream job, far from it. I do know what my dream job and company are. The thing is the company is so small and the industry is really brand new and very niche. I have no idea how to approach them or even what to offer them. Just admiring their work, I do not think is enough.

    When you were fresh out of school without a whole lot of professional experience and wanting to pursue a dream job in a industry that is very niche how did you figure out what to offer them?

  120. avatar
    Jose Hinojosa

    Hi Ramit,

    I’m comming back to my country (Chile) after a few years working as contractor on Turkey and US. I’m working on software development area and I would like to start getting my own clients. I already have settled my own company back on Chile and I want to use it!.

    1) What is the best way to detect potential customers?.
    2) What would be the best strategies to close a deal with those customers?
    3) What would be the best way to nich my work? I currently work on banking solutions, and I would like to provide services to small and medium companies on areas like banking-financial, education (currently working with one school) but have no background on any other area.

    I think that is for now.

  121. avatar

    Hi Ramit –

    Great timing – relocated for a loved one and now finding work. Dream job now awaits me!

    My question: how can I get the jobs that are not posted online?

    And, how can I make it passed the online application process for jobs I _know_ I would be awesome at?


  122. avatar

    What’s the best way to make your resume stand out? Are there things people put on them (volunteer work, college awards etc..) that should be forgone for more description as to what you did or accomplished at your job?

  123. avatar

    I am currently a very broke stay @ home mother of 2, raising my children with a very traditional lifestyle and organic home cooked meals is my passion.

    I tried home daycare, hoping this would be a way to utilize my passion for raising my children while still earning an income. I found out quickly that I only love raising my OWN children.

    My daycare (organic and eco-based) was officially closed 2 weeks ago, thank goodness. But now what, I need an income! My previous background before having a family was in prestige cosmetics business management and freelance make up artistry.

    I attended a university for a few years hoping to become a librarian with an undergrad in English, without completing the degree.. Truthfully, I found the classroom atmosphere so frustrating- inane discussions or everyone wondering if they ‘needed’ to know something in the lesson for upcoming tests & quizzes.

    I’m 40, pretty sure I have an intellectual advantage over some, however, I can’t determine my next plan of action for employment since I am looking for a dream job. AND dream income, without being certain what that career is now.

    What steps do you recommend I take to uncover these answers and progress to my next career? Natural talent analysis, passion based interests, market related opportunities?

    Do I just fib and just SAY I graduated university, is it really that important at my age?

  124. avatar

    I’m back in the job market and interview world and in prepping (in my mind) answers for the most asked questions, I find myself at a loss for the often asked, what’s your biggest weakness. I don’t particularly want to go with the traditional (for me) — I’m a perfectionist and have a hard time letting go, I care too much about my work, etc. answers. One of my weaknesses is I have a hard time delegating, but that’s not one of those things I want to tell them in an interview…. any suggestions on “winning” answers for this question?

  125. avatar
    Michael Krause

    I do not know what my dream job is. I like my current one, but it’s not my dream. My last one was even more exciting/fulfilling, but I can’t discern what made it that way. In other words, I cannot define my dream job. I love to speak, help people, travel and eat food! I enjoy technology, fitness and strategic planning. So how in the world do I identify what my dream job is?

  126. avatar

    It took me 10 years out of high school to figure it out, but my dream job is natural resource law enforcement– the kind of park ranger that keep dirtbags out of the great outdoors. My undergrad is in outdoor education, but those positions on the federal level seem to be more at risk for funding cuts than law enforcement. I’m fortunate to have three federal agencies operating areas within driving distance (I’m in Las Vegas), so I have good options. I’ve already completed a National Park Service (NPS) law enforcement ranger academy on my own dime, and now I’m eligible to apply for vacancies for three years. I’ve placed calls to the law enforcement heads of each agency with a presence here. So far that’s resulted in phone/email conversations with an NPS park superintendent, and a meeting with one of the supervisory rangers. The Forest Service guy I spoke with has been helpful, giving me heads-up on vacancies before they’re posted. My next step is getting my EMT, on the advice from the NPS ranger that they don’t hire anyone at his site without it.
    Now that I’ve dropped my second job and have an actual weekend, I plan to ramp up my face-to-face networking, getting out to the sites and introducing myself to the guys/gals doing the job I want. It seems that getting these jobs boils down to a matter of the right qualifications and knowing the right people (huh, didn’t see that coming). Short of getting the EMT qualification and doing more networking, I’m not sure how to take my hunt to the next level.
    Thanks for everything, Ramit– I’ve been hooked since I bought IWTYTBR. Peace-

  127. avatar
    Pat Harris


  128. avatar

    How do you make yourself portable if you’re in a field that’s heavily concentrated in one particular location, or at least in a handful of large cities, but don’t want to be stuck living there forever?

  129. avatar
    Shirley T.

    I would like to know two things:

    1. How can I walk into my ideal job and instantly get an interview?


    2. Most people people pay little attention to the resume, so I want to know what specific actions I need to do to secure the job, skipping the whole interview process. (Calling and sending resume’s weekly has not been working out for me).

    My ideal job is working as a project manager in the Interactive Entertainment industry. This post could not have come at a better time! I had just sent out 5 resumes this morning, and submitted one to a staffing company. I’m looking for a better system for finding an ideal job.

  130. avatar

    Hey Ramit,

    I’m interested in applying for an engineering position at Airbnb. Currently, it’s not viable for my wife and I to move out to the Bay Area, but I am willing to travel a good amount. How should I bring this up? Do I wait until I make it to in-person interviews to mention it?


  131. avatar

    A dream job is doing the work you enjoy while being in a good working environment. I’ve been in a good working environment where the work wasn’t as challenging and drained me slowly.

  132. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I basically have my dream job – but how do I get through the HR bullshit?

    1. After interviewing several people in my industry and in the company I wanted, I landed an internship there.
    2. I was hired as a Financial Analyst after a 3 month internship, and I skipped a salary band as Financial Analyst > Accountant.
    3. I get a 401k with employer matching after 5 years (currently I am 20% vested), 100% tuition reimbursement, and great health insurance (which covered a good amount of my Lasik eye surgery and my husband’s asthma medications ).
    4. I’ve taken advantage of any other benefit I can get including private language tutoring.
    5. I got to travel to Europe for the first time all on the company’s dime.

    My year-end review last week had my manager’s eyes popping out of her head, plus I do things way out of my scope that I have gotten official recognition for (for example, I placed 2nd in a work-place competition in which I was the only financial entrant against engineers and business process improvement specialists; by doing this I showed initiative, awesome presentation skills, and I won my team money in which my manager is also a recipient of).

    The problem is HR – the system here dictates that your raise is limited by 5% unless you jump to a new position in which you’re capped at 10%. In addition, managers are hand-tied in giving out 5% raises because it means that the percent raise given to the other employees under them are reduced to 1%. My manager keeps telling me that the only way to really get compensated the way I want to be, I’d have to switch positions and negotiate up to the 10% cap there.

    I love my job and have been toying around with freelancing or jumping ship to another company, but I don’t know how. Plus I’ve spoken with personal friends that are managers/employees at other companies I’ve considered and their HR policies are similar my company’s.

    Is there a way to overcome the HR bullshit? Or should I start looking for something new?

  133. avatar

    Hey Ramit,

    My dream job (at least right now) would be working for Burton Snowboards in their engineering or design department. I’ve applied for their open positions posted on the website, but haven’t gotten an interview for any of them. To attempt to get my name in front of real people, I used Google and LinkedIn to track down the names of some of their engineers/designers and sent them a real snail mail letter asking them if they had any thoughts or advice on how to get my foot in the door there. One of them actually responded, and let me know that I could put her name down as an employee referral and she did forward my resume, but basically just told me to apply through the website.

    So my question would be, how do I get myself in front of the right people at the right time? According to my new friend, they don’t often have openings in the departments I am looking at, so how do I make sure that I am the first person to come to mind when one does open up?

  134. avatar

    How do I make my resume stand out more than the guy(s) with nearly the exact same history and qualifications or better?

  135. avatar

    I am curious into finding out how to negotiate your salary when in the interview process

  136. avatar
    Eric Thorn

    How did you get noticed by big/awesome companies?
    Any specificic thing that helped a lot?

    (Other than having a top-notch resume and presentation.)

  137. avatar
    Katherine C.

    Wow! This will be a great feature. I have about a million questions but here are three:

    1) What if a person’s ideal job doesn’t readily exist? How does one find something extremely unusual? My dream is to find a part-time VP of marketing gig for a really interesting BtoB startup in Silicon Valley that pays $90-100K and would allow me to manage an inside sales team and work remotely most of the time from the East Coast.

    2) How does someone who is terrible at interviews cope? My IQ drops 100 points the moment I step into an interview. The only way I can overcome sounding like a blithering idiot is to manipulate the meeting into a mini-consulting session. I light up and come alive when I talk about marketing, but can’t manage to remember a single species when someone asks what kind of a tree would I be? I can’t think of any answers to “tell me about yourself” that don’t sound stupid or pompous – especially when I’m dying to find out what interesting marketing problems the job presents and discuss ways to address them. When it’s a job that I really, really want, this problem amplifies proportionally.

    3) When do you know that your skills are good enough for your dream job? Colleagues tell me I’m one of the best marketing people they’ve ever worked with but I always have a list of additional skills that I’m working on at any given time and always fear that what I already have to offer won’t be good enough. When is do you know you are good enough to even try for a dream job?

  138. avatar

    Ok, so here are my questions:
    1 – I know the dream job exists, the req is out, have had the phone interview, awaiting a call for the in person interview, it requires 3/4 travel, but could mean relocation. Is there a way to justify (e.g. show value) me staying in my current location vs relocating, since the position would have me on the road 3 out of every 4 weeks? I love to travel, so I’d have no problem traveling up to the office when I’m not on other travel..


  139. avatar


    I am going to be applying for a career at a University and while it is not my dream job, it is a step in that direction. I have never worked in the education field (while I do have my BS in Childhood Education), I believe I would be a good fit for the position.
    While I obviously want to know how to make my Resume stand out to the Dean and HR, I really want to know how to make my Cover letter stand out from the others. How do I show I would add value in a position I have never held before? How do I stand out in the crowd?


  140. avatar
    Access Awareness

    Hi Ramit,
    I have my idea and i have created a webstie for it.
    How do I get clients so as to turn this into a profitable business?
    I want four clients a day.
    With cheer! Donna

  141. avatar


    I’d like to more about using the Briefcase Technique where the job doesn’t lend itself to volunteering “solutions”? What’s the corollary, for instance, in a profession (e.g. law firm)?

    My attempted answer: I wanted to work part-time at a startup this year (it’s my last year of law school). So, I tailored the topic of an independent paper about trademark law to directly address trademark issues that this company is facing. I’m struggling to get connected to the legal people at the startup (I have coffee scheduled with a part-timer later this week), but when I do, I feel like it will be useful to say that I’ve written the paper that addresses a prominent legal problem they are having.

    I’m not sure this answer applies to law firms, however.

    Background/other ways I’ve applied IWTBR techniques:
    I applied for and got my dream job (as far as legal dream jobs go) working for a top firm in SF last summer. I canvassed 75+ law firms, spent several months researching and interviewing current lawyers working at the 10 firms that stood out. I ended up particularly interested in one, but I didn’t get a screening interview through the normal on campus interviewing process.

    When emails turned up nothing, I redesigned some of their promotional materials (the print version of this:, in a Photoshop all-nighter. The new title was “@$%#@! Overlooked,” and my brochure explained, with new graphics and text, how a firm could overlook a qualified candidate. I sent it to their recruting staff. Two weeks later, I got a call from the head of recruiting and they flew me up to SF for a round of interviews.

    Before the interviews I contacted/interviewed 12+ lawyers who were currently or previously working for the firm to understand the interviewing process and what the firm was looking for. I solicited insight from several highly respected lawyers who in turn connected me (with positive recommendations) to lawyers currently at the firm.

    Before the interviews, I researched each interviewer exhaustively, covering their entire professional career and all media mentions. I also attempted to research their areas of expertise to gain fluidity with the terms of their domain. I made a list of my relevant experiences to tie in to their careers, to signal my interest and research while turning the interview into a conversation (and not just a grilling). I also reviewed the anecdotes that I had been relying on in the 70+ other interviews I’d been on, to see which were stale, sent the wrong message, etc.

    End result: offer for a summer job that turned into an offer for a permanent job.

    I struggled to directly apply the techniques from your website, but I feel like my approach matched the spirit of your suggestions.

  142. avatar

    Intriguing questions.

    How can one find their dream job and calling/reboot when they:
    A) Had a mediocre GPA in school
    B) Been in a crappy position for a few years
    C) In need of some enlightening guidance

  143. avatar

    What I’ve tried so far:

    1. Networking through personal contacts to speak to Hiring Managers and decades long employees of the industries I’m interested in.

    2. Redesigned my resume based on Kevin Fox, former web designer at Google:

    3. Reworked my bullet point cover letter into something an HR manager would want to read as explained by this hiring manager here:

    4. Used the salary range tactic explained by you to answer the mandatory salary requirement question in online applications.

    5. In the process of building a website similar to for the specific company I want to work for but hoping they don’t sue me for using their logo and stuff. I’ve got the home page designed and a couple more pages to go.

    What Hasn’t Worked:

    1. The resume/cover letter rework/redesign. Haven’t gotten any calls or emails for interviews regardless of my 5 years research assistant experience plus 4 years marketing experience.

    Based on the Google Please Hire Me site, he ended up working for a startup company in silicon valley. Not the intended target but he’s happy. If I had similar results I’d be happy too. He got a message from Google within 1 day of launching the site. I’m looking to duplicate those kinds of results.

  144. avatar
    Clare O'Reilly

    Dear Ramit,

    I found your Earn1K course hugely helpful and inspirational, but a few modules in I got an opportunity to travel for a while so I’ve paused my Earn1K modules to resume at a later date. I believe it is the perfect tool to equip me in my quest for my ‘dream’ job, or should I say, ‘dream’ lifestyle.

    After job-hopping since I left university (two “dream” jobs at 1.5 years each), I have FINALLY identified what makes me happiest, and therefore now have a better idea of what my dream job looks like.

    I want to sidestep careers from professional and creative writing (ad agency copywriter, book ghostwriter) to technical writing. My aim, and you might find this controversial Ramit, is to only work 20 hours a week as a technical writer, or two weeks out of every month, or six months out of every year – whatever way it breaks down. The rest of the time I will spend doing projects of my own, travelling and volunteering. I do not need buckets of money, time is the most important thing to me.

    What have I done so far?
    I have done in-depth research into the field of technical writing. I have confirmed it is a big industry in my dream city with multiple jobs advertised daily. I have identified that it is going to be a huge endeavour for me to re-train as a technical writer, but I believe it is possible for me to do this through a mixture of online resources and doing my first few projects for free.

    What have I still to do?
    I must make contact with several successful people in that field and city and test my assumptions – is it possible to self-train? How long could it take if I devoted all my time to it? I will email companies who are currently advertising to ask them what exactly they are looking for – so that I may better tailor my resume when I am ready to start looking for work.

    Once I have retrained, and am on the contract-hunt, I am interested in learning how to best present myself as someone who has changed careers but who brings a wealth of communications experience from her previous positions which will in turn be sure to inform any technical writing brief.
    All my best,

  145. avatar

    Hi Ramit,
    One of the fundamental truths of life is that with age comes experience. Yes, yes, yes, we can intern, plan, study, etc, but the truth is, we won’t have the experience we need to get what we want until we do it. Doing it, despite Nike’s supplication, is reliant on convincing someone that you a) already know what you’re doing, probably better than the last person to do it or b) you can be taught better than anyone else how to do it. I imagine as a college student you were relying more on ‘b’ than ‘a’. How did you convey the idea that you were a really skilled sponge so consistently that jobs were falling all over themselves to get to you?

  146. avatar

    I am currently not working in my preferred job. I have already identified the position I want in the sector I want. Via google, linkedin, a specialized database and informational interview in my personal network, I have identified the companies that exists in my country as well as the people I could contact inside of these companies; so the lead part as mostly been done even though my list of contacts will certainly continue to grow. As this is small companies (between 5 and 20 people) in a fairly specific field (less than 20 companies in my country), my list of people to contact is rather small: less than 40. I have a spreadsheet were I track this list (personal info and contacts as well as when and how I contacted them) as well as a folder with the different emails I have sent and summary of calls I made. From the first interviews (only 5 for now) I know that the subset industry recruit almost only via connection and that it is extremely rare to see a job posting. In this light, my aim is to network my way into this field and position myself as best as possible to find an open position. This means continuing to contact people to (and in no particular order): 1) find open position 2) identify pain points 3) research the field (as Fraz did in your case study) 4) build connection 5) get an offer. My questions then are:

    1) How do you prioritize these topics so that you can contact these persons and obtain meetings and how do you structure the discussion to achieve those goals?

