Tired of the endless studying and stocking shelves at Target? Feeling ready to take the next step out of your provincial life?
We can’t make all your dreams come true in the next 90 minutes, but we CAN offer tips on discerning and achieving your dream job goals!
1. You don’t have to know everything yet.
My college career center director asks, “What are you hoping to do after graduation?” And the response is “I don’t know!”
Like Rapunzel, you might be conflicted about what you want. We’re complex creatures and that’s okay!
If you don’t feel particularly passionate about anything, good news! After reviewing over 60 studies about job satisfaction, Benjamin Todd wrote, “You can develop passion by doing work that you find enjoyable and meaningful.”
2. When defining your dream job goals, consider your natural strengths.
We love telling people that they can be anything they want, but as Judy finds, you’re more nuanced than that. If you hate numbers but want to be an accountant, you should probably rethink your goals.
What are you good at? What makes you feel like you’re making a difference? For a free, personalized approach to your career goals, give our personality quiz a spin.
3. Count the cost.
Research the heck out of your field of interest and talk to experienced people. If this field is really what you’re passionate about, learning about it should be exciting!
And once you’ve learned everything you can, ask yourself: are you willing to put in the long-term work you need to reach your dream job goals?
Passion isn’t the only factor to consider for your dream job. Todd defines 6 of the most common factors to high job satisfaction (and they’re NOT salary or low stress!):
- Work that’s engaging.
- Work that helps others.
- Work you’re good at.
- Work with supportive colleagues.
- Lack of major negatives (like long commutes or unfair pay).
- Work that fits with the rest of your life.
Some things to think about while you’re counting the cost! Or consider asking an expert career coach to help in your discernment journey.
4. Take the leap.
You’ll never be 100% certain that you’ve found “the one” career. So do prepare—but also, move forward!
Even if you change directions later, your experiences, skills, and connections that you pick up will build on your career foundation for future endeavors. And when you look back, you won’t have to wonder what would’ve happened—you’ll be glad you tried!
5. Everyone starts with zero experience!
Chances are, you DO have experience—just not in the way you think! (That’s what Jessie found out for herself: she already had the grit and brains to face her fears!)
Now is also the best time to learn from community and expert advice. You’ll learn valuable life skills and save yourself a lot of headaches, time, and money by learning from those who have gone before you and those who are walking alongside you. So, don’t go it alone!
6. It’s all about who you know.
When you’re trying to hit your dream job goals, prioritize your network! Your network might not be a genie in a lamp, but you’ll learn so much more, connect with so many more people, and gain so many more career skills from networking than from blindly applying to job postings.
7. Work hard and keep your eyes on the prize.
Dreams are hard work. You have to:
- Break down your goals into actionable, small steps.
- Stay up-to-date with the biggest needs in your field of interest.
- Learn the relevant skills.
- Reach out to old and new connections (and look for new ones if they don’t reply).
- Keep your branding materials updated.
- Make time for all of that!
In all the details, you can get tired and unmotivated. Tiana had her poster of her future restaurant; do you have a vision of what you want your future to look like, too? What will keep you going?
8. On the hard days, put one foot in front of the other.
Some days, you feel like your dreams will never come true. Even when you try to motivate yourself, you can’t help but despair. We all have those days!
But keep showing up. Do the next thing. Step by step, you will get there.
The Muse offers a great list of manageable tasks to help you get closer to your dream job goals. Which one is the next right thing for you?
9. Enjoy the journey!
Dreams take so much time. What do we do while we’re waiting for them to come true?
Consider: what are you learning where you are right now? What made you smile? Who are the best people you’ve met? Your experiences enrich your life at every stage, and you’ll grow to better fulfill your future endeavors.
10. Dreams change.
“Follow your dreams” is another thing we love telling everyone, but Todd writes, “Our interests change often, and more than we expect.” Consider Todd’s 6 biggest factors for job satisfaction, and keep your options open.
Todd adds that many of his company’s clients, “switched into a field that didn’t initially interest them, but that they believed was important for the world. After developing their skills, finding good people to work with, and the right role, they’ve become deeply satisfied.”
There’s nothing wrong with changing directions, but uncertainty creates a lot of anxiety. Read more about how to plan for change.
11. It’s not about where you are. It’s about who you are.
No matter your job title, address, or resume skills, what you offer to any position is never really about where you’ve been. You are the source of your dreams and goals, and you are uniquely formed with your own quirks, strengths, and passions. Rather than you becoming your career journey, your career journey expresses who you are!
Granzella Larssen, Adrian. "25 Little Ways to Get Closer to Your Dream Career This Week." The Muse, www.themuse.com/advice/25-little-ways-to-get-closer-to-your-dream-career-this-week. Accessed 16 Oct. 2020.
Todd, Benjamin. "We reviewed over 60 studies about what makes for a dream job. Here's what we found." 80,000 Hours Career Guide, Apr. 2017, 80000hours.org/career-guide/job-satisfaction/. Accessed 16 Oct. 2020.
Meet The Author - Cat Movius | A former career YouTuber & now a scientific writer, Cat has experienced the complications of following your dreams, shuffling life priorities, and making difficult career transitions. When she’s not writing; she loves singing, playing video games with her husband, and eating cheesecake.