The days of having the same job for life have long gone and these days it is expected that workers will change jobs several times throughout their career. It is also acceptable to change direction and have more than one career in your working life. So don’t get stuck in a job you hate; decide what you really want to do and go out and land your dream job.
What does your dream job look like?
You first need to work out what you really want to do, so spend some time deciding what your dream job looks like. Don’t worry, at this stage, about qualifications, skills or job availability; just think about what you dream of doing as a job. Consider the following to help you:
- What is something you are really passionate about?
- What really interests you?
- What hobbies do you have?
- How do you like to spend your spare time?
Most people find their dream jobs are in the answers to one or more of these questions. Think of an area in which you would love to work because that is likely to be where your dream job is located.
Once you identify the industry you want to work in, it is time to research the types of jobs that are available within that industry. Again, don’t worry of you don’t have the skills or qualifications, just find the job of your dreams. You might be able to refine it right down to a single position or you might decide to explore a more general group of jobs.
What skills or training do you need?
Your past experience and training have provided you with a set of skills and it is likely that you have also acquired others through sport, community work etc. How do your current skills match with your dream job? Can you add to your current qualifications or do you need to completely retrain? How qualified are you for your dream job already?
Research what qualifications, training and experience are expected for those applying for your dream job. Find out what type of people are currently employed in that position. Talk to them, if possible, and get answers to your questions about the type of position you will be going for. Look around your network of people for someone who is involved in the industry you want to get into and talk to them. You may already know someone who can help you land your dream job. Look for prospective employers and educate yourself about their company, products, ethics etc.
Remember that education alone won’t get you your dream job; there are numerous other skills that employers are looking for these days. These ‘soft skills’ are keenly sought in the modern workplace and include good communication skills, initiative, problem solving skills, leadership and the ability to work as part of a team. For me, these soft skills have been my deal breaker and have gotten me the job.
What if you are not qualified for your dream job?
The obvious thing to do if you don’t have the skills or qualifications is to retrain; go back to school and get the relevant qualifications. However, this is not the only way. Look for ways you can work in your chosen industry other than in the position you desire. You might find an ancillary or peripheral job just as satisfying as the one you had identified as your dream job.
Consider an internship with the company of your choice so that you are working where you want, even if it will take you longer to get to your chosen position. Even asking for some unpaid work experience in your chosen field can give you the relevant experience you need.
Once you have these elements in place, it is time to go out and promote yourself. Target the companies that you identified as being the ones you want to work for and soon you will land that dream job.
So, are you doing your dream job? If so, what is it? Or, if you aren’t doing your dream job, what are your plans to get it? I want to know.
I think I am actually doing something that I would consider my dream job(other than test driving exotic cars). My biggest problem though is not the job itself but the people I work with and it being just that a JOB. If I could do what I am doing now for someone else or myself I think I would be a happier person.
I think many of us feel this way. There are stepping stones in life we have to hop on to get where we want to go. In time, we can move on to the next thing. For you, I would just be patient. You already have half the battle beat by doing what you like. Doing it with who you like is the next step.
I’d also recommend reading 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. Miller has great ideas on how to land your dream job. Many of which I’d never considered before reading the book. Quitter by Jon Acuff is also a must read. In the book, the author details how he managed to work a job in which he was unfulfilled while giving as much energy as he had remaining to pursuing his dream job.
Those both sound interesting. Thank you for sharing. I will have to put them on my reading list.
I think networking and having a plan helps immensely in landing a dream job. But do remember, the grass on the other side is always green!
You are right about the grass. It seems green everywhere but it isn’t always greener. I have made this mistake myself before.
Networking is key. I have actually used networking to get my last two jobs. It is very powerful.
Great topic. I’m very passionate about people finding work that is right for them, even if it is unconventional. Too often, people assume they just have to be miserable. I love the tips that you outline and the topic in general!
I agree. No one should be miserable. There are always other options. We just need to have the courage to explore them.
What you like to do in your spare time is a huge clue! Finding ways to include that in a job sometimes takes thinking outside the box, but it can be done. Two more questions: what would you do if you had all the money you would ever need? What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
You’re right. It is funny you should say that because there are some definite personal interests of mine that I have integrated into my job.
I love that quote “what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail.” It is so profound. To me it means try anyways. Failure isn’t always a bad thing. We always learn something and come out stronger. In fact, failure should be looked at as good.
I was lucky enough to identify my dream job when I was 18. When I switched states, I had to go back to school (which I’m working on now.) The taste of homework isn’t as bitter when you’re studying something you love. I’m also kind of digging this writing thing. I may never be able to sustain myself with it…my ego isn’t big enough for me to think I could. But I do enjoy it and don’t want to have all my eggs in one basket.
That is great to hear. Good for you. I too have gone back to school and like you don’t mind it as much since it is something I am interested in . My only battles are time and energy. Somehow though I will get it done.
I liked my job when I first started 15 years ago. It’s just a job now though and I will need to find a new dream job. Life is too short to be miserable. 🙂
It does seem that once you work somewhere for quite a while it can feel stale and not as exciting as it once did. I know, I can relate. However, for me, I am still in the field that I like and I still enjoy parts of my job, but it is a job in the end I guess. The dream jobs shouldn’t feel like a job in reality.
I am definitely not in my dream job,and neither is my husband. At this point, the opporutnity cost of giving up our current employment and pursuing our dream jobs would be too great, and we are just not at the right stage of life to try that. The plan is to bank as much money as possible and then have more freedom to create a dream job.