    2) How can you test emails scripts to increase your first response rate with only few person to contact ? (possible responses : test in another field, test on 2 people and adapt (my current approach), anything else…)?

    3) How can you qualify your contacts to rapidly know if they will possibly want to employ you and how do you find THEIR specific pain points and barriers to employ me instead of the generic ones of the industry?

    My approach to research the companies (outside of the internet) is first to contact people in the lower ranks (positions similar to the one I am seeking) to learn more before contacting higher ups (the ones with the power to hire) but as the companies are really small, I cannot contact a lot of people to do my research so my last question :

    4) How best to approach the research part when it is likely that the one your are researching from is the one to whom you’re going to market yourself?

  147. avatar
    Jerome Jahnke

    How can I objectively tell if I have a good resume? If I ask friends, they don’t do hiring so they may or my not know, a professional resume writer will always tell me that my resume could use some help. And if I send it into the black box that is the software companies use to filter people out you don’t know if you are filtered out because your resume is bad or because you are not a good fit.

  148. avatar

    Is it acceptable to ask for the salary range when the company first contacts me about setting up an interview? Some jobs are a long commute so not sure if it’s worth the interview if the salary’s not right. Also any tips on negotiating salary would help, even if they say it’s not negotiable. And best answers to interview ?s.

  149. avatar

    As an engineering senior in college preparing to graduate and find the first *real* job, how should I structure a portfolio to stand out from the rest of my fellow classmates?

  150. avatar

    What is the 3 best questions to ask to open your mind up to finding your true passions or things that you want to do. I’ve been doing dreamlining for some time now, but I’m struggling finding things that I really want to do other than businesses that I want to start.

  151. avatar

    People always say to do something you love and to find your passion. Travel is my passion. Exploring cultures, places, and then sharing my experiences.

    I’d like to see tips/ideas on how to monetize one’s passions in life.

  152. avatar

    Hi Ramit,
    I am a 41 year old mother of two (ages 8 and 10). I have recently realized that I will only be child-rearing for another 10 years or so, and will need something to do that is for me. I would like the work to be engaging, stimulating and fun. I am currently a stay at home mom, and my husband has a great job with great benefits, so the income is not an issue except in the self-esteem sense. My older son is in treatment for leukemia, so a 60-hour-a-week-eat-me-alive job is totally out of the question. I have a background in call center management as well as an MBA (which I feel is useless now as it is ten years old).

    I would really like to try my hand at itinerary planning. I feel this is something I can do and I have a real passion for it (I once spent 6 months of evenings planning a trip to Europe and loved every minute of it). I live in an area that is a popular tourist destination and that I love, love, love to share with friends and foreigners. There is already a business offering this service in my area and they can offer discounts at local hotels. When I saw this already up and running competition, I got intimidated and now feel stalled. A big part of me knows I can do this, but another big part is telling me that it’s too much effort and I will have competition, making it harder. What do I do? What if I fail?
    I don’t even think of this as my “dream job” just a way of fitting in some professional skills so I don’t think of myself as “just a housewife” anymore. Is it possible to have a part-time passion/dream job?

  153. avatar
    Stefan Wolff


    I am still in college on the never-ending “internship hunt,” but weary of following the traditional path of finance major -> two years at some Fortune 500 -> MBA -> 40 more years at some Fortune 500.

    I am not necessarily motivated by the money, but I do want to be compensated well for the work that I do.. so how do I find companies that are in line with my idea of “work,” aka a company that invests in me as much as I invest in it?
    Last summer, as a rising sophomore, I interned at a Noname Mutual Financial Network office, and performed, but I feel I did not receive as much as I put into it. I went through the entire internship program, performed well, and was invited to come back next summer. BUT, where is the PASSION? I cannot see myself selling 65-L Life Insurance policies my whole life, and I want to have a plan now to set myself up for fulfillment later.

    As always, you’re the bomb, Ramit, Keep teaching me how to be rich!


  154. avatar

    Hi Ramit,
    I have two questions: how do you find unpublished jobs and how do you make a career change from an executive assistant to a financial analyst with little experience, but an MBA in nearly completed?


  155. avatar
    J Jones

    Ramit, I love this idea! I know certain skills that I possess, but how do I turn that into finding an amazing job for me? I’ve been out of school for 5+ years – I have a Chemistry degree and like what I do. I want to wake up every morning excited about my work. Can’t wait to hear more!

  156. avatar


    My dream job would be working for a large manufacturer of military grade rifles, traveling around the country making volume sales of arms to government agencies, private military contractors, and foreign governments (the ones) not prohibited from buying them from the United States.
    I really enjoy the shooting sports. My passion for firearms would inform my work – I absorb gun knowledge readily, and I convey an infectious enthusiasm for the subject.
    I suspect, however, that any company selling these items would strongly prefer their sales reps to have a military and/or police background.
    I don’t have either qualification, which would require some real creativity to overcome.

  157. avatar

    How do you make a company aware that you know how to solve an issue they’re facing?

    For example, in writing emails to respond to job posts, I’ve written how I would attack the problem they face- “I know that in working with at-risk students, discipline issues can be frequent and stressful. That’s why I’ve always created a clear structure for my classes. This way, the students know what to expect and what is expected of them.” This doesnt seem to work for me, though. Is it too vague?


    How do find out the names of the “people who will do the hiring” as opposed to just calling up HR and hoping for the best?

  158. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    This is what my Earn1K course covers in extreme detail.

  159. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    This is a vague and useless question. Instead, show me what you’ve ALREADY DONE and ask specific questions on how to improve it.

    Do the work first. (I’ve written about using The Briefcase Technique and other techniques on this site.) Don’t expect busy people to do it for you.

  160. avatar


    Right now I am in the process of trying to change industries into something that I’m more passionate about. I’m starting off broad and in the next couple of months I want to really be targeting specific positions. Do you have any tips on how to zero in on how to determine a target industry or position?

  161. avatar
    Lacy Zimmerman

    I feel like I’m going in circles trying to decide what type of job I want to target in my job search. I can’t move forward in my job hunt because I feel like my online presence needs to be so specific to a certain job. How do I make a general online presence while keeping it some what targeted as well?

  162. avatar

    My dream jobs 1) ESLTeacher 2)start my freelance copywriting business

    What I’m doing right now:
    1) taking a TESOL certification course (almost done)
    2)taking a copywriting course with AWAI

    What I want to know:
    1)How do I get many job offers from Business English schools and Public schools around the world (particularly Korea and Japan)?
    2) How can I get clients to pay me a lot of money for my copywriting services with my very limited experiences?

  163. avatar
    James J

    Ramit, I am a very logical and mathematically-minded person. I like working on my own, but definitely do not want to be a hermit. I like working with people too – how do I find a balance? I have a Chemistry degree and have been in the workforce for 5 years with a job I like. How do I determine the job I will love with my particular skills and strengths? Cheers.

  164. avatar


    I know my strengths and can be a huge value to the right company. My ability to relate with clients and maintain a long lasting and beneficial relationship has been proven again and again based on my previous experiences. I know the value I bring to the table however it seems often impossible to reach the right decision makers within an organization that would clearly see that value. How do I promote myself in such a way that others will clearly see my value and take a chance that later they will be rewarded for?

  165. avatar
    Eilis Mernagh

    My dream job is writing movie scripts, and I’m doing that. I’m not making money from it yet, but someday I will. Find your passion, pursue it, and that will be your dream job.

  166. avatar

    Im a 30 year old engineer. After a few crappy jobs, 5 years ago I got a good job, not my dream job, but in something I enjoyed. Things didn´t turn out as I hoped and after all that time in the SAME job and not getting growth opportunities, I decided not to waste more time there and look for another job.
    I got a job offer at my dream company, but I needed to do a career change and start over… less pay, completely different activities and possibly move to another city. I was affraid I would regret not taking the job and thought it was a good opportunity, so I went for it.
    Now, 2 months later I am unhappy. The job is ok, but defnitely not dreamy and I dont see myself doing that for long. Having said that, now the lower pay and potential city change are stressing me so bad sometimes I cant sleep.
    Should I stay and try to make it my dream job, look for a department change?
    Im afraid i´ll lose more years and get nowhere.

  167. avatar
    Natalie @ Mango

    Hi Ramit. I think people might be interested to know what industries are more likely to be hiring and where, so that when they do go out and search for their dream jobs, they know what they’re getting themselves into. At Mango we recently did an infographic breaking down the job market (who’s hiring, where, etc.) that people might find helpful. Check it out if you’d like! Looking forward to reading your upcoming posts on the subject! -Natalie

  168. avatar

    Do I have a dream job already?
    I am a CPA at a small firm. The thing is I love my boss and people I work with. So I do not dread coming into work. I also love my clients and helping them run successful businesses. But I do not love my salary. It is small and my benefits have been cut where we are given only $300 to find our own insurance.

    So I want to learn how to negotiate my salary, my raise is coming up in November but here is the kicker, I’m on maternity leave. Except I have actually been telecommuting since we have tax deadlines right now.

    My boss loves me and relies on me greatly, I make him money out of everyone in the firm. It will be 4 years this December. How do I negotiate a substantial raise coming off of a pseudo-maternity leave from my old school boss? Telecommuting makes him very very nervous and he is only letting me do it because he needed me to do lots of tax returns.

    My dream job would be running my own little firm but I have an infant so right now is not the best time but I do want to start preparing for it. Especially since it looks like my awesome boss wants to retire soon.

    Also, he has hinted at giving me equity or maybe taking over firm. Not sure how to bring that up as well.

  169. avatar
    marco tulio corona pacheco

    Dream job…

    I Justhave some ideas, but nothing clear

    I like to write and I do. but i would like to get paid for it.

    A job with no horary.

  170. avatar

    My favorite blog about “passion” is Cal Newport’s blog, Study Hacks.

    “To summarize, I agree that you shouldn’t tolerate being unhappy with what you do. The best way to combat this unhappiness, however, is not to drop everything and start from scratch, but instead to become good at something valuable, then take this value out for a spin.”
    (Hey he references the Earn 1 k in talking abot dream job delusion-

    Lots of people believe something outside themselves can make them happy or unhappy. Instead of the the knowledge that all feelings are fleeting. And focusing on what you can control will bring you more success (leverage an in demand skill).

  171. avatar
    Jason Ryz

    I am a practicing physician who also owns a supplement company, multiple investment properties, and a property management company. I completed my residency three years ago and while working as a physician, I was able to build my 3 businesses. I have no formal business training. Recently, I thought about the possibility of transitioning into a completely new career – commodity trading (a passion that I’ve had for many years). How do I explain to a company that I want to change careers from a physician (and entrepreneur) into something entirely different – commodity trading and having them take me seriously?

  172. avatar

    I am an engineer and an MBA, I have 8 years of professional experience in a fortune 500 but I ran out of passion. I am trying to find what my next big dream is. I want to start my own business but don’t feel ready yet (I am subscriber to your earn 1k). But haven’t been able to develop my idea yet. While I can really find and structure my profitable idea I need to be able to find my next great job with great salary and I know you can help.
    I am just starting my job search by doing networking in an upcoming job fair and looking at what companies I want to work for to begin networking efforts but am rather lost at how to successfully accomplish this. Looking forward to your ideas!

  173. avatar


    I know you like specifics and data…

    I’m 28 year old Indian-American male living in So-Cal and I’m currently unemployed.


    Degree – Marketing – Cal State School – GPA 3.14
    Activities: President of Asian Student Alliance
    – Study Abroad in Korea – 1 semester

    UC Extension classes: Marketing, Acting & Korean


    (1) Non Profit Asian Film Festival (9 years) –
    ROLE: Board Member, Marketing Manager & Volunteer Manager
    PROS: Great leadership, cool people, creative roll, working with filmmakers and passionate volunteers, fun, great leadership
    CONS: Low pay, no travel

    (2) Major Japanese Conglomerate – Ed-tech division (3 years)
    ROLE: Senior Marketing Specialist
    PROS: Awesome product (helps schools), multifaceted role that got my hands into everything, favorite part of the job was training sales people on how to present, training teachers on how to use the product, pitching new software feature to our software developers, and traveling internationally.
    CONS: Politics, bureaucracy, and administrative parts of the job: I like the idea/brainstorm phases, but not the actual execution/logistics part.

    (3) Famous Video Codec Company (1.5 years)
    ROLE: Marketing Manager
    PROS: Coworkers, flexible environment, work life balance, being in-tuned with tech savvy/entrepreneurial minded individuals
    CONS: Got boring, disorganized, not excited about my product (enabling internet piracy).

    – Allows me to be creative, specifically in crafting & presenting stories (presentations, speeches, videos, marketing campaigns, positioning, suggesting product ideas)
    – 70% working with people 1-on-1 and groups. 30% Behind a desk typing
    – Leverages my communication & speaking skills
    – Flexible & employee oriented culture. Facebook/Google type environment
    – Time for family/friends and pursuing personal interests (mma, making short films) and busting my Earn1K activities
    – Allows me to network and get face time with influential and important people
    – Travel opportunities
    – Feeling a sense of pride and meaning in what my company offers the world
    – Helping co-workers & people by having time to instruct, present, motivate and try to solve their concerns as a part of my job function.
    – Steady salary & benefits $70K – $85K per year (for the next 3 years).
    – Living in a nice apartment in a city that has an upbeat urban area, but easy to escape into natural settings like beaches, mountains, parks, etc…
    – Be in a place with more brown/desi friends. I never really had this and the older I’m getting, it’s something I’d like.


    Major Korean Automotive Company (1 Year Contract)
    LOCATION: Seoul, Korea
    ROLE: International PR Manager
    COMPENSATION: Low and below average (I would be saving $500 per month vs the $1300 per month I was saving at my last job at the codec company)
    PROS: Learning experience, chance to learn and operate in a different culture and work environment, working globally, improving writing and communication skills. Living the hustle and bustle of Seoul life (but I’ve been there and done that). I have a network of friends there, and can expand my network further.
    CONS: Very corporate, pecking-order, long hours, strict Korean style management, low pay, feeling isolated as a brown guy living in a homogenous, racially pure, and status driven society. Ex-girlfriend who got married lives there.


    I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in Korea, and see myself settling down in the bay area, San Diego, or London (lots of family there). I’d like to be at a Google or Facebook like company in an HR, Training, Communications, People, Creative facing role, but feel like my state university diploma and 3.14 gpa are holding me back.


    Would working at a major Korean company in a global role give me an edge to get that lifestyle later?

    Based from your experience and what you learned? What are some examples of other paths I could take to get my dream job/life that are not as extreme as moving to Korea.

    Cal Newport argues – F### chasing a passion, work hard, long and un-sexy hours in a traditional job to master a valuable skill that will in-effect become your passion. I notice you have some agreement with this notion, but also favor Tim Ferris’s 4-hour work week advice. I feel you balance the 2 extremes, by essentially saying do both. Work your day job, learn to save time, then use that time to Earn1K on the side through a monetizable passion (skill + interest= product/service). Would you agree?

    I know it’s TMI, but I wanted to paint a clear picture.

  174. avatar

    @Steve, @Will,

    I struggled with a similar dilemma – I am passionate about photography, music etc but my current job is in finance, and here’s the kicker – I LIKE MY JOB! So, I always found the “find your passion” slogan hard to understand, because realistically, it always felt like I wouldn’t get to do the fun, analytical work I am doing if I had to slog away at taking pictures at weddings on weekends to do what I am supposedly “passionate” about.

    That’s until I read this blog post by Cal Newport. I was referred to this post from another blog that Ramit had tweeted about. Regardless of whatever new terminology this author introduces, I liked the idea that you can craft your own job that you are passionate about, and it doesn’t always have to be starting your own business or pursuing something in the arts. Honestly, I think more people these days are pursuing the arts instead of doing solid work like engineering, business and the sciences.

  175. avatar

    Ramit, you’re always talking about testing and validating ideas when it comes to weeding out crappy business ideas. What are some techniques for testing when it comes to identifying your “dream” job and whether it is really right for you?

