How to Find the Almost Perfect Job in 10 Steps

She came to me with a bad resume, a bad cover letter, and a dream. All TEB really wanted was a new job to love.  Is that asking so much? And without giving away the ending…after a long long job search and many frustrating  almost-there moments, she finally managed to find a great job. (Oh…I guess I kinda gave it away after all.)

Without further ado, here in her own words is what it might take for you or anyone to get a new job – even if you are very talented, very determined, and have great references that say there is no one better than you anywhere on this planet!

Anyone can get stuck in the job interview waiting game!

“Those of you who follow the comments section of this blog probably know that I looked—seriously— for a job for a long, long time. 14 months, to be exact. I was working for most of this time, a grand total of 4 weeks’ unemployment before my current (wonderful) job started. In the end, I had 15 interviews in 7 business days and wound up with several options to choose from. Obviously some things changed between the beginning and the end of my search. Ronnie Ann was invaluable in helping me to figure out where I was going, and she’s asked me to share the changes I made in my thinking and actions along the way.

  1. Spend some time deciding exactly what you would like to do next in an ideal world. Find some positions that match, fix up your resume and cover letter to match, and apply away.
  2. Get no responses. Do some volunteer work to get more experience, and try again.
  3. Get no responses. Worry. Expand your job search to jobs that are better transitions to goal jobs, rather than your goal job itself.
  4. Get some responses, but no serious interest. Panic. Look into getting your resume revised.
  5. Revise your resume so that you stop selling yourself short. Carry printouts of the resume at all times.
  6. Make your own business cards, and give them out to everyone you meet, telling them you’re looking for work.
  7. Get responses and interviews. Panic.
  8. Present yourself in your best light. Figure out what you like best about each position as advertised going into the interview; be enthusiastic, admit your shortcomings – and make sure your employer-to-be knows that you’re willing to learn and be proactive.
  9. Get job offers. Success! Compare the offers and decide what they’re missing—in terms of salary, schedule, responsibilities, etc.
  10. Negotiate any key factors that are missing – and sign your contract.

My definition of perfect has certainly changed from the beginning to the end of this process. While I’m not currently in my dream job, I couldn’t be happier to be where I am, learning how to get where I need to go. Accepting that – and learning to leverage my strengths to get the interviews I needed – went a long way toward my end result.

Happy hunting!”

The perfect job – for now

I love what TEB says about the perfect job and how her definition changed. Great perspective.  Your job now leads to your next one, and by taking a detour to a different version of the perfect job, your options for future jobs can expand considerably.  A career is not isolated moments in time – it’s a continuum.

Good luck, TEB! And btw…it was all you. Really. I’m so proud of you and of how resilient and determined you were during the long job search process. Sometimes it just takes time – granted lots of it in this case. But you are a shining example for all the talented (and frustrated) folks out there still stuck in the waiting game – with patience, ingenuity, continued momentum, lots of networking, and bull-dog determination 😉 there is always a way.

So what about you? Any tips or personal stories to help inspire folks who have been waiting way too long despite how much they have to offer?

And if you’re curious about how TEB got her job search going again:

How a New Resume Got Her the Job Interview!


About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.


  1. Very happy for you TEB!
    I have several trusted friends in the HR and Recruiting business and as I have gone along over these past 5 months I have heard a different perspective from everyone them, such as: (btw, actual feed back from recruiters – those hunting for people like me – curiously give my cover letter(s), resume(s) and my “special summary” very high marks – but no offer worth accepting, yet)
    1) your resume(s) do not have enough white space
    a) I made some changes, yet interest in me did not pick up, so I go to others
    2) your cover letter(s) are too long
    a) I make some changes, still no pick up in interest, so I make 5 different cover letters and alter them specifically for the opportunity at hand
    3) Who in the world is going to read your “special summary”?
    answer: I have disregarded this criticism with certain pursuits and have discovered that most recruiters “love” my summary (it is a 2 pager with lots of white space) as when they read the cover letter and resume along with the summary- yet still no offer.

    Happy hunting to ALL!

  2. Abe– Are you getting lots of interviews from your resume but no offers? If so, then maybe it isn’t your resume and cover letter that are the problem, but rather something in your interview that’s throwing people off. Just a thought.

  3. I have to admit that I giggled all the way through this (starting with the title); it was presented so delightfully. This in no way diminishes the agony I’m sure you truly did feel. I like how forthright you were with your emotions in your 10 agonizing steps. Too few guides acknowledge the frustration and fear that is a natural process of these changes. Your points are well taken; thanks!

