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How to find your dream job

How to Find Your Dream Job: A Career Change Guide

Asking someone what they want to do for a living is a lot like asking a child what they hope to be when they grow up. Except  six-year-olds rarely hesitate before they answer. Adults, not so much.


I get it. I thought my dream job was working in counterterrorism. It took me some time and a fair amount of struggle before I realized that helping others as a career coach is really my dream come true. Which is the point. It’s not easy. Then again, few things are. It’s okay if you need to leave your present position to achieve your aspirations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, Baby Boomers “held an average of 12.3 jobs from age 18 to age 52…early half of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 24.” In other words, you’re more likely to change employment when you are young but being older is never a reason to not pursue your dreams. So whether you’re having a hard time landing the career you want or are unsure about exactly what it should be, ask yourself these three questions to discover how to find your dream job.

Who Are You?


Be honest. If you dislike offices, you won’t flourish working in a cubicle. If you prefer completing tasks entirely on your own, you won’t thrive in a large law firm. Not sure who you are? Don’t despair, there are companies that have been answering that question for decades. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) focuses on uncovering your personality type which is an important first step if you want to know how to find your dream job. Inspired by the work of psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s and crafted by mother-daughter team Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, it puts testers into 16 personality types. Another test that has been around for decades but is still relevant in the 21st century is Enneagram. Like Meyers-Briggs, it looks at you as an individual rather than what you should do for work. To answer more career-focused questions, I like The Princeton Review Career Test, MyNextMove, and Glassdoor’s What Job Best Fits Your Life? –– which also examines how the time and training needed to land your dream job fits in with your present lifestyle.


If you have no idea what your dream job looks like, there are online tests that can help. I also recommend journaling. Keeping a journal not only has proven health benefits but by writing down what your ideal life looks like you’ll discover what a dream job means to you. 


Who Do You Know?


Networking is a vital key to achievement. Yet some treat it like a trip to the oral surgeon. Remember, you’re hoping to gain wisdom not have your wisdom teeth extracted. So try to approach it with positivity and a sense of excitement for the unexpected. Build your network by reaching out on Twitter, sending email invitations, and attending events. It’s like going on a bunch of first dates ––you don’t want to come on too strong, but you want a memorable evening that develops into a genuine connection.


Your dream job may require a drastic career change or even a step down the pay scale ladder. So you owe it to yourself to reach out to people who work in the field or know people who do. Take the time to conduct informational interviews and shadow people who do what you are interested in doing. After all, just because it feels like you’ve wanted to do something forever doesn’t mean it’s perfect for who you are. Holding a gun for the first time changed my perspective about counterterrorism. Many movie directors switch to TV after their first film because the hours aren’t as brutal while the pay is similar. 


What’s Your Title?


After determining what your dream job is, research the path toward achieving it. In other words, becoming Director of Information Technology usually requires time spent as a support staffer. If you hope to become a Civil Litigator you’ll need to graduate from law school first. Outlining the steps necessary to achieving your dreams is an important part of how to find your dream job. You’ll also want to research openings and learn as much as you can about the outlook for the career.


As you head toward your dream job, make it a practice to list your goals –– long, medium and short-term. I also recommend working with an accountability partner. If you put the time, energy, and passion into it, I really believe you will achieve it. 


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