How to get your dream job

This is a recording of Dream jobs! How to identify and apply for your dream job which took place on 30 May 2012.

Where better to begin summarising our fantastic (though we say so ourselves) Dream Jobs event last Wednesday than to quote Laura-Jane Silverman, a careers specialist from the London School of Economics who chaired the event:

“There are about 80 applications to every job position and some students are sending about 70 CVs a week. In the midst of a problematic job market it seems idealistic or lavish to say you can just jump into your dream job, but it is still possible.

“At LSE I get emails every day from students who have secured that position, and the main reason is their job strategy. As higher education continues to go through radical changes, students are rethinking the way they approach the job market. Merely being a graduate isn’t enough any more. The question is, how do I create a CV and a cover letter – essentially a marketing package – that makes me stand out? 

“Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the job market, it’s important to remain positive, as this will really affect how you approach your job search. You have your whole life to develop your career – as long as a job develops your skills and gives you contacts, it’s worth something.”

We agree. Our two speakers, Antoinette and Ed, went on to give advice about how you can stand out from the crowd when looking for a job.  

L-R Ed Yeoman, Laura-Jane Silverman (Chair), Antoinette Lemens

Antoinette Lemens

Antoinette, our first speaker, is a recruitment specialist who has worked in the design and luxury goods industries.

  • New kinds of jobs come up all the time; be flexible
  • You need to be able to communicate your talent, communicating your talent is almost the same as having a talent
  • Design salaries used to be low in comparison to marketing jobs, but this is changing
  • Everyone has something specific and different to everybody else. Make sure you include this in your application – Antoinette’s example is her niece, who overcame an allergy to become a prize-winning horserider, a story that was very attractive to employers
  • Being at the RCA is already a major advantage!
  • There are lots of creative opportunities in developing economies like India, or in cities in the UAE
  • Evolving professions in design include packaging, branding, event design, lighting design, scientific and medical design, retail design… these are jobs Antoinette is often asked to fill   
  • Have a communication plan – be clear about what you want to contribute to your field
  • Make sure you’re on LinkedIn – recruiters look here for keywords, areas of expertise, companies you’ve worked for


Ed Yeoman

Ed, from writing consultancy The Writer, emphasises that a CV shouldn’t just be a boring list of jobs you did. So what should it be instead? Here's some of his advice.

  • Use your own voice. Think about the way you write online, for example on Facebook – this is closer to the tone of voice you should be using 
  • Write like you speak and sound like yourself – what will set you apart from the other 79 people applying for the job is your personality
  • Think about benefits not features – how will your features benefit your employer?
  • Don’t use jargon
  • Use the first person, say “I”s
  • Use everyday language
  • Avoid clichés
  • Give examples – don’t just say you’re a team player, show through concrete examples that you’re a team player, for example helping out on other students’ projects, mentoring, etc 
  • Write sentences, not lists
  • Include a statement about yourself – if you’re uncomfortable doing this, ask a friend for help. Say who you are and what you’re looking for
  • Don’t be too quirky if you’re applying to a fairly straight company, but if you’re applying to somewhere creative, more unusual gestures could pay off. Think it through in every case
  • Be honest, and don’t brag unnecessarily. Showing some weakness can make you more appealing – think about how you overcame adversity, this will help show you’re human
  • Don’t over-design your CV; the words are the most important thing
  • A clean simple font will make your words shine
  • Read your CV aloud – if you have to put on a funny voice to do it, it’s probably out of your comfort zone – if you can read it normally, it’s fine
  • Get someone else to read through your CV for typos, bits that don’t make sense
  • Make things simpler and get to the point – it always works

Thank you to all our speakers and to everyone who came to the event! 

Alternative 'dream jobs' video link