  176. avatar
    Karen White

    Wow, Ramit, there are a LOT of comments to this post, you will be wading through these for some time! I’m building my own business full time right now, but may need to take a part-time job for awhile so my reserves don’t go down to zero.
    How can I get a GOOD part-time job (I am a graphic designer/copywriter/marketer), without being dinged for having my own business at the same time? Also, I have white hair (which I like very much), and a young face, but I fear I’ll experience “ageism” if I don’t wear a wig, or worse, dye my hair. Any thoughts on this? Thanks, I think you are doing fantastic work!

  177. avatar

    My biggest question is, how do I fucking win at fucking networking?

    Problems are:
    1. I am limited in resources,
    2. I’m lazy, and tend to play video games when I shouldn’t,
    3. I’m a long talker… I love to talk and talk and talk,
    4. I live in a pretty empty place for opportunity, and all here are just minimum wage workers, or factory workers, or just do-nothings.

    My dream job is to be an IT project manager who successfully (within scope, budget, and time limits) tackles the nightmare projects like the demon-fighter that I am. I also want to be a world class project manager. If you mean by your question, “Do I have this job?” The answer is no. I’m unemployed.

  178. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I am a recent JD/MBA graduate from a mid-level university. I’ve recently become interested in trying to get a job with a tech company in Austin, TX doing Product Management. However, I don’t really have much of a formal technical background (my undergrad major was philosophy) and most of the jobs I’ve found want at least a couple years of experience in a product management position. I do have some technical knowledge- I’m proficient in HTML and CSS and I’m currently learning to program in Ruby and Python. I’ve also read a number of books on UX and Interaction Design (recommended by my older brother who is a lead developer/designer for a successful startup). I think I would be a good fit for product management from what I understand of the discipline. I’m extremely attracted to the cross-functional nature of the position and I possess a lot of the “soft skills” that would be helpful/crucial in such a role. I’m also good at learning new subject matter very quickly. My main issue is just getting in the door. I don’t really know anyone in Austin (I don’t currently live there). Also, frankly, my resume is shite (I was a straight-through student from undergrad into grad school). I had decent grades (I graduated with honors from law school and a high GPA in my MBA program), but negligible experience.

    What suggestions do you have about how I could get a job in product management given my lack of connections, experience, and technical background?

    Thanks for your help.

  179. avatar
    Sarah L

    Hi Ramit,

    I’m a senior in college this year, so I’m on the hunt for my dream job…or at least a position that will open up the opportunity for my dream job in the future.

    I’m definitely curious as to how to go about negotiating. But I think my main concern is understanding how to market myself well for a field I’m not entirely sure I want to go in.

    I’m a finance major, and at this point, I want to become a financial planner. I have an internship for a local financial planning firm in town, and I can see myself enjoying the job. However, it is really tough trying to convince baby boomers that a 21 year old can be trusted to manage their retirement money. I’m looking into applying for corporate finance jobs to gain more experience, especially in the field of taxation (my school’s curriculum was severely lacking in preparation for taxation). I’d like to hear some tips on how to approach marketing myself to a company that I see as a stepping stone, not the end goal.

  180. avatar

    There is some excellent job advice right there. Be WAY MORE SPECIFIC.

  181. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I basically have my dream job – but can I get through the HR red tape?

    The HR system here dictates that:
    1. Your yearly raise is limited by 5% unless you jump to a new position in which you’re capped at 10%.
    2. In addition managers are hand-tied in giving out raises because a higher raise to one employee means a lower raise for the rest.

    I do things way out of my scope that I have gotten official recognition for. I was hired as a Financial Analyst and skipped a salary band since F.A. > Accountant. I’ve also trained interns and other employees, and just a few weeks ago I won a company-wide competition in which I was the only financial entrant against engineers and business process specialists). It’s unfair that my yearly raise should be stymied due to managers wanting to “be fair” to their other employees.

    I’ve spoken with personal friends that are managers/employees at other companies in my area that I’ve considered and their HR policies are similar to my company’s.

    Can these HR policies be overcome? I would love to eventually start my own business and freelance, but right now I love the perks of my job enough to stay (401k, 100% M.B.A. reimbursement, private language tutoring, awesome health insurance, stock benefits) – if I feel I can get what I feel I justly deserve.

  182. avatar
    Chris Tyler

    Great topic and a concept I struggle with a lot. My dream job involves my passion for outdoor (backpacking and hiking) education and guidance. I really enjoy getting people, who have never experienced the backcountry, into remote places, safely, while teaching them tips and tricks and how to enjoy it along the way.

    One of the challenges I face with starting my dream job right now is that I support a wife and 4 children, and outdoors-related jobs are generally not high paying. In order to find a job that would allow me to support my family, I need to combine this passion of the outdoors with a significant revenue generating business, such as retail. This is where the issues come in. I have no relevant retail experience, but do have 20+ years of business and IT experience.

    So, I am currently looking at extending my Outdoors-related blog site to include an e-commerce aspect, but am unsure where to start on retaining re-seller/distributor rights from leading Outdoor Gear manufacturers such as The North Face, Mont-Bell, Patagonia, etc. I believe I have a unique business model for selling gear and clothing to a very specific target market, and really just need to make it happen.

    This would allow me to keep my current job, make extra income and gain valuable retail experience that would make me more marketable to my future dream employer, who might just be me.

  183. avatar

    I selected a company I wanted to work for and got the VP of HR’s email address and directly emailed her and said: I know you are doing X in your organization and I have a lot of experience in X. I know I can be immediately effective and help you.
    She did not respond but forwarded my email to someone in the organization – the Director of IT – and I ended up getting the job.
    So possibly identify what it is you want and try and get an interview. The key is getting yourself in front of someone with influence to hire you. At the interview say, I’ve done this before (if you have) and tell them you can be immediately effective. Always have a positive attitude about yourself and past employers and bosses.

  184. avatar

    I have tried using next method.

    Use e-mail to contact company. I tell them I’ m researching industry.
    So far 3 times asked and 2 times received answer.

    How to find true pain?

    I get answers on survey, but I don’t believe they tell me problems for which they will pay. I don’t think direct question is smart idea.

    How to reach true decision maker?

  185. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    My ultimate goal is to secure a job at a college or university. At the moment I have only one target university on my list (I interviewed there last week, but I did not get the job).

    I am working to finalize a list of 10 target campuses where I’d like to work – I’m targeting colleges mostly by location and by my familiarity with the school but I’m also considering their ranks in “Top Colleges to Work for 2011” ( has a list as well as Forbes). My plan is to make contacts at these target schools and take them out to coffee/lunch to have informational interviews and stay on their radar for hiring.

    I’m facing two big challenges:
    1. I am employed full-time! When would I schedule these meetings?
    2. I live and work in SoCal, trying to relocate to the Bay Area and my target schools are located in the Bay Area – again, how would I manage this?

    Any thoughts?

  186. avatar

    My #1 dream job is to be the host of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. But, until Guy Fieri retires, I will have to go for my second dream job — owning my own pizza restaurant.

    I can picture it all in my head, from the decor in the restaurant to the flavors and textures of the pizza. (This isn’t NY-style pizza because there wouldn’t be any flavors and even less texture which is equivelent to soggy cardboard.) I took the 48 hour challenge and have already started implemented my tests.

    The one question I have is how to “sell” myself as an unemployed curriculum developer/tech writer that can ease their pain points as to a frachise, or even a management job (- a “what not to do” is not being a deliver person because they won’t learn the business and it will be waste of my time and not get me towards my goal). I know that I can do this job and be very successfull at it.

    So, what are some of the things I can do to convince them to take me on and eventually allow me to buy a franchise.

  187. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    What advice do you have for grad students? More specifically, do you have suggestions to those who are halfway/post-Master’s in a PhD program as to how we can create and make the most of networking opportunities, how to pursue internships and know which internships have the most value, and seeking jobs while you are ABD (all but dissertation)?

    Do you have advice regarding how to best market yourself during and after grad school?

    Near the end of grad school, are there any steps you recommend for making the transition to working and finding work in your field?

    I’m in a research-based psychology program, so I’m interested in answers pertaining to my field but I’m sure answers will generally apply.

    I’d really appreciate any thoughts!

  188. avatar


    I just graduated with my bachelor’s in May from Cornell in Entrepreneurship and Finance. My GPA was 3.34 I started my job search later than usual. I don’t want to go into banking and really want to join a tech startup in some sort of analyst or business development position (even though I’m not an engineer). I have experience working as a licensed commodities broker (internship), commercial banking compliance (intern), founded a security camera e-commerce site and ran that for a little over a year and research assistant experience.

    I don’t have a job yet and have tried applying through websites, searching for job openings and then seeing if I know someone on LinkedIn, emailing people from the Cornell alumni database who work there and emailing people from my fraternity database.

    Applying straight through a company website has only worked twice for an interview and that was Google and Dropbox. I’m never doing this again because I feel like hundreds of people do this everyday and it is a waste of time. I’ve done this for a lot of companies and only two responded. I figured if an employee would refer me that would work better.

    The other interviews I got were for Credit Suisse and Tesla Motors. I got the CS interview because an alumni of my fraternity emailed their HR. It turns out they were final rounding an applicant when they interviewed me and I didn’t get another interview. I got an interview at Tesla Motors because a friend emailed someone on LinkedIn and they had been in the same fraternity. He emailed me saying the job I had applied for was taken, but another opportunity had cropped up (which wasn’t posted online). I was interviewed, but wasn’t offered the position.

    LinkedIn has come in handy up to a certain point. A lot of times, I have to ask someone to reach out to the person at the company and that doesn’t always work out. Other times, I email people who work at the company I’m interested in and they don’t respond. I’ve had only 4 interviews so far, but I’ve sent out hundreds of emails.

    I’m thinking of doing a few things going forward. I want to completely stop posting resumes up on job sites and just reach out to people on LinkedIn. I was thinking of getting a paid account so that I can instantly reach out to people who work at the companies I’m interested in instead of going through someone else. I’m also thinking of developing technical skills in my spare time, such as SQL. I have intermediate Excel skills and have experience with SPSS and Oracle.

    My question is how do I get better results and get more interviews at the jobs I really want? I’ve been struggling lately at getting interviews.

    Another question I have is what is a sure fire email to send to someone and get a response? I want to increase the chances that someone will help me land a job or at least pass my resume along…

    Also, how do I really nail those interviews and get the job? It seems that I’m not as good as I thought I was at interviewing because I’ve had some great jobs at great companies slip through my hands.

    My last question is do you think I should enroll in your Earn1K course? Unfortunately, I have student loans to pay and I need to start making some side income if my job hunt dry spell continues…



  189. avatar

    I also forgot to add that I’m currently located in Florida and would prefer to be in California, New York, or Seattle. How do I go about switching coasts? That has also been pretty frustrating.

  190. avatar

    I think I’m typecast as a techie and not management caliber in my current position. How can I make sure that when I make a break for my own business I’m not sabotaging my pitches to potential clients by being ‘too engineerey’?


  191. avatar
    2011 MBA

    I joined business school full-time after working for 3 years.

    Over the past few months post-MBA, I have discovered that I am interviewing for the same jobs as people who have 5-8 more years of work experience than I. Employers say they want fresh blood and care more about drive than experience. They even let me go through all of the interview rounds.

    But then the experienced people get the offers.

    What do I need to do to convince an employer that I’m not as big of a risk as they think — that he/she really does want fresh blood over experience?

  192. avatar

    how do you prepare for an interview?

  193. avatar
    steve ward

    hello Ramit, good to talk with you again (ok that sounded lame lol) i enjoy reading and putting into action several of your post. My plans for this post the (How to become world-class at finding your dream job)

    Is to help me with my own system, here is what i have done already and what i need help with

    What i have done so far:

    I have several years of small business knowledge so i have knowledge of how to set one up, how to keep it running and how to close it down. Beyond that I’m a self starter, i know how to handle money for the most part etc.

    Beyond business i have develop my own little system for working out with the end result of a Hollywood style body that is tied in with my business knowledge.

    Now I’ve created a blog named Stevehiresaboss to be different from the crowd, from there i plan on developing a tailored made resume just for this task something that stands out.

    i got the idea of the blog from

    Problems or huh what I’m i doing wrong or not doing:

    1) I’m not sure what system builder, system manipulator is under in jobs lol?

    2) Not sure how this will let me travel as well as do other things?

    3) i almost feel this is a meet the person (the old man on the island that you find out runs a multi-billion dollar business), Type of job instead of going full tilt with the business?

    4) Not sure how to setup the resume to highlight that i know how to create, and manipulator system. While showing that it not just business but every day things that can help you out?

    5) I’m thinking a resume should be short and standout in some way so the person who is looking for that person. Will see that resume and go hmm maybe this person?

    6) What is the best way to show that you know how a system works? I’m thinking that it needs to be broke down into small parts and then walked through step by step? But can you really do that with youtube? Maybe a combine attack list/blog/youtube?

    7) I’m thinking of using the blog to show how the system works, take it apart, put it back together and show weak points. So if i want to work for Google show the above? What if you don’t have a profile of your boss in mind?

    8) What if you have a bad health problem how can you turn that into a benefit to the person or company? For instance I have bad sinus/allergy migraines headache. I’m Figure on saying something like this “Do to health problems that would leave me hurting all day, i have greatly increased my abilities to create systems that would help me when I’m Sick.” Would something like that work?

    Well that about it thanks Ramit for your energy and time Steve Ward

  194. avatar
    steve ward

    9) how do you show and not tell a company, a boss, a person that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread? For instance lets say a company is in cali and you live in Ohio, do you hope on a plane and ask them out for coffee when you land?

  195. avatar

    How would you recommend reacting when being asked a question in an interview you do not know the answer to? For example, being asked what you think about a particular methodology you have not heard of or used in your experience.

  196. avatar

    I have just moved back to the US after living in Europe for 7 years. Prior to leaving for Europe I worked in tv production and creative services management. In Europe, I worked in tv marketing (commercials, corporate videos) and education (teaching and lecturing at primary schools and universities). I’m creating a company that creates new media content for businesses (corporate videos) and entertainment content for the web. Question: should I focus on the corporate work first and if so, what is the best way to approach potential clients?

  197. avatar

    Hi Ramit

    Yes I have a dream job. I would love to join the Android development team at Google! I applied a few months ago and got a phone interview, but unfortunately didn’t go past that.

    Anyway, my question is, what is the best “system” for applying to jobs / contacting prospective employers? i.e. Emailing in a resume is an obvious way to get ignored in today’s economy/job market.

    Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, recommends mailing (yes physically *mailing*) in an “introduction letter”, then 7 days later mailing a cover letter/resume, and finally calling by phone a few days later.

    I’m not so sure this is the best strategy for cutting-edge technology companies, especially start-ups, ie if they will laugh at the idea of receiving paper in the mail.

    What is your preferred system for applying to prospective employers? Or in other words, what is/are the best method(s) for setting yourself apart in order to go from initial contact to making them salivate to interview you?

  198. avatar

    So I have done the “research interview” only to find out that what I thought would be my dream job wasn’t quite right for me. Better to find out now rather than later right? But what if everything you thought was supposed to be right for you just doesn’t pan out? Worse what if what you’re good at is something you don’t really like at all???

  199. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    That’s it. This is the best question on this thread. I’m shutting comments off now…forever.

  200. avatar

    I would like to know about how best to utilize a degree I kind of wish I never got. Here’s my situation:

    – Began a Chemistry major with the intention of going to med school. Decided not to do that.
    – Decided to go to grad school instead after my junior year. By the beginning of my senior year I’d decided that wasn’t a good fit either. I don’t want to devote my life to science and that’s what it takes to be successful at the PhD level. I want my work to financially support my life, not to BE my life.
    – Got lucky and landed a job at the college I attended before I even graduated. I had to finish up four more classes and my GI Bill had run out, so this allowed me to finish the classes and pay the bills. The hours and benefits are great but the pay really isn’t and there’s no upward mobility.
    – Now I’ve graduated and still have the job but am exploring my options.

    So now I have a Bachelor’s degree but don’t know what the hell to do with it. Without at least a Master’s it’s hard to find a job other than being a PhD’s lab bitch (I’ll pass, got my fill of doing other people’s dirty work in the Army). So now I’m trying to decide which is the best option:

    1. Start over and get a degree in a field I might enjoy. Financially this will be difficult and I’m not sure it would be worth the time. I’m so burned out on school right now this seems like a bad idea.

    2. Sit back and relax in the job I have, which only takes 40 hours a week of my time and gives me about 25 days a year paid time off, and use that free time to develop something profitable on the side that more closely aligns with interests that aren’t related to my degree. Think Tim Ferriss’s plan in The Four Hour Work Week, except it’s impossible for me to work remotely because my job requires my presence to mix chemicals together.

