Even in a strong job market, finding the position you want can sometimes be frustrating. In some cases, you know you have the skills needed to excel at a certain position but your resume and past jobs don't make that clear. At other times, you're trying to break into a field that's exclusive and you just don't know the person who can open the door for you.
Whether you're seeking a dream job or trying to change career paths, you may need to use alternative tactics. Simply sending resumes and answering job ads may not work -- especially if you're trying to make a major change. Instead, you'll need to be more creative and find different ways to not only put yourself in front of potential employers but to convince them you're the right person to hire.
1. Gain experience
If you know employers who might hire you but don't think you're qualified, offer to do a consulting project in the area you hope to work in. Ask for a meeting, share your career goals, and lay out a potential project you're willing to do for them in order to demonstrate your skills.
Be clear that you know this isn't a tryout. Instead, it's an opportunity to start transforming your resume. Sometimes just having the one credit that's directly in the field where you hope to work can be a major difference maker. If you can amass a few credits -- even on small projects -- you're no longer an outsider.
Taking this path not only improves your resume it gives you another reference (and maybe more than one). This isn't a quick path, but it's one that can get you where you want to go.
2. Take a step back
Sometimes, it's not important how you get in the door as long as you do. You may not be able to get the job you want because some careers have more rigid paths than others. If this happens, consider getting inside the organization you want to work for -- a company that has the type of job you want -- and take a position in a different department.
Do your homework before doing this. Make sure you pick a company with a positive work culture and a history of promoting from within.
Once you get hired, do your job well, and do what you can to meet the people in the department you someday hope to enter. Volunteer for projects, be a hard worker, and after you have established yourself, share your career goals.
Both of these tactics take patience and they may only be part of your journey. It's also important to make sure you meet the educational and certification requirements of the job you want to land. There may also be informal qualifications that will help and you will want to check off as many boxes as you possibly can.
Remember that your goal here is long-term career happiness. Achieving that may mean making sacrifices in the short term. Keep your eye on the prize and be willing to do whatever it takes to get where you ultimately want to go.