You need an interview bucket list if you want to get hired

  • Remote work means job seekers can apply to more opportunities than ever.
  • Instead of searching for open jobs, make an interview bucket list.
  • Here’s why it works and how to do it.

Remote working has opened up new job opportunities. In August 2021, employers added 235,000 jobs, the Department of Labor reported, and the search for remote jobs has increased by 460% over the past two years, according to Glassdoor.

But if you’re still perusing job postings, you’re doing it all wrong, according to career coach J.T. Donnell. Instead of focusing on the current job openings you’re qualified for, she recommended a more proactive approach that starts with identifying the companies you’d want to work for and then networking your way in.

Here’s how to create an interview bucket list and why it works.

How to create an interview bucket list

What company would you love to work for? For some job seekers, this question may be an easy one. However, if you’re looking to break into a new field or industry, this may be a bit more difficult.

To get clear on which companies deserve a spot on your bucket list, Donnell recommended digging into your personal preferences to make sure the companies you choose to align with them. Some questions to ask yourself include:

What industry do you want to work in? Donnell recommends going deeper than just choosing an industry, taking the time to understand the space and the role you want to play within it.

What are your key skill sets? List out the skills you possess, then identify which skills you enjoy using most, as well as which skills would be most impactful for the industry you’d like to work in.

What positions best fit you? Once you’re clear on the first two questions, it should be easy to identify the types of roles you’d work best in within your industry.

Is location important to you? Are you OK with working remotely for the foreseeable future? Or do you one day hope to return to an office setting? This will also help narrow down your list.

Start evaluating potential companies

If working in person is a top priority for you, start this process by looking at companies near where you currently reside, or where you’d be willing to relocate to. If proximity is not essential, take the time to research both the companies that have already come to mind and their competitors. Consider subscribing to sites and newsletters that are relevant to your industry, as well.

To cultivate an effective interview bucket list, Donnell said, identifying a personal connection to each company is critical. Look at the company’s social media presence, get a sense of their company values, and determine whether or not they align with what’s important to you.

Network your way in

Once you have a list of 10 to 20 companies, it’s time to start building connections. While these companies may not currently have a role available for you, the goal is to unlock future opportunities.

Take a look at each company on your list, then identify five people you want to connect with who would make the most sense for the role and work you’re after. LinkedIn is a powerful resource for this, as it allows you to see who in your network works at the company, as well as the shared connections you have with each of those people.

Not everyone may accept your request to connect but focus on the ones who do. Continue to build rapport with these contacts over casual conversation. In your correspondence, let your connection know that you’re interested in learning more about the company — but are not asking for any favors or referrals.

The goal is to position yourself as someone passionate about the company and interested in learning more about the hiring process. Work to find other common ground with these connections, whether living in the same city or other mutual interests. This can be a longer process, but when one of your bucket list companies does post a job opening that you’re an excellent fit for, it’ll pay off.