Youíll likely spend about one-third of your life at work, and for most people, this is their main source of income. Because of this, your job affects nearly every aspect of your life, including your ability to afford housing, food, technology, entertainment, transportation, and more. Needless to say, your career choices are important.
Plenty of people have well-paying jobs that they donít enjoy, and they stay in these positions for years because it affords them a lifestyle they enjoy. Taking another approach, some people are happy to take lower pay or seek out additional sources of income so they can focus more of their time on a job they truly enjoy.
Every job will have positives and negatives associated with it, and in most cases, itís unrealistic to expect to find a career where everything goes perfectly all the time. A more practical approach is to seek a balance of many factors, including things like pay, benefits, job duties, work-life balance, company culture, management styles, and potential for growth. Considering that, here are some strategies for discovering and actually getting your dream job.
One of the biggest challenges of finding work youíll enjoy is figuring out what that job is. This is true for people who are new to the job market as well as those who have decades of experience in one or many industries. Finding your dream job takes a lot of self-awareness and honesty.
The first thing many people look for is a high rate of pay. While having enough money to pay for things you need and want is definitely important, itís easy to become too focused on this factor alone. You might set your sights on a particular salary, yet when you finally earn the position, you donít actually enjoy the work. Thatís a lot of time spent doing something you donít enjoy, and the money might not be worth your mental health.
Because there are so many factors involved, it may help to begin writing things down. Taking a holistic view, you can better identify your career goals by asking the following questions:
What are you passionate about?
What have you enjoyed about jobs and experiences youíve had so far?
What are your greatest talents?
What would you like to learn about?
Do you prefer structure or flexibility?
Do you want your duties and locations to vary frequently, or would you prefer something more predictable?
How would your dream job interact with other aspects of your life, such as hobbies, relationships, health, and spirituality?
These are just a few questions to get started on understanding yourself. Meeting with a career counselor or taking quizzes can also help reveal new possibilities. While these wonít necessarily lead you directly to your dream role, they can help you continue to come up with ideas about your dream job.
Apply for Each Job With Intention
Once youíve found a position youíd like to pursue, itís important to really commit to the application process. Typically, there are many people who would like the same job, and theyíll all have different experiences, qualifications, personalities, and communication styles.
From a hiring managerís perspective, this is a lot to sort through, and one of the first factors theyíll use to thin the crowd of potential candidates depends on the quality of their application materials. The key to success here is including the most essential information in an efficient way.
That being said, some positions will require more extensive experience. In this case, it might be a good idea to extend your list of qualifications beyond a single page. However, you should be careful to select and organize only the most relevant information.
Consider the needs of the employer. Select only the most relevant experiences from your work history, and tailor every line for the job and the company.
Similarly, when applying for multiple jobs, customize each resume for the position and company. Using generic application materials for every position wonít help you stand out from the crowd.
In most cases, aim to limit your experiences to one page. This allows you to effectively emphasize only the most important points from your skills, education, and work history.
Use powerful verbs when describing your responsibilities for a particular position.
Never lie about your qualifications or experiences.
Without plagiarizing, include language and keywords from the job description. In some cases, companies will use software to search for these keywords and prioritize applications.
Consider including the the following sections: Name and contact information, a personal statement, work experience, education, skills, languages, achievements, and volunteer experience.
You should also create a cover letter that is customized for each job and company. Your cover letter is a chance to further describe your experiences in relation to the position. Youíll also be able to convey more of your own personal brand in your cover letter. While working from a generic template can give you a solid start, you should strive to tailor the language and tone you use in order to represent yourself as a whole person, not just information.
Itís a good idea to have a career counselor or an experienced friend look over your application materials before officially submitting them. They may be able to catch typos, unclear language, and other errors that might discourage a hiring manager from contacting you.
Pay Attention, Even After Being Hired
You may need to spend years experimenting with different careers in order to find your dream job. You might even go through extensive training programs, only to find that the work isnít ideal or sustainable. However, in doing so, you will come closer to understanding what you really want. The key is to pay attention. It may help to continue to keep an ongoing record of your work experiences in order to make better decisions in the future.
For example, you may truly enjoy fulfilling your responsibilities, but your superiors may not have the management style you need to be successful. This can be a difficult challenge for you as well as your manager. If possible, itís best to calmly communicate your feelings, expectations, and needs concerning problematic situations. Sometimes, this communication can help alleviate tensions and create a better work environment. In other cases, you may need to discuss the issues youíre experiencing with someone in human resources, or you may need to seek a similar job with a different company.
There might be other factors that you appreciate or dislike, and these can guide you toward your dream job. This could include things like your work schedule, benefits, time off, coworkers, your workplace environment, particular responsibilities, your work-life balance, and your ability to grow over time, among many others. Again, by paying attention you can better understand yourself and what you need from a career.
So far weíve focused on external factors that affect your job satisfaction. However, you also need to ask yourself if there is something you could do to improve your own performance and enjoy your job. For example, if youíre stressed out when making phone calls or sending emails related to your job, consider creating templates for written messages or take detailed notes before a phone call so you can more easily stay on track.
Most jobs include goals and deadlines that could weigh heavily on you, both within and beyond your workday. Even if you donít work on these projects outside of the workplace, just thinking of them can cause stress, anxiety, and even depression. Sometimes, you simply might not be suited for the workload youíve taken on. itís okay to admit that and move in another direction. But before you do that, consider whether you can change your own habits.
Perhaps you need to spend more time on certain aspects of your job to be successful and happy. Or maybe you have trouble getting started on some tasks, so you always end up rushing to finish things. Combating procrastination is a challenge nearly everyone faces, at work and at home. However, with some intentional organization, you can work more efficiently and spend less time stressed out and concerned about your performance.
On the journey to find your dream job, youíll probably experience a lot of doubt. Donít give up on your search. Donít resign yourself to work that isnít fulfilling or doesnít give you what you need to be happy, functioning individual. Remember that you are unique. You have skills, experience, and interests that are valuable, and with some effort, you can find a way to put them to use in your career.