  4. Congratulations! Seems like all your determination paid off in the end. Thank you for sharing the “ordeal” with us.

    It is quite inspirational especially for people who find it hard to keep searching. Sometimes the whole process is like being in a rut and feeling like you’re never going to get out of it.

  5. Thanks for the great comment, Abe. Points out something I really want readers to know: there are no experts who have every answer. Check out various advice and take what feels right for you.

    And as TEB suggests (thanks TEB)…there may be some things you could do to help speed things along. If you even suspect there may be something in the way you interview, you might try practice interviews with someone (friend, family, coach); record it if possible.

    But I have a feeling you have much to offer and, like TEB, you may simply need more time. Also maybe stepping up your networking a notch or two (so you have an “in”) will get you to the actual offer.

    Good luck! Please stay in touch.

  6. Thanks Muse! I also was giggling. She tells it with humor and yet includes important tips.

    Nice to see you Mr. X. I remember well that you helped keep TEB’s spirits up right here on this blog. Maybe soon time for you to go after your own dream job? 😉

  7. it took me almost a year to get that ‘perfect’ job and while on my way to get it, the journey was very frustrating to say the least. i cried a lot at the office! more than i would like to have happen. i was stuck in two jobs that i didn’t enjoy, but in hindsight i do think that they helped me prepare myself for the job i’m happy to be working as right now.

    so if you’re stuck in a job you’re not happy with, do try to take what you can learn out of it and in the meantime search for that elusive ‘perfect’ job. i put the quote marks in ‘perfect’ because there isn’t really the perfect job – not even if you start your own company! but my job is as ‘perfect’ as it could get, realistically. 🙂

  8. Hi sulz!

    What a nice surprise. Thanks for dropping by. I smile every time I think of you in your new “perfect” job. Yup. Perfect is only in the eye of the beholder and, as you point out, even having your own business – a business you love – isn’t going to be perfect. There’s always a trade-off of some kind.

    But this job really does sound ideal for you, sulz. I’m so happy you found it. A reminder to keep looking until you get there – even if you make some missteps along the way. It’s your life after all. And if anyone is counting missteps, they need to find something else to occupy their time and energy. 😉

    Good luck sulz!

  9. It’s really good to read TEB’s story and success. I too have been looking for over a year. I lost count of the applications I’ve submitted.

    I had a consulting biz that went belly up as a result of the economic mess the country is in.

    I’m in automatic mode right now and would be happy just to find/land a transition job. This past week I had a 2nd interview for a job that is right up my alley. The employer called my references but I haven’t heard back from them yet. And yes, I am feeling anxious, but it’s due to the anxiety that builds up over time with all the rejections.

    Thanks Ronnie Ann for providing information and an outlet for people like me who sometimes feels like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel :).

  10. Hi Lara!

    Oh how I hope you get that “yes” call. Fingers, legs, and eyes crossed. 😉 Glad this blog could be of help. Thanks for letting me know.

    Good luck! Please keep us posted.

    Ronnie Ann

  11. Ronnie Ann, you’re funny 🙂

    I didn’t hear back from them and it’s past the notice deadline — but it’s okay, I’ve let it go — I had to — It was driving me crazy!

    I just don’t understand why they called my references (which by they way, are all excellent!). That really ticked me off because I don’t want them to feel like they’re wasting time giving me references for jobs that don’t materialize. The guy (employer) did mention on an email he’d sent that he was calling the references for all 3 final candidates. (Is this a common practice?) I had never heard of such a thing being done……..what a waste of time!

    I’m on my next application(s).

  12. Hi Lara!

    Sorry about that. Then again…who knows if there may be a surprise. Deadlines come and go in the hiring process. So many reasons why that have nothing to do with you. But agree if it’s driving you nuts – just move on in your mind. I have no doubt you’ll find something even better if no suprise happens. Anyone who appreciates my sense of humor deserves the best! 😉

    As for this checking multiple references thing…it’s one of my pet peeves. Grrr. To me it’s the lazy way to do things. Personally I respect the importance of references and contact them only for my first choice. In an extensive job hunt they can be contacted time after time, and that feels so awkward to job seekers and references!

    Best of luck, Lara. And please keep us in the loop, ok?

    Ronnie Ann

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