    3. Go try to find another job in my field that pays better without requiring insane hours and that I don’t hate doing. The biggest problem is that most jobs in this field at the Bachelor’s level are full of meaningless busywork. I DON’T want to spend 8 or more hours a day running samples of the same crap through an analytical instrument or preparing the same solution again and again. I want to find a job that utilizes skills I’ve developed outside of school but that would still value my degree enough to pay me like a college graduate and not a trained monkey. There just aren’t many of those jobs out there and I’m not sure how to find them.

    At this point I’m leaning most closely towards Option 2. I actually like this job and the people I work with I just want more money and the freedom to go find something better if it’s out there. Part of what’s holding me back on Option 3 is a lackluster GPA. Things really fell apart for a variety of reasons in my Junior and Senior years and my grades took a hit.

    In summary, what I want to know about is how to find unconventional jobs in your field and how to deal with so-so grades on a resume. Thanks for the help.

  201. avatar

    Hi, Ramit,

    Thanks for writing this. I’m in one of those companies you described, where it recently dawned on me how ridiculous it was that someone is determining my self worth based on an arbitrary rating. I wish I was as prescient as you were during school as I may have taken a different path.

    I’m currently trying to transition to a different job, but I’m having trouble pinning down job titles as I’ve been told by people I’ve spoken to (career counselors and the like) that the job I’m looking for doesn’t exist. Thus far, I’ve completed various career assessments, spoke to several career counselors/career coaches and friends on what I’m good at/where they see me. I’ve also done research online on more than three career websites on jobs, but nothing seems to hit or feel like “my passion.”

    I’d love to talk to people all day and have something to offer and help them, but I don’t like having to convince someone or change someone’s behavior, such as in high-pressure sales. I wouldn’t mind writing a little report at the end of the day. Friends say I’m a “connector” and I remember what people need and find resources to connect them with. I’d like to work in the international field (I have a degree in International Affairs) with technology (no formal degree, self-taught). I’m also pretty systematic and organized, and would like to work in a low-pressure, collaborative environment. I’d also like to make the equivalent of what I’m making now (>80k) if not more.

    1. One strategy is to take a job with elements that I like and hope that it parlays into the dream job. A sales job with quotas, for instance, was someone’s suggestion. However, if people keep saying that my dream job doesn’t exist, should I still pursue it in the hopes that I may create it and/or it materializes down the road? Or should I change my expectations and take a job that does exist, even if it’s not a dream?

    2. Cal Newport talks about how job satisfaction has more to do with skill mastery and attitude rather than a passion. I’m trying to move into the tech field without a degree so it will take me longer to master skills than someone who graduated with a tech degree. Am I resigned to having to work twice as hard and long to get to mastery? Or, should I then stay in my current job and try to find a skill to master rather than going for what I think I like to do?

    3. A company I recently interviewed with has invited me back for a second interview. It’s not my dream job, but I followed your advice, they said a number first and it’s a number I’m happy with. However, they do not have much vacation/sick time, which is something I’d like to negotiate. How do and where in the process do I begin this negotiation?

    4. @Havana has some excellent questions that I had as well and just haven’t been able to articulate. +1 for me for all of her questions.

    Thank you, Ramit. I think it’s hard to pin down the exact specifics of what makes looking for dream job difficult. I’ve discovered that it is personally difficult to define a passion, and when I looked into my own case, I guessed that one of the contributing factors was that I came from a family where work is just work and emotions don’t come into it. It took a while for me to challenge the script and to rule out accounting as a field because even though I hate numbers, I was relatively decent at it, which made me think I could do it. When I was really honest with myself, I realized that I would be miserable every single day. Defining negatives are much easier than defining positives and while I’ve narrowed many fields down, I still have a ways to go.

  202. avatar

    How to find unadvertised jobs?

    How to know what is the salary range to avoid asking for too high or low?

    How to state your desired salary when they ask in the interview?

    How to negotiate higher if they offer you a lot lower than you expected?

    How to ask for salary amount you want without fear of losing the perceived opportunity of the one and only dream job?

    Would you apply for a job where you match only 60-70% of requirements/experience?

    If you do not match exactly the experience they want, what is best way to present your your resume so that you have a chance of being invited to the interview. in case they are desperate to fill the position?

    If you do not match requirements exactly and you are invited to an interview:
    – what is best way to present yourself at the interview knowing that you are not the ideal candidate?
    – how would you state the salary you want based on the fact that you know you are not the ideal, would you ask for less to match you lack of experience, so that you might get the job?

    Other than the obvious (web), what is the best way to prepare for the interview in terms of researching the company that you will be interviewed at?

    What is the best way to research the job that you will be interviewed for as preparation for the interview, so that you can prepare how well you match the job and let them know this when answering questions at the interview?

  203. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I’m a writer, facilitator and consultant. My emphasis right now is leading college essay writing workshops targeted to small organizations, high schools (in NYC–mostly charter since they have a greater emphasis on college readiness and the infrastructure to make decisions a bit more expediently than traditional public schools) and individuals. I have a great list of about 100 contacts to pursue and a business plan that markets my offers exceptionally well.

    The catch: None of these places are actively recruiting for this opportunity but all could benefit from it. **HOW do I convey my opportunities to them and convince them they have a need that I can fill?*

  204. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    My question is how best to prepare the following documents for my upcoming performance review (=opportunity to get a raise+bonus). I show these three documents and discuss w/my manager, who then has to “pitch” my performance to a committee. I never get to talk to the committee. I do have to provide my manager with enough information to make a good case.

    1. list of yearly objectives/results
    2. list of awards, publications, any other accomplishments
    3. one page viewgraph, nearly any format I want, highlighting one or two most important accomplishments from 2 in more detail.

    any advice helpful. what would you do to maximize promotion/raise possibility given these constraints? i can meet w/my manager again beforehand. thanks!

  205. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    That’s because they fail both parts of my Pay Certainty Technique.

    They don’t have the ABILITY or WILLINGNESS to pay. Why would they? Does this help their mission? Answer: no.

    I would re-frame and reposition. Since this is more of a side business, I cover exactly how in my Earn1K course.

  206. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    You have a lot of assumptions in your comment, especially around #3. How do you know? Go take 15 people from your industry out for coffee and test your assumption.

  207. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    You are right on with testing. It’s infinitely better to find out you do/don’t love something before you invest a ton of time.

  208. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    How many people at Google have you talked to personally (not a recruiter) to learn more about recruiting and the actual job?

  209. avatar

    I recently found my dream job. So many of these comments have absolutely nothing to do with actually finding or getting the job! Do the job, talk about what you’ve done.

    There’s always some way you can do what you want to, no matter how minor. It’s interview ammo, and leads to understanding, and the briefcase technique.

  210. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    1. Know the answer
    2. If you don’t, tell them you don’t and ask for clarification.

    You would be surprised how many people snort at #1 but don’t actually know the answers to questions they SHOULD…because they never practice interviews.

  211. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    You are doing great. But there are some pitfalls in your strategy.

    You rightly noted that applying blindly to jobs doesn’t work. So your best results have come from networking and personal relationships…so do more of that.

    Next, your interview skills aren’t great. You need to dramatically improve those.

    Finally, your timing is bad. You waited way too long to start applying. Nothing you can do about that except focus on what you’re doing going forward.

  212. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    So true. Everyone read this comment.

  213. avatar

    I want to be a sports massage therapist hired by contract to work for a really famous (read: rich) athlete. I read an article about a woman who does this and she pretty much just works part time, sometimes massages him for sprains and injuries/recovery from once a week to twice a day sometimes. Sounded pretty sweet, and she made bank.

  214. avatar

    I have recently quit a corporate job to work on some startup ideas and I am loving the challenge and the excitement from not knowing exactly what is going to come next and having to figure it out as I go. I think of this as my perfect job because I feel like I am making an impact and I see the results of my labor. I like that I am figuring out how I can best use my skills and experiences to help leave our world better than how I found it.

    I am in the stage where I am curating and creating content for a photoblog to attract my target demographic of customers and am working on refining my business model and value proposition in the mean time. I want to learn about how to drive more repeat traffic to my blog and I want to learn about how to craft a sales proposal to pitch to local small retail businesses.

  215. avatar

    Without a doubt, I would love to know most about writing a winning resume and then nailing the toughest interview questions. Because I’m all about thinking and doing things differently, I constantly wonder what ways you can land a job without going through the “resume–>interview process”. I have heard quite a few stories of how people just happened to meet and connect with the right people higher up in a company and only having to go through that process as a formality because they convinced the higher-up enough already that they were perfect for the position.

    This is clearly a great way to land a position, but how can you set up such a situation?

  216. avatar


    Have you noticed how you get hundreds of replies with almost the same questions from us when you promise to deliver something back with your own thoughts but hardly get double digit replies when you post amazing case studies or regular post?

    Are we all just want ‘more’ information on what Ramit thinks/says or are we really looking to change our existing jobs?


  217. avatar
    John G

    As an Army Reservist with a degree in music performance, I have a hard time with a few things:
    – How do I figure out what I’m “qualified” to do?
    – How do I convert the skills that I have learned in the military into civilian equivalents?
    – Many employers seem hesitant about hiring Army Reservists because they tend to deploy frequently and/or have mandatory training events that take them away from work. How do you suggest I work with my civilian employer to resolve these sorts of issues?

    Keep up the great work, Ramit! Getting your emails is a highlight of my day. And your book was amazing! I recommend it constantly to my friends.

  218. avatar

    Wow, some good comments and questions. Some on target, some could be answered by looking at much of the other great material Ramit has shared already.

    As I build and use my network to learn more about those companies in which I think I could find (or better yet MAKE) my dream job, the challenges I’ve come across are:
    (1) how to target the briefcase method with more specific numbers from within their business. It is sometimes hard, as an outsider, to get specifics about their internal business either for confidentiality reasons or finding the right contact that is knowledgeable enough to be correct.

    (2) Finding the right questions or having the deep enough discussion with new contacts to understand the companies work culture to know that it’s a match for my style. The work can be great, but if the company politics or personal attitudes are wrong, it can suck just as bad as the wrong work.

    Thanks for the help and information you provide Ramit.

  219. avatar
    Dan C


    I’m working through your course and am running into a little bit of conflicting information with people I am talking with about my idea. I’d like to help people find the right high-end sports car, but it seems like I’d have trouble without having the background of owning any. I think my questions would relate to a lot of people though;

    How do you convince someone that your lack of experience shouldn’t be a drawback (to an extent)? How can you demonstrate that your passion, dedication and willingness to learn can make up for experience?



  220. avatar

    I’ve been looking for a creative job since forever, but that’s part of the problem, I can’t seem to get more specific than “creative,” namely one utilizing my artistic skills. You search for creative jobs online and you get Kinko’s. The other issue is that my job history has nothing of the sort, so attempts to tailor my resume to find said jobs has been difficult. I recently attempted to, with some help, but the job I was seeking was already gone the day after I saw it online. I’ve looked into gaming jobs, but there’s always some required computer program I don’t know and can’t afford, and the usual catch-22 of jobs requiring experience but not giving it. Okay, you can put your “Wahhhh” comment on here now. 😉

  221. avatar

    What’s the best way to stay focused on my day job during work hours so that I build up my skills during and outside work hours for my dream job?

  222. avatar

    Hi Ramit
    I would really like to switch into a different aspect of a career I’m already in. I’m currently ina public setting, but would like to be working in a academic university setting.
    I have the education required, but most places seem to want only people who have prior experience working in a university. My public experience seems not to matter at all. In my cover letters and resumes, I address all of the points that they are looking for, translating public experience into an applicable collegiate setting. I have gone to continuing education conferences, kept up on technological advancements in my field, etc. Is there anything else, in your opinion, that I can be doing to improve my chances of at least getting an interview? I realize the job outlook is tight, but this is getting terribly frustrating! There is no possibility for advancement at my current job, and I have been there for over 5 years. I’m likely to be in an entry level position until I am close to retiring. All promotion is based on seniority.
    Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

  223. avatar

    Also, the briefcase technique is money. I happen to have an interview next week for a marketing position and am currently working on a “value proposition portfolio”, some of the things I’ve done is making market analyses on the company’s industry that reveal who their target demographic is, what their competitor’s (who is #1 in the industry) target demos is, and how I can add value to the company in my position by helping close the grap in blah – blah – blah specific ways.

    Should I go into the interview guns blazing? or wait for them to give me a window? I prefer to just go in there and kind of use your script, “Hey before we get started, I just want to….[go into value proposition]” Because this is an interview rather than a client meeting, I’m wondering if more tact is necessary…

  224. avatar

    I find myself in an odd place because I’ve worked 2 dream jobs, but they each only lasted a weekend and both were unpaid/volunteer opportunities. My current job is enjoyable and pays me well, but I know it definitely isn’t my passion. Let me try to sum up how I got into the 2 jobs and why I loved them.

    The first was helping to host a video game tournament with one of the major game console makers for my college campus.

    At the time I was part of a club that hosted gaming events, so we did Smash Bros, DDR, and Guitar Hero events and such. I made a completely random contact with someone who worked for one of the 3 big companies, and told him I ran gaming events and asked what sort of events they did for college kids (because college kids love their games and play them religiously). He said none, so I grabbed his business card and told him if I had any ideas I’d let him know.

    I did, and ran it by a few friends to guage interest. They sounded super-excited so I had to try. Called my contact up, he liked it and forwarded me to the proper people. After researching the idea’s feasibility (numbers, attendance, entire logistics run down of good locations on-campus/equipment needs/what our team was capable of, and tons of other information), and a few months of back and forth, we finally made some forward progress.

    They had a similar event in mind when we talked to them, and since I proved to them that my team knew what we were doing, they took a risk and made us one of 4 stops for this tournament.

    The week before and day of the event was pure awesome madness; getting the equipment ready, making last minute trips for missing pieces, working with a few different organizations on campus (catering, A/V teams, etc…) to make last-minute adjustments, and then getting everyone on my team ready to do their part. It went amazingly and I loved every second of it, but then it was all over.

    Before I got the second dream job, I volunteered for one of the big video game expos, and did some basic logistical grunt work for a weekend. I was really interested to see how the event was managed and run from the inside, so I tried to move around a lot and see where they needed help, and what roles might be fun for the next year.

    I noticed that they were not only really short-staffed, but a lot of the people that volunteer don’t really have much event experience. They do an amazing job, but they’re sort of learning on the fly.

    I happened to make some friends that actually have a booth at this thing and I asked them what work goes into it. They met with me for lunch and we sort of went back and forth and I got a ton of awesome information from them.

    So the next year it seemed like a lot of the people who filled the expo’s personal assistant positions wouldn’t be able to make it. These positions can’t be volunteered for and are only given to people who have been at the expo for years. I mentioned to my friends that if they were interest in having some they knew be their personal assistant, I would be around and they might be able to request me.

    What was funny was I immediately marked that email with my “failure” tag thinking this was an impossible request, and within 24 hours the expo people told me I was being specially assigned to my friends.

    The expo was short-staffed as expected, and instead of working with just my friends and 2-3 others, I got assigned to be the personal assistant for them and 10 other companies. I was given authority to solve any problem they had as well as help with food runs, fixing booth issues, reminding them of any panels they need to be at and everything else you can think of. Again, I loved every second of it, and a few gave amazing feedback on my performance, but this job comes once a year and it’s unpaid.

    I’ll be honest: It’s a little bit frustrating because it’s hard to quantify why I loved these jobs, and that’s made it difficult to track down any work that compares. After spending time with people in this industry, it seems that opportunities like this are rare, and if a similar position opens it’s full-time and involves a ton of travel.

    The questions I don’t have good answers for are… How can I test opportunities to determine what my passion truly is, when so few opportunities seem to exist? And how do I devote the time to this search when my current job is expecting me to stick around for another year at least? I am going back to my old plan of meeting/grabbing lunch with folks in the game industry and listening to what their needs are, but if I need to focus on something else, I would love to know what it is I’m missing.

    Feel free to rip this giant post apart, and thanks in advance for this series Ramit!


  225. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Absolutely. It drives me nuts.

  226. avatar

    I want to be a cross-cultural consultant, using my trilingual international work experience to have my own business, training CEOS and executives all over the world about how better to get along with each other and build the best work environment for success. No, wait, I want to be an interior designer for restaurants and hotels, creating the best spaces for fine dining and rest… Or maybe just a traveling writer, using my travel expertise and way with words to inform others??!!