I really don’t know what my dream job would be, which is kind of pathetic. Part of me thinks I would even like to teach kindergarten or something. But then I remember how much I want to travel and have the freedom to work from anywhere. I will probably give it more thought when a dream job is a realistic option.
We are similar to you. We aren’t in a position to make drastic change. However in the future we would like too.
I don’t know what my dream job would be either. I have so many interests and things I want to do that it would be hard to narrow down. Kindergarten teacher hey?! You would be great at that.
I’m not really doing my “dream” job, but my dream job doesnt really pay (or at least I cant figure out a way to make it pay) so I’m just working right now at a place I enjoy
Now I am curious- what is your dream job?
I’m still trying to figure out what I “really want to do”. I know I’m passionate about personal finance and investing, that’s for sure. I love sports. I play lots of sports. In my spare time, I love to read and learn. I love fine foods and the finer things in life.
Geez, maybe I should have been a sports agent like Jerry Maguire!
On a more serious note. I know I enjoy working with people and being outdoors. I need to find a job, if only part-time, that has those two components in it. I think I’ll find a great deal of joy in that.
Thanks for giving me a post to take stock and reflect 🙂
You’re welcome. Yes, if we could all be like Jerry hey?!
If you like the outdoors and being with people, why don’t you teach outdoor courses like wilderness survival, hiking techniques, or scouts to kids. You could even teach a sports team. That would be a blast.
I think sometimes we do not define that dream job of ours quite well. For example, I would love to be able to blog from home and make millions. But then I also like being around people, get out of the house, dress up for work. The social aspect is very important for me. So working from home might not really cut it for me. A combination of both would be ideal. But I don’t think something like this even exists. 🙂
You should do consulting. You can work from home when you are doing paper work and setting up meetings and you can dress up when you have to meet with clients. Business consultants are a major field these days.
You know, I think blogging and effective electronic social networking skills are in high demand. Everey organization that is serious about connecting with consumers needs 1st class people in these areas, or else they simply won’t compete in the market. We’re already seeing this in banking as Ally bank leads the way. The skills we practice every day are invaluable.
You’re right. It seems some of those soft skills and less popular skills are now coming to the forefront. Especially social media. I work in health care in Canada and social media has even become a priority here. It’s crazy.
Great post! When I was younger, I neglected networking and my soft skills. Now that I am older and supposedly wiser, I see how critical these skills are. Also loved your what your dream job looks like questions. Thanks!
Glad I provided some inspiration and reflection. For me, networking has been huge. It really has helped me get the jobs I have desired. Plus, I have learned a lot from mentors. It is always good to pause and reflect on where we are at and where we want to go.
I also touched on the fact that education alone won’t get you your dream job in my post yesterday. I think internships are very powerful way to get some experience and also find out if you like what you think your “dream job” will be before spending a lot of time and money getting the education and finding a job.
Yes internships are great for that. The problem is not every field offers them. This is where volunteering comes in. It can be a window into the industry to see if you would like working in it.
My dream job is making $1 million a year, working 1 hour a day, living in Hawaii, and getting a massage during that one hour.
I will make it!
Sounds like a pretty awesome dream Sam. I too would love to live somewhere overseas and spend my time traveling and being paid to share my experience about it. There isn’t one corner of the world I don’t want to see. And yes, Thai massages daily would also be awesome.
Good luck with reaching our dreams!
Sometimes we find our dream job by stumbling across the threshold instead of following a planned entry into the field. Take the time to find the industry or career that best fits your personality. Remember: no matter what job or business you choose, blogging is a great vertical to promote yourself and your talents!
Good point. Sometimes we can be too restrictive as to what we want to find and this can hurt us. You never know how something might turn out. I also agree about blogging. It is one of those places where you can have full freedom of expression.
My dream job will involve travelling around, spending time with Spanish gypsies, giving the occasional key note and writing. Can’t manage the balance somehow – for the last six months have been doing loads of writing but not much else.
It’s funny how our dream job seems to involve more than one thing. I guess it is because living our dream wouldn’t be a job. Glad you are getting time to spend on at least one of your passions.
I think so many people today irrationally believe that dream job will simply fall into their laps if they have the right degree or diploma. This was never the case, and certainly does not happen very often in this economy. Gaining some real work skills like you suggest is key! You might have a little bit of a journey to get to your dream job, but having the dedication and endurance is worth it.
I totally agree. Nothing good comes easy, it requires work, dedication, and endurance. In the end though, our effort usually pays off.
I am SO glad you posted this. As a life coach I try to teach people a job should be something you GET to go to, not HAVE to go to! You summed up exactly what I try to drill into my clients!
Glad to hear I am on the right track. There are days I don’t like my job; I think we all have those days, but like you said, we should enjoy it most of the time.
It’s also really important to focus on being a dream employee.
Great article. It’s important that you like what you do because you typically spend more time at work than you do with your family at home.
Isn’t that sad?! You are right though. Based on how much time we spend at work we should get something out of it. If not we need to make a change.
I’m looking for my dream job right now, and will plan to search once a week for the remainder of the year now that I’m retired. Funny isn’t it?
Encore careers are the wave of the future!
I love how you have such freedom Sam. I am really happy for you.
I think if I was like you I too would be looking for my encore career. I can’t help but like to keep busy and learn new things. Good luck.
This is a great post on landing your dream job. I know a lot of people who are stuck in dead end careers and this entry can definitely help them a lot. I especially enjoyed reading the ‘how does your dream job look like’. It’s a simple and yet effective way to really know what industry you would enjoy, and at the same time, enjoy working in.