Tuesday 6 July 2021 at 1:49pm

Do you have your dream job?

Rosa dos Santos, Cambridge Chapter Lead

Do you have your dream job?

Spotlight on: Rosa dos Santos, Cambridge Chapter Membership Lead


Finding your dream job can feel like an elusive and fruitless search.  Rosa dos Santos, Membership Lead within the Cambridge Chapter, knows the feeling well!  She is Managing Director of Exact Sourcing, having started the firm eleven years ago.


She and her team specialise in recruiting staff for growing organisations in the Cambridgeshire region. They take an individual-focused approach to matching skills with roles rather than simply CVs to job descriptions.


Helping people discover their skills and find their dream job


Rosa’s favourite aspect of recruitment, is helping people discover new skills and move into their dream job, often in a different sector or different specialism than they have experience in.


“It feels very personal to me, because that’s a journey that I’ve been on myself. I wasn’t happy in my job, but when I applied for new positions, I was turning up to interviews and it felt like they were trying to shoehorn someone into a role – they never looked at my strengths or how skills could be transferred from one area to another.”


“I was very lucky that someone took a chance on me and offered me my first position in recruitment.  It turned out I had found my ‘thing’ and I became the second-best performing within the company after only 10 months.”


To Rosa, she sees so many reflections of her own experience elsewhere.  Individuals choosing one path, being discontented and unhappy with their time at work, then making a change, finding their dream job and thriving because of it.


“My brother used to work in the financial sector as a Quantitative Analyst.  He wasn’t happy in his role and took the huge step to become a doctor.  Now, when I talk to him, his voice sings!”


How to move past that feeling of being ‘stuck’ where you are right now


When people feel stuck, she says, it’s so hard to focus on anything other than the feeling of being ‘stuck’.  She recommends asking yourself a series of questions to try and work out what you want and which direction to take.


“If you can’t ask the questions of yourself, find a trusted friend to ask you what you:

  • Like to do?
  • Could talk about all day?
  • Would miss about your current role?
  • Enjoy about your current job/previous jobs?
  • Don’t like?


Being able to take an objective view of your past experiences may help you move past that ‘stuck’ feeling and show you a path towards a role that will inspire you.”


The impact of COVID


Rosa says that COVID has changed the recruitment landscape, perhaps in ways that couldn’t have been predicted.


“The really fantastic thing for candidates at the moment is that the market is very tight, so employers have become much more flexible.  Companies have started narrowing down their core requirements for skills. They’re searching for experienced candidates wanting to shift their transferable skills.  It’s a good time to take that step and market your skills in a different way, to get the dream job you find rewarding.”


One thing that Rosa has seen over and over again is candidates who won’t even apply for a role if there is one small part of the job description they can’t do: “Often that’s most true of female candidates. I encourage everyone to apply for the role.  Highlight in your cover letter the area that you will need support to develop and see where it takes you. You might be the very best fit for that company, and you would both be missing out on the opportunity to thrive together if you don’t apply.”


Rosa’s tips for shifting towards your dream job


  • When you apply for a position, call to follow up rather than emailing. Make yourself stand out from other candidates – almost nobody calls to follow up anymore! This is especially important with recruitment agencies, who specialise in getting to know their candidates as individuals. They may put you forward for other roles they think you’d be suited to, as they are experts who can see skills that work across the board.
  • Be ready to make the best first impression – if you’re going to call, be ready with what you’d like to say. Know a few facts about the company you’re applying for and the role. Know how you will describe your skills, past experience and what you want for the future (see the tip below!).
  • Understand what you do know – it’s easy to get lost in not knowing when you’re changing industry. What are your non-negotiables?  Which values are you not willing to sacrifice?  Are there skills you want to focus on more? Have those thoughts clear in your mind or on paper, so that you are able to paint a good picture of what you’re looking for with recruiters or a company’s HR department.
  • Project positivity and ‘can do’. It’s very hard as a recruiter to be met with negativity and feel confident to put that person forward for positions. If you’re struggling, being clear about what you do and don’t want can generate this positivity from an objective perspective.
  • LinkedIn is non-negotiable. Make sure it’s up to date and reflects your best self.  Make sure the skills you want to focus on in the future are presented clearly.
  • Put your contact details on your CV, including phone number. You’d be amazed by how many people forget this detail!


Change can be scary


If changing roles isn’t an option for you at the moment, or you’d like to feel your way more gradually through exploring new options, Rosa suggests expanding your skills within your current position.


“There are very few businesses where someone would say ‘can I take on this project?’ and a manager would say ‘no’.  Past companies we’ve worked with have wanted to give new responsibilities to enthusiastic people.  Even in your current role, you can stretch yourself and practice new skills.  In the future that might lead to moving role within your current organisation, or leaving to pursue a new path elsewhere.”


Rosa also highlights the benefit of connecting with others who have been on the same journey.

“Within The Rising Network there are so many opportunities to talk to others in different industries. To talk to other people on the same journey.  I find it most helpful when I can see the light in others’ eyes as they tell their story. It enables me to see that it’s possible to make a change, find fulfilment, take the scary step, and it inspires me to take action too.”


You can join The Rising Network here.