    My question is— With all my varied interests, as you can see in the example above, how do I pick just one for my future?? One day I want my own business because I want independence and self-sufficiency. Another day I want to be an interior designer, but that doesn’t sound prestigious enough, so maybe an architect?? And I’d love to be a writer (been doing part-time for years) but I don’t want to be a starving artist!

    Right now I’m an English teacher in Seoul, Korea, and what was once a satisfying adventure has become a prison of doldrums. I know I need a plan to get out and move on, so what should I do?? How do I prioritize my goals and dreams when they are so diverse and vitriolic??

    Looking forward to your answer. And thanks for your informative emails.

  227. avatar

    @Jackie — Apply to the top 20 graduate programs in your field. Focus on the professors who teach in those programs. Who is already doing research in the field you want to enter? You choose your graduate program based on who you want to direct your dissertation, not the overall/general reputation of the university itself. Go to the university that offers you a full tuition scholarship plus a teaching assistantship with stipend. Get a really cheap apartment! And scrounge up a roommate quickly (or live with your parents). That’s how I got my MA degree, debt-free. Never take out student loans for a graduate program in anything. If the program doesn’t have enough full tuition scholarships and an *paid* research/teaching assistantships to be able to offer you one, they are probably accepting too many students into the program, with the expectation that the rest can just take out loans. Problem with that scenario: they are printing too many degrees! It devalues the degree the way the Treasury printing money devalues the dollar. If you want to be a college professor, don’t do it in a field where most graduate students are borrowing money to go to school because their programs didn’t have enough scholarship/assistantship money to go around. There will be too few jobs, and too many graduates competing for them. It’s a problem that has existed a long time in the arts and humanities.

  228. avatar

    Would you consider teaching abroad? Korea has a lot of demand for ESL, and your master’s degree can get you university work here.

  229. avatar

    (Not related to your post, but just wondering how you did the eLearning Contractor gig? I’ve been in ESL for four years in Korea and would love to travel around the world with some freelance (not classroom!) work. Would you be willing to explain what you did? Thanks~*)

  230. avatar
    David K

    I am a recent college grad stuck in Michigan. How do I convert my $12 an hour manager position into a dream job in a more economically stable part of the country?

  231. avatar

    ps You can contact me at

  232. avatar
    Eric B.

    My dream job involves helping companies be better businesses, by helping them trim processes, stop wasting money, and doing a better job of defining their products. Over the years I’ve discovered there’s one big catch…no company will admit their processes are bloated, that they waste too much money or don’t know how to define their products. As a result, they have no motive to hire me. I even learned this on my current 40 hour/week desk job. After assembling a cogent and metric-heavy unsolicited proposal on how we could save money by improving some of our processes, I got a luke warm reception. (BTW, I hadn’t read any books on persuasion or influence at that time.) How do I sell my knowledge and skills to a company that doesn’t know it needs them, or prefers to not admit it?

  233. avatar

    Dear Ramit,
    1)How can I apply your techniques in Sri Lanka ?

  234. avatar

    I decided to read through the comments and see which one Ramit was responding to and happened upon this one. It’s funny, because I noticed the same thing around 12 pm EST today and that fact is what encouraged me to even look into the Earn1K program. Here’s to the beginning of changing my outlook. Cheers!

  235. avatar

    Wow – great lead in. Follow my passion and get paid handsomely to do so while impacting the lives of others and helping them in turn to be all they can be. My latest stumbling block is directly tied to having ten plus years in a specific industry (telecommunications) and finding a suitable exit strategy while not sacrificing compensation.
    Secondary goal is establishing a secondary business to generate income.
    Thanks Ramit

  236. avatar

    What I have done:
    In the past 5 years after college graduation I have taken various opportunities climbing to Sr. Analyst at a CPG company. I now took a developmental opportunity on the Sales side because it would allow for management experience, an understanding of the Retail side of the business, and to identify if this is my sweet spot in terms of strength. My strength tends to be more on the people side than analytics, as well as my interest. But to confirm I want to take on the opportunity and really put myself in a new environment I have not had too much experience in. My fear is that I am doing something untraditional instead of constantly moving up I am moving in another direction and though financially I am whole with some new perks, I constantly feel like I need to remind myself that I am doing it for the experience not the promotion/pay as of now. Of course that is hard to get into my head as I watch others who around my age leap up through promotions. I feel like I compare myself to them or those already on the Sales track who are ahead of me. Do you have any advice to conquer this and/or advice as I embark in this Sales role?

  237. avatar

    For graduates, I have a question:
    Most graduate jobs take about 3 months, some 6 months to go through the whole process: intitial online application, maths/english/other tests, then a phone interview, then two rounds of full interviews etc…

    The downside of this system is that many people need a job for the interim – and you can’t tell a recruiter that you’re waiting on more important jobs, and taking a decent-ish full time job doesn’t work so well, especially if you have to leave abruptly after 6 months. (Not to mention lying in an interview is bad, and a mediocre one will realise that taking a sub-par position isn’t’ necessarily candidate X’s dream job.)

    Maybe a strategic plan (which I’m sure you have) on how to get the dream job that incorporates real life – that people need to pay their rent in the mean time. I know 100’s of students/graduates who’d appreciate your input.

  238. avatar

    Wow, these comments make me feel truly blessed in having found a dream balance. I’m not so much concerned about my specific job per say (because it changes and will continue to change over my lifetime), but rather the balance I have doing various fun and less fun, but required, stuff.

    No job is perfect, but they generally present opportunities which can be exploited. Instead of being bored during the downtime, I used the lulls to get two side efforts underway.

    So my balance is great because my “ job” affords me an absurd amount of flexibility and financial return with which to fund and develop the side efforts. I know I have a great balance because even if my two side efforts blew-up (in a good way!), I wouldn’t quit my “job”.

    It’s been mentioned before, but I’m blown away at how many people are asking things that have been covered / given away for free from ramit’s site. Targeted action (ie, actually doing stuff, not just reading about it) is grossly underrated.

    Best wishes to those struggling to make it work inspite of having read and digested all the great info this site has to offer.

  239. avatar

    I Don’t know what I want to do with my life.

    I have lots of ideas, and lots of goals.

    But none of them scream “this is it’

    Can you tell me how to figure out what my passion, purpose and life goals are?


  240. avatar

    A few years ago I was looking for a tenure-track faculty position at a University in Europe in my field of expertise. In my field there are between zero and two such openings every year. I had all skills and qualifications for the position and I had applied to every single opening (this part wasn’t really difficult based on the numbers). I got two invitations to job interviews, but no offer from those.

    In some cases the people who got offers were either former students or long-term collaborators of existing staff (although this is hard to tell/generalize based on the limited statistics, see above).

    After reading Ramit’s rich resources I have noticed that I had made several crucial mistakes: Not preparing specifically for the opening, not researching the specific challenges the department faces, not understanding how to focus on the hiring committee instead of my own work.

    The question is: Had I not made the mistakes outlined in the previous paragraph, I would still have faced a tiny market with positions apparently being awarded based on nepotism – does it even make sense to try to work this market?

  241. avatar

    Dear Ramit,
    first of all, I would like to thank you for send me so many messages.
    My dream job is have a fancy bake store someday in the future. It offer different breads and cakes for consumer. (I have no any experience.)
    But, now I have a steadily job, if I work for 25 years, I’ll have retirement pay for all my life.
    Sorry, My english is not well, I hope you can understand what I mean.

  242. avatar

    My passion is sports. I have worked for a sports league before but not in the right department, so I left. Now I am trying to figure out how to get back into the industry after a 5+ year absence. In the last year I have found that my other passion is coaching volleyball. Now my question is how do I create a gig that will support or offset the low paying coaching gigs and afford me the time to coach (coaching is not a regular 9 to 5).

  243. avatar

    I currently work at my dream job: teaching art to children. I used to teach fourth grade, but was stressed and miserable at the thought of only teaching to the test.

    Here’s the way I found my dream job:

    I worked my hardest, even though I hated it. I found the good and examined the whys of hating my job.

    Once I realized why I hated my job (too much test stress and no joy in teaching just to teach) I figured out the best way to change it:
    -examined my natural abilities and talents (which didn’t seem that extraordinary at the time)
    -researched how to best utilize these abilities
    -narrowed down my list of possible careers based on realistic factors such as flexibility in location, money available to pursue further education and certification
    -decided on night classes as a way to pursue content knowledge
    -put all my effort into earning As, without sacrificing my full time job success
    -researched and scheduled the certification test
    – studied using discussion boards and internet postings from previous test takers
    -studied some more
    -took the test and thought I failed but didn’t give up
    -notified the HR department of my passing score and inquired about openings
    -boss recruited me to take over a retiree’s position as an art teacher

    I feel like this is what I was born to do… But I’m looking to take it to the next level and someday open an after school art studio for budding artists 🙂 hmmm… Where to begin?

  244. avatar

    Ramit – thanks for the great post, the timing couldn’t be better as I’m struggling to define the dream job right now and would really appreciate your great insights.

    1. I’ve been researching extensively to see if my dream job even exists. Ideally, it would be something in VIP services where I would be a host/concierge of sorts to lucrative individuals or businesses.  I’d travel with or for them, definitely want top notch/first class perks, be an independent contractor with an earning potential that isnt limited to a salary.  Closest advertised jobs that relate to this would be VIP representative at a casino, hotel concierge, and executive assistant.  Obviously this is very broad and not niche, but I’m keeping different avenues open to try and assess demand before I eliminate.

    2. Here’s my problem, this type of job seems to be very secretive in nature and therefore not advertised and google searches aren’t accurate.  I did anticipate this, but was still surprised at how little information there is online.  The advertised jobs I mentioned above are similar but not exactly what I’m looking for.  I’ve spoken to a few people in hospitality/gaming and EA’s, and they either don’t know this exists, don’t have these perks or are doing something similar but only part time and just for fun.  How do I go about finding seasoned people who are doing what I want and would be able provide insight on this type of work? As you mentioned in a previous post, there seems to be a game being played around me that I’m not aware of.  Though I’m pretty sure there is a game if there are those that at least do this part time.  Feel free to correct my logic if it’s flawed.

    3. Besides online searching and talking to individuals who I think might be able to shed some light, what else do you think would be helpful? How would you approach it based on your experience of having access to opportunities that aren’t made publicly aware?  What sort of testing system would you set up to eliminate dead ends as much as possible?

    4. Going forward, I’m going to try these options and am leaning towards option A. 

    a. Actually applying for one of the advertised jobs and once I start see if I can leverage similar skills and network even more as I continue this elusive search.  There are opportunities everywhere, who knows where it can lead to.

    b. Casting a wider net and reaching out to people who work in industries that might need VIP services (i.e. travel agencies)

    c. Look for similar jobs that aren’t necessarily VIP but require the same skills.  My guess is that people who do this line of work don’t really rely on traditional resumes but mostly through word of mouth and networking.  They also seem quite personable and have great persuasive skills so perhaps something sales oriented.

    Any help you could provide would be great.  Thanks!


  245. avatar
    Bradley Shively

    Hi Ramit,

    I work for one of the “big four” auditors, in its IT consulting practice. I really enjoy my job (for the most part), and I also make a great salary. In fact, my major was the highest paying on average out of my school, and the firm I work for is typically in the top one or two for starting salaries extended to people in my program. However, my passion is to work for a company like Google, Facebook, or Twitter and then eventually to join or form a startup.

    A few months ago I had an interview with Google. I applied for (and was internally referred for) an entry level project management position. I received a message saying that they wanted to interview me for a more experienced position as the entry level role had been filled. I had a phone interview, during which I thought I got slaughtered and had no chance of getting a second interview. Then two weeks later I got an e-mail inviting me to California for an on-site. I was stoked.

    I didn’t end up getting the job. I felt like I interviewed well, and I got some good feedback (they said they wanted someone with more experience ironically, and seemed sincere about their encouragement to reapply in a year or so.) I also got some input from my friend that works there, saying they may have decided to hold off on filling the position due to a hiring slowdown/freeze and there is a solid chance that I’ll receive a call in the future asking me to reinterview.

    In the mean time, I am looking at grad schools. Specifically, I’m trying to go to Stanford because 1. It’s a great program and 2. I know it has tight ties with Google and I think it could be a solid “in” for me. Do you think this is a reasonable approach? Do you have any other tips for turning this kind of disappointment into an opportunity to come back stronger? I’d really appreciate your help/thoughts. I’d also be very interested in any Stanford (or top 10 MBA programs in general) tips you may have.


  246. avatar

    I have never been a big fan of the “find your passion, and you will never have to work again” school of crap advice. So you discovery pottery making is your deep desire passion, but if you arent good at it or arnt making money, its unsustainable.
    Rich people know that only those with power or money are the ones who can truly enjoy their passions.

    Anycase now my issue.
    I am male slightly over the demographic of this readership base. I reside in Calgary, Canada. Its oil and gas town. Think Houston, Texas. My professional background is as a real estate appraiser. The commercial kind. working towards an MBA. Work for a consulting firm. I worked very hard for 5 years to obtain certification in this area to just find that this fees are declining, the demand is declining, and analytics is taking over.
    So now im in the wrong city, doing a work with limited scope to advance and make money out of. So heres my options.
    1. ive always wanted to work for a PE firm or pension fund with a focus on running their RE fund. I am great at quants and hold this role with great admiration. But Calgary offers limited scope for such roles. Do I move to another city? hard to move as my wife is getting her master.
    2. Go full time for my MBA in finance specialzation. give up my passion for RE and get involved in Fin Mgt for Oil & gas firm in Calgary. love this city BTW.
    3. Work in RE div for oil and gas firm. combine my RE passion with core industry in calgary. But it will forever limit my advancement to Snr VP of Real estate div (never the king of the hill).

  247. avatar

    I’m job hunting right now, so this post is well-timed.
    How do you answer questions about why you left a job?
    At a recent interview, I was honest and told them I took an extended break to visit family outside the country & do volunteer work. I’m wondering if being honest worked against me. I left last position in good standing, so I could technically go back. But I want to explore other options first.

    My dream job:
    I enjoy travel, books and food. If I could do anything in the world, I’d travel and write about my adventures. But it’s not financially feasible right now. I’m more picky about jobs now than I was in the past. I’m in healthcare, so lucky to have more options than most, but haven’t found my passion yet. I enjoy some things about it, but don’t see myself doing the same work for the rest of my life. I want to work for an organization whose values I believe in, I want respect, recognition, excellent compensation, leadership opportunities, the ability to work from home, enough time away for work-life balance.

  248. avatar

    More info:
    The healthcare work I’m interested in, I don’t qualify for due to lack of leadership & research experience and not having a grad degree. Did not get into my 1st choice grad school previously, plan to reapply once more for next year. Now, my priority is financial stability.

  249. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I am learner and I am fiercely competitive so a dream job is only a temporary thing for me before I need to raise the bar again.

    I guess you could say I am in my dream job at the moment, doing something I’m good at and that I enjoy and getting nearly 6 figures for it at 24 years of age.

    Here is how I got my current job:

    My career was taking a side track that I didn’t want to go down. I got a colleague on broad and we managed to convince my boss (by getting to think that he came up with the idea) that I should be reassigned to some new projects that I was interested in working on. The projects got me exposure to networks in my area of interest. Within 6 months a job opportunity came up through the network that was a perfect fit for me.

    Being an internal opportunity, I had access to the contact details of the hiring manager. I called him and asked for clarification on a few things the job advertisement. I asked a bunch of questions that showed I knew what I was talking about and got as much extra information about the job as I could. At the end of the conversation the hiring manager asked if would be applying for the position.

    Now I knew the hiring manager would be looking out for my resume. I used the job description and the extra information from my phone call to tailor my resume to emphasise all the things that made me perfect for the job. When I put in my application through the hiring website, I also emailed a copy of my resume and the reference number for my application directly to the hiring manager, with quick note thanking him for his time on the phone.

    I have been caught unprepared before when a phone call to tell you that you have reached the interview stage becomes the interview itself. This time I was ready for it and scheduled the interview for a few days later. The benefit (and curse) of applying for a job from within this company is your management gets informed as soon as you apply. I was able to do a practice interview with my current boss who had the same interview guidance notes from the recruiting department as the hiring manager.

    With all the pre work I had done the interview went down pretty well. By the end the hiring manager had stopped saying “if you come work for me” and started saying “when you come work for me” and the recruiting consultant kept trying to correct him. The only place I faltered was when salary came up. They told me that I wouldn’t be eligible for the same loading and allowances as my current job so they would be able to match it in terms of total package and I just said that’s ok.

