Many college graduates enter the workforce with the misconception that they will quickly find and be hired to do their dream job. Finding a good job is a long process, and finding a job you can do with both purpose and passion can be an even longer process, with many cumulative contributing factors. Your workplace experience, practice in different fields, and personal growth and maturation all play into what you consider to be your ideal job. We at Resume Yeti do not recommend that job hunters hold out until they find their dream job. Instead, we recommend that job seekers maintain as broad a range of job choices so as to potentially have more than one option when finally deciding to accept a job offer. We encourage those who are already employed, but still searching for their dream job, to constantly reassess their current position, future goals, and ever-changing interests at every stage of their career. Your dream job right out of college will most likely take on a different form than your dream job later in your career. People change, their goals change, and so does the job market.
Apart from identifying a job that you’re passionate about, based on where you are in life and what your goals are, there are several other factors at play while determining what you might consider your “dream job.” In this article, we’ll break down a couple different ways to help you establish what your dream job is, and how you can go about pursuing it.
What do you like?
It may seem quite obvious that your dream job will be something you “like,” but what exactly is it that you like about the work you do? We recommend that you begin your search by making a list of what you have liked about every work experience you’ve ever had. For those who are just entering the workforce post graduation, consider any college jobs you may have had, as well as tasks and assignments you had to carry out for classes.
When you’re working, what kind of workflow do you enjoy the most? Do you enjoy having autonomy to complete your projects, or would you rather work closely with a supervisor or team from start to finish? Do you prefer to work alone or with colleagues? Do you like to interact with the public (i.e. customers/clients) during your workday)? What kind of work setting allows you to be happiest and most productive? Do you like having a flexible schedule or sticking to routine business hours when you work? Answer these questions and any more you can come up with based on your work experiences. Think about the times you were the most successful and the happiest at work. What workplace/process/situational factors contributed to your success and happiness. This exercise will yield a list of not only your best work environment, but also your unique strengths as a worker. Maybe you had never considered being a freelancer before, but if you find that you enjoy autonomy and a flexible schedule, perhaps it’s an avenue you could pursue. Maybe you’re in HR or customer service, but you really enjoy the instances that require technology or workflow problem solving. You might be better off working in IT or even in a management position in your current field.
This article on The Muse analyzes the benefits of playing into your strengths while searching for a job you truly love. Using data from Gallup surveys and the example of a sales-related job, the writer points out that a salesperson who realizes that their daily encounters with rejection really bother them, may ultimately be happier and more successful in a position that is sales-related—thus utilizing the salesperson’s skill set—but that is removed from the grind of making sales pitches. The writer proposes an alternative position in sales operations that may resolve the salesperson’s discontent with their current position in sales. Thus, by isolating what the worker liked and didn’t like about their job, it is possible to imagine a solution for the worker in which they are both happier and more successful in their work.
Where and how do you find your dream job?
A salesperson that might be better off in sales operations is a theoretical example to emphasize the importance of identifying your strengths and factors for success in your work. The real world is usually more complicated than that. And finding your dream job certainly may be more challenging than switching to another position in the same field, perhaps even in the same company. Thus, once you’ve made your list of what you like about working, it’s time to consider how and where you might find a job that encompasses as many of the items on the list as possible.
Late last year, we published a step-by-step guide to how to get a job in 2017. Perhaps the most important step in these guidelines is to keep a job search notebook or spreadsheet. We recommend including fields for company name, company website, important contacts at the company, and the status of your application. When you are searching for a job that meets very specific requirements that you choose (i.e. your dream job), you can add a field in your spreadsheet that makes a note of which positions and companies meet your various requirements. What will result is a list of jobs that visually points to the ones that meet the most aspects of what you consider to be your dream job.
In the Forbes article, “4 Practical Ways To Find Your Life’s Passion And A Career You Love,” writer Deena Varshavskaya makes several excellent points on how to prevent yourself from skipping over what could be your dream job. Among them are, “Don’t make money your primary consideration” and “Don’t set an artificial ceiling for yourself.” If you try to prioritize your success, your happiness, and your personal professional growth in your job search, you may find that in the past you’ve limited yourself from exploring jobs or career paths that were not as lucrative or as professionally recognized as the one you ultimately followed, the one that now makes you unhappy.
Most people think of the concept of “deal breakers,” with regards to relationships. However, the concept applies to finding a job, too. Deal breakers in relationships are dangerous because they lay down negative standards that an individual must “pass” in order for pursuit of a relationship to be considered acceptable. You end up scrutinizing every person you meet, searching for their flaws, rather than allowing their good qualities to shine through to begin with. Many people say they missed out on love and friendships because they set too many impossible “deal breaker” standards and ultimately ended up isolating themselves. The same concept applies with jobs. If you’re having trouble finding your dream job, then perhaps you need to reevaluate your expectations for salary, hours, location, workflow, company hierarchy, etc. When searching for your dream job, try to prioritize your happiness at work, rather than any deal breakers you have outlined for your career.
While these tips may seem simplistic, the point we want to underscore is that discovering and pursuing your dream job will rely heavily on your own introspection. Ultimately, by routinely evaluating your work-related processes, goals, and wellbeing, you’ll be able to detect when you need to make changes, what you need to change, and how to go about implementing them.
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