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The “dream job” isn’t always easy to come by and even harder to maintain in today’s hyper-competitive workforce. I know it – and chances are, so do you.

While I’m fluent in English and Hebrew, have a BA in English Lit. along with superb content writing skills, and enough creativity to make food recipes a topic of discussion, my current position limits me greatly, leaving little room for personal initiative or professional growth.

If you’re in the same type of predicament – you have an abundance of knowledge coupled with natural ability, but are being kept from reaching your potential, I highly suggest following at least a few of the tips below. They’ve worked wonders for me.

1. Be proactive

Don’t just pass the time; do the things that will get results. Brush up on professional skills, take on smaller projects that will advance your career, write some blogposts featuring job advice or even a book of your own (never done something like that, but they say it’s never too late). Putting your name out there will create a natural vibe that will enhance your chances of finding something that might even exceed expectations.

2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Going to sleep early, setting reasonable goals for the coming day, getting up instead of loitering in bed, and seeing your plans through to the end will provide you a feeling of personal satisfaction and significantly increase productivity. The job you’re after will follow.

3. Put your best foot forward

You finally got that interview with your dream company. Make it count! Perspective employers don’t want to hear about your problems or listen to you beat around the bush – they want to make sure they’re getting the right person for the job. Period. If you make yourself look and sound like 100 bucks, chances are you’ll get the job.

4. Fake it till you make it

Appearance is everything so pretend you’ve got things under control even if your three-year-old is harassing the local cat population and your 13 year-old picking off one high school beauty queen after another. Even if you’re not having the best day of your life, overcoming the blues will be well worth the effort.

5. Don’t blame others

This is one of the cardinal rules of life. Taking responsibility at the office, home, with your kids, parents, friends, and neighbors will lead to a healthier lifestyle. Blaming others is the easy thing to do and can help you feel better in the short term, but being grateful for your successes and owning up for the shortcomings will pay dividends in the long haul.

When it comes to getting your dream job, it’s important to learn from past mistakes – be it failing to adequately research the potential employer, arriving late for the interview, being unprepared to answer common questions, or losing your confidence when faced with an unexpected turn, figure out methods for helping you succeed, and putting them to use next time around.

6. Do the things you love 

Take that vacation you’ve been waiting to go on but never had the time for, read the book you’ve been meaning to read, meet friends, play some pickup ball, visit your elderly parents, etc, etc. In the eternal words of the Nike promo, just do it!

7. Never give up! 

No matter what, don’t lose hope that you’ll get through the hard times and come out stronger and better prepared to take on new challenges when the dust has cleared. Hardships are what molds our personalities and prepares us for new, bigger adversities.