    When I flew over for the face to face interview it felt more like a meet and greet than an interview. The recruiters had concerns about people wanting to relocate to job location to show that I wanted to be there I asked them delay my flight back for a couple of days so I could catch up with some friends.

    Here is my dilemma:

    I have been in the new job coming on 12 months now and while it’s not quite time to raise the bar just yet it is time to start ramping up the ground work again.

    When I started enquiring about my current job my old boss immediately painted me with the about to leave brush, taking away my best projects before I had even interviewed for the new job.

    Is there a way to follow up on new job leads without burning the bridges where I am now? For example I saw a job advertised last week that could potentially be a great next step in my career but I need more information before I know for sure. From my experience I know that if I talk to the hiring department about it there is a good chance it will get back to my management here and if the job turns out not be what I am looking for I will no longer be trusted where I am now.


  250. avatar


    My biggest need right now is figuring out what my dream job would be — identifying the intersection of what I am good at, what I would enjoy doing, and the opportunities the market offers. I got a 3.8 GPA from an Ivy League university, and got a fairly competitive consulting job, so I must have some skills / talent, but I feel like I’ve been struggling throughout. Do you know of any tests / methodologies to identify types of work that would be a good fit? Myers-Briggs types me as someone who would thrive in formulaic, highly-structured jobs, and all the examples it gives in my category bore the hell out of me!


  251. avatar

    Hey Ramit,
    Long time reader.

    I am on the hunt for my dream job right now, and I’m in a pretty good position, in that I currently have a good paying job, just the time is right to move on and I have a pretty good idea of the kind of job I want next.

    I’ve gotten a bunch of leads from contacts already about some great job opportunities. I feel pretty confident and excited about the process, but since I have time, and an existing income, I feel like I have a bit more leeway here.

    I would love your advice about what I really should be focusing on in the search process, and when looking at multiple job opportunities, what should I really stick to my guns about? Maybe most importantly – what should I say no to? If I get multiple offers, how do I make that decision if a job is right for me? I have time, so I want to do this right.


  252. avatar
    David N

    I would like to see some advice targeted towards students who have just graduated with a degree.

    E.g. business degree looking for an analyst position at a Fortune 500/1000 company.

  253. avatar

    Would you ever “liar” about anything to get a job? What would that be?

  254. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I’m trying to incorporate dream elements into my somewhat satisfying current job. To do this, to date I have:
    – identified gaps in my skills and expertise and undertaken further training to address this;
    – negotiated my salary to just under 6 figures (a point that I thought I would never achieve at age 30);
    – established a number of business mentor relationships for advice and guidance; and
    – worked in five different areas of my organisation until I found an area that was a good fit in terms of interesting work, good team members and development opportunities (I’m luckily that this is encouraged).

    My questions is – how do I convince my boss to let me work from home one day per week? I’ve already approached her and she’s not keen, but is prepared to discuss it further. I work in a policy role, where it’s extremely difficult to measure KPIs/ achievements or demonstrate an increase in productivity. I’ve suggested a four week trial but would love to go to my boss with an argument that kills off any possible objections.

    Do you have any suggestions of other things I should consider?

    Thanks heaps!


  255. avatar

    I would love to know more about networking. I’m new to my city and new to the networking concept in general. I’ve been attending networking events, and make great connections. I follow up after the event, get a response, and then I’m not sure what to do from there. I know it’s good to find something in common with someone. I met a recruiter who loved cake, but mentioning it every time would be so redundant and boring.

    How do I strengthen those relationships and keep them going without shooting the breeze or sounding phony?

  256. avatar

    How to convince people to buy my products coz i intend on starting a small clothing line.

  257. avatar

    How do you use negotiate scripts in a company that practices Meritocracy? You mentioned ranking in your post. My company does not negotiate.

  258. avatar

    Hi Ramit,
    I’m a big fan of your material.

    My questions are:
    1) How do you find out about, and consequently get, those un-advertised jobs? And, 2) as I saw in a previous comment, how can I make my cv or cover letter absolutely AMAZING?

    Thank you!!!

  259. avatar

    Hello Ramit,
    I’ve been working with a firm for the past 10 months not as full time employee but on part time base under a national arrangement and was so dear to the workers but now I wish to work full time for them now my time with the firm is almost coming to an end. there are other opportunities I can actually take but I see this as my first choice. Now, the decision to retain me as a full time worker rest on the directorate who’s not always around to note my impact but hears of my exploits. How can I get to get this task done and dusted?
    Thank you.

  260. avatar

    Hello, Rammit.

    My greatest challange is motivation to work. I have a brilliant school/college background, so geting a new job is a no-brainer for me. I like doing the stuff I’m good at (programming, circuit design, etc) , so passion is not a problem.

    Doing the same stuff 9-5 mo-fri while there’s so much great things to experience (that doesn’t really cost much money), is what depresses me. My technical skills are such that they are not common enough to be freelanced, and it deals with intelectual property, so I have to be in a company to sign the stupid NDA.

    So here comes the question:

    How does one Work on a complete free schedule (as if it were a freelancer) on strictily corporate activity? How do I convince those corporate drones to hire my work as a freelancer and not other corporate freak?

  261. avatar
    Michael Enquist

    Don’t forget to read Nick Corcodilos’s blog “Ask the Headhunter” if you want to learn how to be world class at finding a job. Nick’s been helping people do just that for a very long time.

    Another excellent blog, and in fact the one that introduced me to Ramit, is called “No Shortage of Work.”

    Now, dear readers, you have 3 excellent perspectives on finding meaningful work.

  262. avatar

    Can I indicate your course to someone? Are you linked to some affiliate network, or something of the genera? Where’s the entrance point to your system, besides your e-mails?

  263. avatar

    My dream job is coaching/teaching. Currently I am in a RDP that you mentioned in your article, but I love teaching and developing. Unfortunately, I do not have a degree for teaching, or enough money right now to pursue it. I sunk so much money already into a Finance/IT degree.
    Love your advice and articles. My personal financial system is going really well b/c of your book. Thanks!

  264. avatar

    I love to knit and organize yarn. I believe my dream job would be to work or own a yarn store and look at pretty colors, patterns and yarns all day long.
    I am a single mother with two toddler kids. I currently have a great full-time job that pays over 6 figures, but it is not my dream job. It’s okay when I do well, I do feel accomplished, but I wouldn’t do it for free and I don’t wake up thinking: oh I’m glad to go to work and deal with these people today!

    I worry that if I try to own my own business, I won’t make enough of a margin and make the same amount of money. What I really need to do is research. i thought about taking a part-time job in one of the local yarn shops, but why go get paid $10 an hour and not even be able to learn the business? How should I start about getting the experience and knowledge to run my own business?


  265. avatar

    Am I in my dream job right now? Of course.
    Any job I work is my dream job. I can choose to make it such. There’s always an opportunity to be who we dream of being in any job. It’s not a job’s job to make us happy. It’s our job to be happy in any job. When I look at it that way it’s so freeing. I can work anywhere and be happy. When I’m happy, I do better at my job and make money.

    Before starting my own business I was working for a company making 6figures working 20-30 hours a week. Many of my co-workers still had something to complain about. Even though they were making money and had flexibility. It’s not about the job. It’s about us.

  266. avatar

    Hi Christy,
    Your outlook is refreshing! What is your business and what were you doing before?

  267. avatar

    Hi Ramit –

    I’m in the process looking for my dream job. I’m applying some of your techniques along with some others I’ve adapted. I fully agree with your premise that ‘systems are everything’. The easier you set up a system that you can tweak to produce results, the better.

    I’m specifically looking for feedback on my system. I’m getting OK results from this but don’t’ feel like there is a good flow from it. Am I approaching this correctly? At times, I feel this approach feels too passive. I’ll ask for information with the questions listed below, but it doesn’t feel like I’ll get actionable results. How are the questions I’m asking? Should I be doing anything different after conducting the informational interview?

    I’m looking for feedback on my process and to see how I can get better results.

    1) Firstly, I worked with a professional resume service (email me if you want a recommendation) to craft my resume. I considered it an investment in myself. Here is my reasoning behind this. We often don’t have good market experience at resume building. For example, there is the image gap. What we perceive of ourselves often doesn’t match reality. Therefore, we need to get objective feedback from others. When you interview with a professional resume service they will craft a resume that is market orientated based on your description of your experience. Working with a pro service will help you craft a resume that recruiters will notice and be more “market focused” instead of “product focused”. I like to look at it as crafting messaging to products your selling. You’ll get better response if you know what works in the market versus what you THINK should work.

    2) I’ve started to reach out to alumni that have matched criteria for my job search. I Google each individual and try to find social presence. LinkedIn is my first search. LinkedIn is highly underutilized for job research. There is a ton of information about companies, who works there, and what similar individuals work at other locations. There is no excuse these days for not mastering LinkedIn. If an individual is on LinkedIn, I try to see what groups they are in and then join those groups because it will allow you to see their profile and contact (make sure to update settings to remove your group icon from your profile – it just looks better without groups there and especially if you have to join recruiters groups). If the individual that came up in my search results in Google, I search for a Twitter or public facing email, I’ll try to connect with them through that source.

    3) I keep a Google spreadsheet with names I’ve contacted, the date, comments, and next follow up date. I also keep email scripts.

    4) Depending on the contact source, I’ll send an email script asking them for an informational interview:

    Hi [name] –

    I found your contact information [name of source] when I searched “innovation”. I’m interested in innovation specific roles and wanted to know if you would you be available to talk about where you are, what you do, and how you’re doing it. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell you anything or looking to bug you about a job. If you’re available for a 20 minute or so phone call, let me know some times that would work for you.

    [Your Name]

    [I’ll add additional contact information here to humanize the email]

    4) I research the individual more, write up a draft of questions and set up a time. Typically it’s a back and forth, so I’ve learned that phone appointments are easier then multiple follow ups through email. If I don’t hear back from them in a few days, I’ll follow up with an email.

    5) I conduct the informational interview. Here are the base questions I’ll use:

    1. Can you tell me how you got to this position?
    2. What do you like most about what you do, and what would you change if you could?
    3. How do people break into this field?
    4. What are the types of jobs that exist where you work and in the industry in general?
    5. Where would you suggest a person investigate if the person were particularly skilled at (fill in the blank — quantitative thinking, communications, writing, advocacy)?
    6. What does a typical career path look like in your industry?
    7. What are some of the biggest challenges facing your company and your industry today?
    8. Are there any professional or trade associations I should connect with?
    9. What do you read — in print and online — to keep up with developments in your field?
    10. How do you see your industry changing in the next 10 years?
    11. If you were just getting involved now, where would you put yourself?
    12. What’s a typical day like for you?
    13. What’s unique or differentiating about your company?
    14. How has writing a book (starting a blog, running a company, etc.) differed from your expectations? What have been the greatest moments and biggest challenges?

    5) After the interview, I thank them and ask if they can recommend anyone else I could speak with. I’ve learned to say that if it’s ok with them, I’ll send a follow up email they could forward to their contacts.

    Follow up email

    Hi [Name] –

    Thanks again for taking the time [day] to speak with me. Do you have any contacts that I could speak with for additional informational interviews? If so, could you forward the following to them:

    Hello, I recently graduated from Northwestern University with a masters in Product Design and Development. I’m not inquiring about a job, but rather researching typical career paths in innovation and what skills I need to develop. Furthermore, I’m looking for some candid advice about how to get into innovation specific roles, what the future prospects are, and what the pros and cons are, as you see it.

    I would greatly appreciate 15 to 20 minutes of your time to ask them a few questions. If you are available to speak with me, we can talk over the phone, or I can meet you at a location of your choosing. I can be reached at [PHONE] or by e-mail at [EMAIL ADDRESS]


    6) And the process continues. A few learning points so far:

    The source of the contact matters. Alumni databases get better responses than cold or warm calls.

    A lot of the challenge is building the pipeline. I’ll have a great week of contacts, but then don’t do a good job of building next weeks calls therefore that week is lost spending reaching out to new people.

    People are very willing and helpful if you reach out to them. You just have to ask and know what you want. I still struggle with this part because at times I don’t know if I’m being clear on what I’m looking for.

  268. avatar

    I currently own a life coaching company that specializes in helping people improve their fitness and/or their finances. My philosophy is that people already know what they are suppose to do. There’s an underlying reason that they’re not doing it. I help people get to the bottom of that. You can learn more at

    Prior to starting my business I did public relations & outside sales.
    Even when I was in college working at a coffee shop I LOVED my job.

  269. avatar

    Love this! You nailed it. The on-campus recruiting visits often misses great candidates as they focus only on grades or only on who your career services office lets interview.

  270. avatar
    Dream job? Check. « CAELAN HUNTRESS

    […] Sethi asked in this post about people who have successfully achieved their dream job, and my comment on the post got lots of […]

  271. avatar

    I’ve only spoken to the phone interviewer. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone else at Google. Should I just start tweeting at random Googlers with public accounts? Not sure how else to find/contact them, or what to say really. Although what good will it do since I was already officially denied? I should focus on new companies, no?

  272. avatar

    I recently applied for and got my dream job: professor at a cc. Here’s how I did it:
    1. I knew my stuff cold! I have followed Ramit for several years, so I followed his advice. I had done tons of research, attended conferences, met with other professors, volunteered for assignments, researched accreditation, etc. I wanted to know more about my content area than anyone in the pool or even on my hiring committee.
    2. Briefcase method – in retrospect I probably could have been even better. I had reviewed the college’s materials and their program. I did not have any hard copy document to present them, but I knew they weren’t offering a student club. Since I had volunteered to be an advisor to student clubs in the past, I let them know that this was something that I could add to their program. I also addressed how a club can meet almost all of their stated goals for their institution (Pres and VP loved this angle).
    3. Portfolio – No where in any materials for this job was a portfolio mentioned, but I made one and brought it with me. This was another version of the briefcase method for me. In college teaching jobs, a portfolio is often used as a review meathod. I made an awesome portfolio, brought it with me, and offered it to the committee. I was nervous when I put it together, and I prepared the portfolio for a close review – I thought they would keep it. They were stunned (in a good way)! The briefly looked it over, and gave it back to me.
    4. Through my extensive research I was able to make an accurate guess as to who my competition was in the final interview. Having some idea about my relative strengths and weakness (to this individual- or even the field), I was able to tailor a couple of answers to questions to really drive home my point. I got the job, and was even told later that I blew the competition away.
    5. I agree with Ramit that you cannot over-prepare for an interivew/job search. Every minute you put into the process of finding a job can yield thousands of dollars. I can’t think of anything I have more confidence investing in than myself.

  273. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Kristen, your comment shows why “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” is my dream job

  274. avatar

    Awesome work, and I’m definitely taking notes here. Regardless of the questions Ramit chooses to answer, the comments here are absolute gold and very informative.

  275. avatar

    “I know what I want. I am already there on a part-time basis. There are no openings in sight right now. I want them to WANT to create a job for me.

    In answer to your question, I have tested my assumptions by openly and directly stating that I want a job with this organization. I have spoken to colleagues who are on both a lateral and superior level. I was recently offered a position that I turned down because it was not a good fit for my area of expertise and would lead me out of my field in the long run.

    I already work at this organization part time. It is obvious that I am considered a leader because I have contributed to the organization in ways that have been measured and appreciated. I am in a waiting game and I would like to move things along more quickly. Any suggestions for next steps?

  276. avatar

    I love my job as a freelance print designer. I have six years of experience with a broad range of clients doing all sorts of projects—from art books for famous artists to educational website design to branding for fair trade companies. But I need to know how to narrow my niche so I can market myself to clients who will pay me what I’m worth. The job is great—dream job—but I don’t know HOW to find clients who have the money to pay me to help their company market themselves. I don’t know which industries can already see the VALUE that design can provide them. I know part of that is my job—I explain the benefits and show them how I’ve given other clients great results—but this doesn’t help if they don’t have the funds. I’m wasting my time researching and talking…I don’t know who I should be spending my time on.

    I’m in your Earn1K course and have been doing research and interviews with people in the industry so I can find my niche. I’ve been researching online on forums and reading articles about industries who have been growing during the recession. I look at job postings to see which kinds of positions and skill sets are most sought after. I’m spending way more than the 3 hours a week to implement what I’ve learned in the lessons because I really want to get this important piece figured out. I’ve interviewed three people in the first field I was interested in checking out—branding for high-end photographers. I already have some connections in this field, and thought it was a good place to start. That idea seems like a dud so far. I’ve been moving on to my second and third ideas—branding for natural health care providers, and book design for independent publishers. I figure that these industries have more of a defined need for design to maintain or grow their businesses, since photographers don’t feel as much of a need. I thought they would be willing to pay because they rake in a lot of money themselves and are in a very competitive market where they need to differentiate themselves. But it sounds like they’re not interested enough in paying for design to warrant making it my niche.

