Every person in this world has a dream job. It’s not the job that we loathe going to, nor is it a job that gives us a paycheck. It’s the job that deep down inside, we know would make us a better person. Having this job would drive us. But getting to that job seems impossible—after all, how can you make the jump from average employee to dream job? Well, I managed to land my dream job, and I’m going to show you exactly how I did it.

Here are five things I did that helped me get my dream job:

  • Discover Everything About Yourself

I’m not talking about deep meditation or even philosophy; I’m talking about your background. With nearly 98% of employers performing background checks before they hire, you need to be aware of your record. Websites like CheckPeople offer comprehensive reports that cover everything an employer is going to find, within minutes of searching.

It will show you detailed reports of your criminal records, credit report, social media presence, and more. Once you’ve looked at what your potential employers are reading, you have an opportunity to fix any red flags or problems on the file.

  • Make Connections Early On

Take a few minutes to research big players in the field you want to enter. One of the biggest hurdles in landing your dream job isn’t always the qualifications. Rather, it’s the connections you have to the field. Become active on forums and websites that cater to your dream job, even if you don’t have direct experience. Many professionals in the industry frequent online discussion boards and forums; most are happy to field questions, especially if you want to learn more about their career.

Remember, the goal isn’t to find a new job right away. It’s to become a recognizable face on the platform. As you interact, you’re building connections to potential employers, associates, and clients. Always maintain a professional, upbeat attitude and avoid starting conflict or heated debates.

  • Update Your Skills and Qualifications

I’m not saying you have to invest in a new degree (unless your dream job mandates such a requirement) but enlisting in a few courses can help you get a handle on what you need to succeed in the industry. Whether you’d like to purchase a few books from the local bookstore or you’re hoping to enlist in a post-secondary program, a current resume will show employers you have real, targeted skills they need.

  • Bring More Than Just Experience

How many times have you looked through job posts, only to discover that most entry-level positions require years of experience? With most positions wanting direct industry experience, breaking into the field takes a bit of ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking.

Look through current job postings online and consider the skills required for the job. Maybe they require previous experience working with WordPress—start a blog and get used to the platform. If you’re applying to a sales position, consider previous positions you’ve held that required upselling or product promotion (even fast-food chains require this of employees).

The focus here isn’t the industry experience but highlighting the skills required for the job with your current resume. If the position requires a cover letter, focus specifically on a problem that you can solve for the company. Now is the time to sell yourself, which means standing out against a sea of competition.

  • Think Outside the Box

One of the easiest ways to land your dream job is with innovative thinking. When a job is posted online, the floodgates open with hundreds of applicants applying within days. If you’re hoping to land a job with a popular fortune 500 company, your chances of being called for an interview plummet even further. So, how do you stand out against hundreds of qualified applicants? Simple.

Think outside of what everyone else is doing. Get creative. Always research the company you’re applying to and tailor your resume and cover letter to their specific brand. Look up information about the hiring agent and personalize your correspondence to them directly (instead of a generic greeting). The last thing you want to do is send the same resume to multiple businesses, it seems cold and impersonal.

Think Big by Starting Small

Although these aren’t the only things you can do to land your dream job, these steps are designed to help you get ahead of your competition and get that much closer to the career of your dreams. Professionally speaking, one of the most important steps in getting to where you want to be is to think of it as a reality. Start by planning small, actionable steps to getting closer to your job; every completed step is a move closer to your dream job.