Maybe you’ve just graduated from university and are struggling to figure out what your dream job might be. Or perhaps you are already working a 9-5 job but are feeling unfulfilled in your current role. Landing your dream job may seem like a daunting task but it can be done with motivation and persistence. “Do what you love” is pretty common career advice but how do you get to that dream job, the job you really want?
You will first need to identify your dream job or the qualities of your dream role and then focus on getting the necessary skill sets and education for the job so that you can then apply for your dream job and improve your chances of finally landing it. As unattainable as a dream job may seem, with the right amount of thought and preparation, you can do what you love. Here are six tips to get you started.
1. Know What You Want
If you don’t have a goal in mind, it’ll be awfully difficult to set a path or define steps to get you there. Before you start job hunting or working on your resume, it’s important to know what your end goal is. This is especially true if your dream job isn’t a traditional job. Winging it won’t get you ahead.
Take time to do a self-assessment of your values, how you like to work and what you’d be compelled to do even if you never got paid. Research careers and industries that map to your skills and interests. Hit the internet, set up informational interviews, take relevant coursework, and even arrange to go onsite at a company in your chosen field. If you’re having trouble defining exactly what your dream job is, try this dream job quiz that can help you speed up the thought process by taking your interests and offering real-world odds of getting a related job.
2. Remember That Any Progress Is Good Progress
Practice, work hard, do something productive and efficient while working towards your dream job. Be realistic in considering your financial status and needs, and what job you like that will serve well for you. Perhaps this means earning a paycheck at your current job while doing a part-time internship in your new field, or taking an adult-education class or workshop on the weekend. The only way to find out if you’re passionate about something is to try it — ideally with as little risk as you can manage.
Even confident people stay in unsatisfying jobs because they feel safe, and because they’re afraid of making a bad decision. Remember to keep your expectations realistic since nothing is perfect, any progress should be appreciated and regarded as a valuable step towards reaching your goal. Make an effort to do one thing to get you closer to your dream job – like emailing a networking contact or working on a side project.
3. Network. A lot.
According to LinkedIn, 85% of jobs are filled by network referrals. Your network isn’t just a nice little collection of Twitter handles or LinkedIn headshots. These are people whose experience and professional kinship can help boost you from faceless applicant to contender.
Having someone else vouch for an applicant can help make the hiring process easier, and push the applicant higher on the list than they might have made it if they just went through the usual process of applying online and waiting for a call back. Having someone talk up your skills and fitness for the job is immensely helpful. And you never know when an opening or an opportunity may pop up from your old boss, or that guy who sat next to you in Accounting class. Keeping these relationships fresh, and making an effort to attend industry events or networking events is definitely worth your time.
As the Chinese Proverb says “If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.” Having diverse groups of friends not only adds meaning and enjoyment to your life, it also creates opportunities. You never know where someone today will be tomorrow, so work on broadening your network.
4. Kill The Job Hunt
In developing a resume and other promotional materials for the field you want to pursue, think about how your current skills and talents apply to the responsibilities you’ll hold in the new job. Experience is a great attribute to have in your job hunt, but it’s not the only one. You also need to look at the quality of that experience: the skills and knowledge you have accumulated over time.
If you think of the job description requirements as more of a starting point than an ironclad list of requirements, it can help remove some of that mental block to applying to a job that may seem like a reach. While some things may be non-negotiable, other things may be more flexible if you have equivalent skills or experience. For example, if a job description calls for a Bachelor’s degree but you have an Associate’s and a number of skills related to the job, don’t let that scare you off. Just make sure you emphasize the qualities and skills that you do have to support the job description.
And as always, it’s important to make sure you’re tailoring your resume and cover letter to match the job you want. (If you need some good tips on how to write a stellar cover letter, The Marketing Helpline put together this awesome guide) Your resume is your one opportunity to make a connection with a hiring manager, who is probably sifting through hundreds of resumes per week. Your resume should communicate results. Paint a picture of what you did and what the outcome was. Be specific. Instead of just writing that you worked in sales, Tell a more compelling story by adding details like: “Brought in $300,000 of new business in Q4 through my outreach”.
Focus your job search on careers in which you are truly interested. There is no need to apply for jobs that do not meet your requirements. The more effort you put into applying for the jobs you are truly passionate about, the greater chance you have of landing the job of your dreams.
Before going on an interview, Glassdoor suggests job seekers do the following three things: Research the company you are interviewing with and the work they do. Practice answering tough and common interview questions beforehand. Look up background information about the individual you are interviewing with.
Also answering the question “What’s your dream job?” is a great chance to show the interviewer that you’re ambitious and forward-thinking, while also having the skills and values that will make you a great employee. If you answer the question “what is your dream job” and reverse engineer it, you can anticipate answers to questions an interviewer may ask.
The best way to prepare your answer to this key question is to spend a few minutes writing out a description of what your dream job might look like. Be sure to include things like what you’d like to do and who you’d like to work with. Model your final answer after things you like to do that relate to the job you’re applying for and what your job requirements would be in that role.
6. Work on Yourself
The fastest way to reach the top is not always a straight line. Take your time and insist, like Warren Buffett, that every day you “Sit and think.” Identify which skills you’re missing or which weaknesses are holding you back from maximizing your strengths Once you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, start putting together a plan on how you can double down on your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Not the best public speaker? take an online course to try and improve. Feel like you have a great deal of knowledge of a certain field? Find an online certification in that field so you can prove it to future employers. In whatever way you decide to try and improve, make sure it relates to your dream job and eventually, everything will start to line up.
With every opportunity you will add skills, experiences, knowledge, and contacts until you build a resume and network that will help you reach your dream job.
Every phase in life is a learning opportunity. Even though you may not be working at your dream job right now, if you begin to take the correct steps, one day you will reach your dream job. These strategies are a great place to start. Looking for more professional advice? Check out our blog!