    I know that designing for pharmaceutical companies and doctors could be lucrative, but I have no desire whatsoever to design for them. It would drain my passion and negate the benefits of having my dream job.

    So, my question is, how do I go about compiling a solid list of industries to begin finding prospects in? I know I have a lot to offer, and I’ve had a fair amount of experience with a variety of clients in different industries, I just don’t know who to focus on. I am constantly getting praise for my work and the results that it brings my clients, but I have never been paid the amount I should be paid for my work because my clients can’t afford to pay the full rate. The other tips you’ll be providing about resumés and interviews can help, but not before I know who to talk to.


  277. avatar

    * In the first paragraph, I meant that I seem to be wasting a lot of research and time talking to clients who aren’t paying well. I want to know how to more effectively research and connect with the key people in strong industries who need design.

  278. avatar
    Nancy Plummer

    I recently applied for several jobs in the retail industry. I have over 20 years in the industry; a baby boomer. I was asked to take a survey through PeopleAnswers. Have you heard of this? The questions were mainly psychological, teambuilding, and slightly confusing. I was told I was not within the “acceptable range” of answers and therefore could not continue the interview process. I have heard from friends that work at the company that others also have not passed this test. It makes me wonder, what does it take to get into a company now? These surveys are crazy. Any suggestions?

  279. avatar

    Hey Ramit,

    I’ve been slowly migrating closer to my dream job from mega consulting corp to internet marketing to startups and web programming. Though the work itself has been getting progressively more satisfying and the people I meet at work more interesting, I am still not at a point where I can honestly say that what I do makes me ‘come alive’.

    Do you think this is a reasonable expectation of what you spend most of your time doing? If it is, how would/did you go about finding that as someone with considerable multidimensional experience and talent?

  280. avatar

    Hey Ramit,

    Find your passion seems to be the most crucial yet confusing part of job hunting. When people tend to think of passion they think in very narrow terms (I like playing video games) and tend to miss the broader category of things that they enjoy. For example, regarding everyone who says their passion is video games or something else tech related, what would they have been doing 100 years ago? Nothing like that existed back then, does that mean that they wouldn’t have enjoyed anything? Of course not. There are some core passions, like solving challenging problems, helping other people, leading others towards a common goal, that are the truly universal categories that we need to figure out. Once we have that, then it becomes a much easier job to see what jobs our passions can be applied to.

  281. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I don’t have a dream job and I don’t have a passion. I would like to know what that really means. I am currently involved in network marketing, a company that challenges me and builds me and pushes me to be the best person I can be and help others do the same. I want to make 6-7 figures a month residually, and be a philanthropist. I like for my life to be an adventure, and I see many parallels between what you are doing and what I would like to do. Thank you for this platform to share.


  282. avatar

    I am working part-time on my own in my dream job as a photographer, and have 2-3 new specific areas of photography that I’d like to pursue.

    My question is…When asking for an informational interview, or going for a preliminary interview for a new client, what would be the biggest turn-offs to the client so they wouldn’t want to use my services?

    or…What are the top 3-5 things I absolutly want to avoid doing at any cost?

  283. avatar


    I have no specific question…After reviwing all the comments, it seems as though you, aas well as some posters, have already coverd what I was going to ask.

    I’ve found that developing a goal and plan, and taking action is the best method for achieving results. The small successes don’t seem to happen overnight, but they do occurr.

  284. avatar

    …Oops…wanted to say I have no other specific questions…

  285. avatar

    This one’s a little late. I’m a tech guy. I have an engineering degree and am currently pursuing a master’s in engineering management. I really enjoy solving complex problems creatively. Now the bizarre part. I also love public speaking and writing/editing, and would kill to find a way to combine both passions into a long-term career. Unfortunately, my current position has zero need for these skills.

    I am considering toastmasters and trying to build up a writing portfolio. Given the less then pithy background, how the hell do I start this thing? I’ve got a family. So, starting at the bottom and working my way up isn’t an option at this point. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll kill myself working, but asking my family to eat ramen because I’m not completely fulfilled seems a tad selfish. So, this will have to start part-time. I was thinking tech journalist or pr for a tech firm. Any other job ideas or input would be greatly appreciated.


  286. avatar


    Here’s the question: How can I tell if the new job I started is a bad fit or just difficult?

    The short version: Got a new job as BA in gov’t dept. It requires a lot more writing than I expected. Unfortunately, writing has always been a weak spot for me. I’m not sure if it’s wrong type of job or it’s just hard work and I’m being lazy.

    The long story goes like this: For the last two years I’ve been working as a reporting analyst, designing sales reports, calculating commissions, creating forecasts and sales targets. It was pretty interesting work for a bit. My favourite part of the job was the puzzle solving aspect of designing reports, new tools, and creating ways to streamline the whole process. After a while, it got boring because it didn’t seem like I was adding much to the performance of the business. Mainly just reporting on what happened.

    Last year, I started to look for work and though I would focus on BA jobs. The idea was that I would have more input into new designs and focus more on the front end of what a company was doing. After almost a year of looking I ended up taking a role at a government agency as a technical analyst.

    This was all great; I got a raise, a different title and theoretically potential training. Unfortunately, almost as soon as I started the role, it just didn’t seem right to me. The main issue is that it seems to be focused more on writing than on technical design. The problem is, writing has never been my strongest skill. It also seems harder to me to improve than something like learning new software design concepts. I usually have no problem reading software books on the weekend, but if I have to write something I end up staring at the screen for three days and then posting on your blog.

    This is what leads me to the question. Did I end up picking a role that doesn’t suit me, or am I just being lazy and looking for excuses not to work?

  287. avatar


    How do I find out what my dream job looks like? I think I want to be an entrepreneur/businessman/investor in commodities producing industry, because I’m passionate about both, and I’ve had an unforgettable entrepreneur-like experience a few years ago. The problem is: I haven’t found a job with such job title yet (I doubt it exists) and I have trouble finding a job that I can really like and find stimulating. I’d like to talk to people who do something similar to what I’d like to do, but where are they? I’ve tried networking, but there everyone seems to be an expert/professional, and I even though I do take the chance to talk to them, I’m looking for something more entrepreneurial. Plus, there are certain potentially interesting jobs that I don’t know anyone in to talk to. Sometimes I read about random people whose work intrigues me, and I will read what I can find about their career path and try to contact them, but they’re not getting back to me. I’ve also changed jobs quite a bit (I’ve been able to get into 2 potential dream careers so far, and I like my current industry, even though I’m bored in my job. I’ve had some fun odd jobs too, like teaching, that I didn’t plan to turn into a career).

    In the meantime, I’m 5 years out of college and wondering if I shouldn’t stop chasing a dream and have a well-paying professional career in a blue chip corporation, now that it’s still possible.

  288. avatar
    Michael Enquist


    No need to “consider” Toastmasters.

    Do it.

    You might find that you want to visit a few clubs to find the one that is a good fit for you right now, but there is no reason to hesitate when it comes to learning public speaking, leadership and effective management of meetings from a group of motivated and motivating peers.

    Go to right now, put in your zip code and you will find at least 10 clubs nearby, if you live in even a modest size city. Go visit those clubs and you will meet some of the best people you’ve ever known.

  289. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    What an amazing comment. This is awesome.

  290. avatar

    I am PhD candidate in Bioengineering planning to finish in June 2012 for a gold medal finishing time of 3 years (average for the dept is 5.5 yrs). I am currently applying for life science/healthcare PhD consulting jobs because I want to gain more experience in the pharma/biotech space to prepare me for launching my own/be an executive in a biotech firm.

    My issue is that I recognize I have a limited amount of time, energy, and attention to devote to my job search over the next 10 months, and I want to find the highest priority areas to devote any resources.

    So far, I have read the Vault and Wetfeet guides on consulting, looked over company websites, went to career fairs/info sessions, and contacted alumni to find what consulting firms were looking for. I then wrote a resume and cover letter, and kept going to career services for revisions until they didn’t have anything else to say on improving. Along the way I have been tapping friends, and making new contacts to practice case interviews, and will likely do a mock interview with career services on the behavioral questions.

    I have now been advised by career services to focus on my networking at career fairs and through alumni to find out about opportunities that may not have reached the level of formal HR job posting. Is this where I should be focusing my efforts, or how would you go about finding next steps? Also, is there any place to get advice on how to take my resume to the next level?

  291. avatar

    The job I’m looking at is shipbroking, or connecting companies to marine vessels. How can I demonstrate value to a company when I have no real world experience, just book knowledge on drawing up the contracts? I’m willing to work as hard as I can for the company, but I need a way to stand out from the competition and give them something no others can. It there a good script I could use for enticing clients before applying?

  292. avatar

    I want to switch fields from a marine-related, project management job that I am in now, to green technology – specifically designing for sustainability, in the form of buildings or products. My question is, how can I convince a potential employer to take me in with no particular relevant design skills (apart from university days; my current job deals more with management than design)?

  293. avatar

    Most commented post ever?

  294. avatar


    Graduated with a two year associate’s degree in advertising, plus a handful of communications classes. I had difficulty competing with applicants who had more education/experience. Ran out of money to complete the bachelor’s and went into direct sales, money being the motivating factor. Fast forward three years, had mild success and have gained valuable skills, but the passion isn’t there. I’ve tried some networking (trading business cards, reaching out to friends), done some informational interviews without much success. Seems the ad industry is very nepotistic, sometimes I think I haven’t reached out to the right people. My track record is short, so I’ve been freelancing a little on the side to thicken the portfolio. Need to hone my skills with the people/company that have the experience I lack, maybe finding a mentor in the process.


    Put my time into finding an entry-level position at an established agency to hone my skills, gaining industry insight before diving into freelance full time. Leaning towards this option.

    Find an agency internship, finish my bachelor’s degree and work a part-time job, or some combination of education. I’d be poor, but gain helpful credentials. Which credentials are the most important?

    Market my services as a consultant to local businesses and startups with my current skill set (learn as I go) or find a marketing position/internship with a startup company in my area.


    What is the best approach to getting hired without the “required” degree and experience that many employers tout as essential, specifically in the entertainment marketing field, particularly in an agency environment?

    How can one find opportunities with startup firms that need marketing services? Should I be thinking local or nationwide?

    What will open up more opportunities in the world of marketing?: Learning a second language (Spanish, fluently) or completing my bachelor’s degree.

    Should you ever pay for an internship? Are they that valuable? I’m considering an immersion program:

  295. avatar

    So, I spent a few years working in a large defense industry contractor as a Software/Computer Engineer and gained some valuable technical experience. I just recently made the transition about a year ago into a Project Management role at a commercial company, and I’m learning a lot about the industry differences, but what I really want is to transition into Product Management and/or Strategy. From looking at what my colleagues do in these roles, I would really like to be doing the type of jobs they do.

    My questions are (assuming I’m applying for these types of positions at other companies):
    1) How can I transition into these roles even though I’ve never had those titles before? I’ve already looked at some of the skill sets required for these jobs, and I do have quite a few of the skills that are needed.
    2) How can I get the attention of companies that are hiring for these roles? For example, how can I format my resume to apply for these specific positions. Before I took the role I am currently in, I tried to apply for these types of positions and tailored my resume for them, but I didn’t get a response to the positions I applied for online.
    3) If you’re cool with sharing, how did you find specifically know you had a dream job?


  296. avatar
    The 80/20 Guide to Finding a Job You Love

    […] days ago, when I asked for your questions on finding a dream job, I got back hundreds of comments ( There were some very good […]

  297. avatar

    How would you deal with the comment that “local knowledge is required”?

  298. avatar
    Tim Rosanelli

    I have my dream job of owning a karate school. When I first thought of owning a business, it came down to two choices, Karate School and Brew Pub (I was home brewing beer alot back then). I decided on Karate because I didn’t have any restaurant experience and the start up cost is high.

    One skill, I always have for jobs was making opportunities and not waiting on opportunities. Most of the jobs throughout my career and even some of the job promotions were created opportunities.

    My first one was in college. I did very well in Science and Math. I would constantly be asked for help from other students. I asked them why they don’t go to the tutoring center. The answer was that the schedule for science and math tutors was always full.

    So, I asked to meet with the head of the tutoring center. At the meeting, I boldly stated that they needed to hired me as a math and science tutor. The head asked “why?” and stated that all the positions were filled. I told him that other students were asking me for help because the tutor center schedule was always full.

    He hired me on the spot so I began to get paid for something that I would already do because I am a nice guy. If I was asked for help, I told them to meet me at the tutoring and put them on the schedule. It was like getting paid to study. My grades skyrocketing too because I would go over the same homework like 5 different times so I knew the material perfectly.

    For anyone out there, thinking there is no jobs because you’re checking the classified, start looking around and ask yourself, “What job opportunities can I create?”

  299. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Tim if you don’t take me up on my offer to write a guest post for this site, I may have to kill you soon

  300. avatar
    The 80/20 Guide to Finding a Job You Love | The Dollar Pundits

    […] days ago, when I asked for your questions on finding a dream job, I got back hundreds of comments ( There were some very good […]

  301. avatar

    Here’s my question – I am moving from London, England to Vancouver Canada. How can I polish up my CV so that it shines in a different country? My sector is PR & Marketing and the brands I’ve worked on have a big cache in the UK, they mean almost nothing in Canada.

  302. avatar

    What I’ve tried so far:

    1. Networking through personal contacts to speak to Hiring Managers and decades long employees of the industries I’m interested in.

    2. Redesigned my resume based on Kevin Fox, former web designer at Google

    3. Reworked my bullet point cover letter into something an HR manager would want to read as explained by this hiring manager here:

    4. Used the salary range tactic explained by you to answer the mandatory salary requirement question in online applications.

    5. In the process of building a website similar to for the specific company I want to work for but hoping they don’t sue me for using their logo and stuff. I’ve got the home page designed and a couple more pages to go.

    What Hasn’t Worked:

    1. The resume/cover letter rework/redesign. Haven’t gotten any calls or emails for interviews regardless of my 5 years research assistant experience plus 4 years marketing experience.

    Based on the Google Please Hire Me site, he ended up working for a startup company in silicon valley. Not the intended target but he’s happy. If I had similar results I’d be happy too. He got a message from Google within 1 day of launching the site. I’m looking to duplicate those kinds of results.

  303. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I have a question for you that I hope you can help me out with. I’m new to your site and email subscription, so bear with me if this has been covered before. Anyway, I’ve considered going back to school for an MBA. I am single, in my early 30’s. I graduated from a reputable institution with a 3.0 GPA and a degree in finance. Now, prior to knowing much about finance before choosing this school, I may have thought a bit longer about RIO of my educational investment (cost vs benefit), as I am currently paying a *lot* of student loan bills.

    All that aside, I find myself in an accounting career, and needless to say, it is not my dream job. I’d like to work as an analyst in tourism real-estate investments. While I have not yet watched your video about finding your dream job (I look forward to watching it tonight), based on your knowledge of today’s job market, would you recommend that I stick with my current plans on going to grad school for an MBA, or would you recommend that I use other channels to secure a position.

    Here’s a bit more about me: I don’t have a lot of family contacts, nor a perfect credit score (which I’m steadily improving, however). I do have a solid work history (and I had a *real* job all through my college career), but I’m trying to transition my career, as stated above. I want to stand out as a great hire, but my lack of experience in the field have made it difficult to stand out in the sea of other MBA grads. I haven’t submitted any applications to schools yet, but I’ve been studying for the GMAT exam for the last few months. Anything that I choose (can get into) will be within my local city, so at least I’d get in-state tuition rates.

    So what do you think?

    1. Skip the MBA and save my time/money.
    2. Go for my MBA at a reputable school, but not the very best that money can buy (30 – 40k).
    3. Get into the most prestigious institution that can buy (consistently ranked within the top 20) but spend a boatload of money (80k).

    Any comments from those pro/anti-MBA would be much appreciated.


  304. avatar
    Allen Youdim

    I have dream of becoming a hospital manager. I have very little management experience. I want to know, how I can test my management skills in school or everyday applications or in anything else? I have the same questions for a consulting positions. How would I know if I am a right for either career? And what are managerial positions for cooperations looking for in applicants?



  305. avatar

    → What things do you look for in a job that would indicate that there is a lot of opportunities / room to grow?
    → Does being a big multi-national company is an important factor when you pick a job?

    I look in the community that some people with basic Law knowledge are making lot more than I am, being a computing science graduate, I am sure I can do lot better. Presently I have a job with a mid size company, but I am starting to feel that I am not growing as much I should be. (and my assumption is backed by statistics for salary for the similar position in my area)

    Being able to use computing science, financial data, ability to travel, being part dynamic and interactive team is something that I would enjoy. I am currently in the initial stages of potentially getting a job with such company, but am I taking right decision? I will have to wait and find if I get the job, and once I work there.
    (Just finished watching 80/20 video, and $10 000 / hour is sweet amount Ramit, and I would like to get there!! It is just the steps that i need to take is what I am not entirely sure about yet)
    BTW: English is not my first language, so what I wrote about was my attempt of translation of thoughts from my native language to English.

  306. avatar

    Teach home brewing and or sell brewing supplies on the side…

  307. avatar
    Ramit Sethi


  308. avatar

    Wow. What an interesting post.

    I picked up your book two weeks ago and signed up to this newsletter last week, so I’m new to this site—but I’m hooked. I’ve done what I can to optimize my finances according to the Action Steps in your book (there were only a few things I needed to do, but I still have a few chapters to read) and now I’m hooked on your emails. Clearly, there is a ton of information on this blog that I need to familiarize myself with (briefcase technique?). Please let me know if the answers to my questions are already posted somewhere.

    Q1: Do you have a dream job already? If so, tell me about it. If not, why not?
    A1: I’ve been “doing what I love” for most of my career, mostly because I knew exactly what I wanted to do and figured out how to do it. I had a couple of setbacks a few years ago and have been stuck on stupid ever since. It’s been more than three years and I still can’t figure out a) what I want to do, or b) how to become financially independent doing what I love.

    I keep switching between three ideas—especially when I hit a road block in pursuing one, so I haven’t made much progress with either of them. One is a service business to those in the music business. I used to do this on a small scale but the industry has changed so much I’m not sure if it’s even viable anymore, or how interested I am in doing it. The other is working for a specific company – but it’s tiny, and I have no idea how to find out what their needs are to know how to position myself to benefit them. The other is in the legal field—not something I’m passionate about but I know the pay would be good if I can get experience in a particular specialization.

    Q2: What do you want to learn most about? Finding your “passion” (what is that, anyway?). How to write a winning resume? The best techniques for negotiating salary? Answers to the toughest interview questions?
    A2: I want to know how to research the viability of a business when no business model exists. I know of two people doing the business I’m interested in. How do I approach them to pick their brain about their businesses (profit/revenues, structure, etc.) when I am looking to become their competition? For interest #2, how do I discover the needs of a tiny company (less than 10 people) in an unfamiliar industry to create a job for myself?

    Thanks much for your book, website and this post. They have all been a big help. I look forward to reading more.


  309. avatar


  310. avatar

    Pura vida!
    Thanx for providing your steps. Great advice.

  311. avatar
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  312. avatar

    I’ve always had a passion for a particular field of interest, but for years I couldn’t figure how to do it and earn the sort of money I wanted. So I was a loser and went to law school for the earning potential. In the last couple months now though I think I’ve found a business model in my field of interest that would generate the money I want. So now I can finally start putting your ideas into practice.

    I don’t know if that’s helpful or not.

  313. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I posted earlier, but I thought I’d give a quick followup and a question as well. First of all, I watched the 80/20 video and I found it very inspiring. So true, I’ve been going about my job search all wrong.

    Here’s for the question: I have a short list of contacts in my network that I believe would love to hear themselves talk about their jobs, and how they got there (and I can’t wait to listen); but, can you give me a list of a few topics that you think that I should ask them about? Here’s what I have so far; stop me if they’re cliche/overdone/dumb:

    – Tell me about your background/education, and how you got here, and was it something that you’ve always wanted to do?

    – Walk me through a typical day in the office, or if there isn’t a typical day, what are some of the issues that you deal with on a regular basis?

    – Do you have direct reports? If so, what do they report to you with, and what do you get from this information?

    – Your manager, what does she/he expect you to report to him/her?

    I have a family friend who works for a private real-estate investment firm, and I really think that my dream job would be working for an analyst for a company like that. I have another friend who works for a lease management company, and I’m hoping to have her give me a contact to one of their analysts. I figure that I can pick these guy’s brains over coffee.

    After that, I was planning on just making my own contacts by calling up a few companies and trying to get ahold of their analysts – but I don’t want to call them up and make a complete fool of myself. Haha yeah, so any advice that you could give on the right questions to ask folks in our field, that would be great!

  314. avatar

    To me, the dream job is ever (slightly) changing so I guess the dream job revolves around : freedom (to choose how to work, and at a lesser extent what to work on…) and good income.

    So my dreams job :
    a) Having my own business (I’ve done it once, and failed)
    b) A position where you can have enough freedom to work on topic you choose (technical research in my field of expertise)

    My question is, if your current job is not that far from dream job do you think it’s best to try to improve it ? Or is it more easy/efficient to look for another one ?

  315. avatar

    Im from Portugal and i have a building company, and my business area works, unfortunatly, with “contacts”.
    i already try and i stil trying to put in pratic some of Keit´s Ferrazzi´s tips that i learn on “NEVER EATS ALONE” book but it seams that even this is enough.
    There allways some more inside, is dificult to recha the people on top.
    I almost do e-mails and letters aproaches, but do you think that this is not enough, How can i present my self, and my company, the right one.
    Sorry my english.
    Best regards

  316. avatar

    Hello Ramit,

    I came back to to this post to see if there were any responses to my post and found out that it was removed. Why was my post removed? I felt I had relevant questions and concerns pertaining to the topic posted

  317. avatar

    Greetings Ramit,

    My eternal debacle in finding my dream job has always been to have a composite career: to be a professor, to begin my own editing business, and to write columns for world-renowned magazines. the actual job itself is so competitive. I’ve always wanted to be a tenured professor, except with my qualifications it has always been impossible. I’ve just published a first book and have a master’s degree, except these accomplishments are a far cry from my competitors: people with doctorates and multiple books published. I’ve tried everything: networking, scouring the internet, having friends write emails to department chairs recommending me, and NOTHING seems to work. The other jobs are just as competitive. What do I do????

  318. avatar

    Ramit, how in the hell do I discover my dream job IF the methods of identifying things I like to do doesn’t work? For example, I enjoy photography and video editing but I can’t identify a full time income opportunity utilizing these talents. And frankly, I’m not sure I want to. Your course on Find Your First Profitable Idea was great, but the same info I’ve had. Am I dumb ass for it not working for me?

  319. avatar

    Thank you Ramit for this fresh perspective.

    @everyone: I’ve read a lot of enthusiastic comments but I am shocked that I haven’t seen any tangible results. Ramit has given us quite some food for thought and his presentation gives some actionable points. Please, stop saying thanks for this information without doing anything. If you don’t know what your dream job is: go pick up your phone and call 5 of your friends to invite out for coffee and talk about what they do in their job. If you think you know what your dream job is, find someone already doing this (family, friends, linkedin, company websites, …) and write them an email or call them to secure an informational interview and learn more about the real tasks that are involved in this job. If you are sure of what you want to do, find someone that can tell you what the real challenges of his company and his boss is. Once you’ll have done this you will really feel empowered from what you’ve done, not from what someone told you you should do! It’s not because Ramit has not yet given his strategies that you cannont do this. You don’t need to wait until you have the perfect strategy of magic bullet to start hustling.

    As for me, I have defined what I really want to do, to the point that I can tell the 10 companies I most want to work in, with the actual name of the boss in most of them. I build a list of people I can contact both that I already know and that I don’t know (from Linkedin). I have contacted by phone two alumni that I already knew to learn about their daily challenges and have learned valuable info that will be useful later. I have also reached out by email to 3 persons I don’t know in this position and have already one phone meeting planned next week!

    Of course my approach was not perfect. Of course I have made mistakes during the interviews and my emails may certainly improve over the next few weeks but I already have small wins and this is awesome.

    So please: Share some Results!

  320. avatar

    For the what I want to learn most about :

    Clearly, how to overcome our hidden scripts
    (understand WHY we feel so uncomfortable doing some things, and how to turn it in a pleasant activity…)

  321. avatar
    Tim Rosanelli

    When we talk about the 80/20 rule, most people think that building a resume is the most important thing. I know many people will hammer me for this thought but the resume is not important. I’ve always had a resume before I was started a business, but I never used it for all the jobs that I got because most of the jobs and promotions, I got through referrals. This is why personal branding is so important.

    What is more important then a resume? Memorizing the highlights from your resume in the form of a pitch. If asked what you do, you should be able to tell a great story for the highlights of your career that are results oriented.

  322. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    One of the best comments on this entire thread.

  323. avatar

    You’re post really spoke to me. It sounds like you are limiting yourself before you even start. Are you sure you can’t identify a full time income opportunity that utilizes photography? Can you be absolutely certain there’s not full time income available in video editing?
    I have two friends who started photography businesses in the last year and have already replaced their incomes from their old corporate jobs. It’s also interesting you say you your not sure you want to. Doubt does not create positive results. Just my two cents.

  324. avatar

    Wow Christy. I find myself responding to another of your posts! Do you know what your friends are doing in their photography businesses that has produced those results? Do they have niches? I’m curious because we closed shop on my husband’s photography business at year end last year because of the “point & click revolution”. Any thoughts about how to create that full time income video editing? That’s an area that I’m considering for myself.

  325. avatar

    Shoot me an email at and we can chat off line. I’ll give you an idea of what she’s doing.

  326. avatar
    Tim Rosanelli

    @ Jay – Now, you’re thinking. With a well-developed business, It’s easier to make money on the side by doing more things related to my karate school so I will continue to homebrew at home. In the last 6 months, I’ve been developing my YouTube channel. I am a YouTube partner so I earn hundreds of dollars per month on it (I can tell you the exact amount because YouTube makes you sign a no-disclosure agreement).

    By earning money on YouTube isn’t the important thing, these videos I use for student retention and marketing for new students. Also, being on video, boosts your image as a Obvious Expert (BTW, How to Position Yourself As the Obvious Expert is a must read book) enabling you to charge more for lessons than your competitors.

    But if anyone wants to use the homebrew idea to earn $1000…

    Here’s how to do it…
    Create a 4 week hands on course. That’s about how long the process takes. The High Schools in our area offer Adult Education courses in their Newsletter. Some colleges do this too. Find every source for Adult Education in your area. Offer your 4 week course in the newsletter.

    Most of these newsletters pay you via two way, first by the hour and second by a percent commission. For two hours per week, you make about $160. To make more money, get a wholesale account with a homebrew distributor. Offer basic kits and an ingredient package for the recipe made in class so that the participants can go home and make the style offered. You will make about 50% on the sales.

    At the end of the course, the last class should be bottling. Split the bottles among the students to take home at enjoy (It’s illegal to sell homebrew).

    Make sure that every class makes a different style and recipe because you will have people participate multiple times for different recipes and to get a few take home bottles and most important, purchase the ingredients. As a secondary offering, save all the recipes from previous classes, put it together into a book or e-book to sell to students.

    Once you get a following, you may be able to continue offering the class without the assistance of the Newsletter and earn the full amount of the course. So, make sure you get everyone’s e-mail at the beginning of the course by having a sign up sheet. Tell everyone you need it to e-mail the current recipe and some other tips for them.

    There you go. A whole earn 1000K idea laid out for anyone interested.

  327. avatar

    Hello Ramit,

    I started reading you blog shortly after I found a position very close to my dream job. After I graduated this May I was shotgunning my resumes and cover letters everywhere falling within the realms of my economics and accounting degree. Then I decided to focus my job search on only a handful of positions that really fit my long term goals. I no longer saw the point in applying for something I wasn’t really interested in just to make money.

    One of the applications I submitted was for an Internal Audit position at a larger public company that I’d never heard of before. After the preparing with questions and plenty of relevant experiences that demonstrated how qualified I was, I finally got the 3rd interview with the CFO. I knew I needed a something to separate me from the rest of the interviewers, so I poured over the company’s 10k and brought up a couple of areas that I thought the company could improve on. Soon after, I had an offer letter in my inbox and now I get paid to travel the country (and soon the world) a couple times a month and work with people that just ‘get it’. I’m doing something I enjoy, I’m good at, and even after a long day, I don’t loath work the following day.

    Since I started my new job last month, I’ve been able to pay off the majority of my loans, cut expenses by eating at work, and save enough to be able to move out in 3 weeks.

  328. avatar
    Jenny Maass

    Hi Ramit – I found your book in the library – randomly – as I was seeking to educate myself for free on how to start saving and stop living month to month.
    Meanwhile, I long to just live on my dream job, which is a compilation of creative activities in the production world. I long to be a TV series actress, a performing comedian, a screenplay writer, and be director of various styles of film projects. I truly in my heart of hearts believe that I have abundant talent to accomplish these dreams, but am at a loss to secure them formyself. I have abandoned all to pursue this dream, picking up, moving out of state, going broke over acting classes, and killing myself over my “flexible” hourly job at a neighborhood grocery store.
    Ramit! Help me! Even if I had an ideal job like public speaker or event planner / host that made enough money and allowed the flexibility to mix in my acting talent, I could be happy. What do I do???

  329. avatar
    Jenny Maass

    Ramit – Jenny here again – trying to be more specific for you…perhaps you can’t explain why I haven’t been called in to more auditions by my agent or landed bigger roles in the past year…but maybe you can help me find income to support my dream career in film…and so that I can get off of an hourly wage (which is insulting to my education level) and get off of crazy a.m. shift work that is wrecking my lifestyle.
    So, I need to replace this work with a higher income job that still allows me to take off for a last minute 1-2 day advance notice audition…or just suck it up for a year at a big money making corporate venture, invest and save like a fool so I can turn around back to film and what I really want to do once I “have enough money” ??? does that help clarify? thanks again. jen

  330. avatar
    Tim Rosanelli

    I had a friend with a failing photography business and he gave the same sort of excuses. Luckily, his wife had a different idea. She talked to the hospital about photographing newborns with their mother. They said yes and now they get most of their income from it. They just arrive at the hospital everyday and visit all the new mothers and ask if they would like to take a picture. Who can resist capture such a special moment? 🙂 They now do two hospitals.

  331. avatar
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  332. avatar
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  333. avatar

    I want to know what my passion is….and where the jobs are with that passion. I have so many things outside of my current job I’m interested in…how do I actually get down to that one thing I want to do??? I know I love food…but I know I don’t want to be a chef…but what else is out there? Sometimes, I feel as if I’ve painted myself into a glass box and then there are people who are going after what they want…and I’m just inside the box screaming because I want that life too…and it feels like I can’t get there……

  334. avatar

    Hey Ramit, I know I’m coming late to this party, but…

    What the hell do you do when applying to companies that ask for your salary expectations *on the application*? In my present industry, salary grids are provided about 90% of the time. I’ve gone trolling through various salary sites but have had a great deal of difficulty finding consistent information for these sorts of positions in the Canadian market. Is there a way to dodge this question? Am I shooting myself in the foot if I don’t answer it? It it acceptable to provide a range but indicate that final expectations will be dependent on the information given in the interview?

  335. avatar

    L get off your ass and look through the site – see that search near the top – a lot faster if you really want the info!

  336. avatar

    I want to combine my skills of clinical counseling with health coaching and I am not sure how or where to do that.

  337. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I have been following you on Facebook since couple of months. I’ve studied my bachelors in engineering in India & at currently I’m studying masters in Austria. Two semesters done, two remaining. Recently I have been selected for an internship at a very well-know global rail-transportation firm. However, this internship needs someone who can atleast commit for six to eight months, which is like one whole semester. To pursue this internship I will have to take a half-gap year from my masters course i.e. dropping a whole semester.

    So do you think its a wise thing to take this half-year gap from my ongoing masters and go for this internship?

    Thanks for your time and concern.

  338. avatar

    Ramit, i am a college student. How do i go about landing a dream job in anoher country? Do i start working at a local office first and then get an international transfer? Or is there a way to land a job overseas straight away?

  339. avatar
    Rohit Kumar

    I like the way you dream , but working hours really doesn’t matter if its a “dream” job for you . If you really love what you do , time doesn’t matter .

    Just a thought

  340. avatar

    Interesting blog I must say. So Ramit, I would like your insights on how to write the winning resume and cover letter. Have a good weekend.