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How to find your dream job

Posted by Jon Meyrick, about 2 months ago

4 min read

Ok, finding a dream job is much easier said than done. But there are a few, practical steps you can take that will help you zero in on what it is you really want from work.

Here are six things that can take you closer to the perfect job for you.

1. Figure out what you’re good at, and what you enjoy

Again, this is easier said than done. But also again, there are practical things you can do.

Ask the people close to you what they think your best skills are. What could they see you doing and enjoying? What did your family imagine you’d end up doing when you were younger? And think about not just what you’re good at, but what you enjoy being good at. What skills are you most proud of?

Then think about what you want to get out of work, other than your day to day activity. Would a job that needs a big commute but gives a big financial reward make you happier than something really close to home? Do you want to move up the ladder quickly, or do you want to take time to get really good at something before you move on to the next challenge?

Now make a list of different careers you’ve been interested in, and jobs that have appealed to you. Then list every job you’ve ever had, what you enjoyed most about each of them and what you learned from them. Look at where the lists cross over, and what skills are transferable from one to the other.

Answering these questions should start to point you in the direction of jobs that will really interest and reward you.

2. Talk to more people

Who do you know who enjoys their job? When your friends and family talk about their career, does anything appeal to you about their day to day life?

Most people who love what they do are more than willing to have a chat about it. Ask them what the best and worst aspects are, how they got into it, and whether or not they think it might be a good fit for you.

When something seems out of reach, work backwards. Ask people what they did before their current job, and the one before that, and the one before that. Ask if they think their path was the best one, or would they have done anything differently? Starting in an entry level role is a lot less daunting and more satisfying when you know and like where you’re heading.

3. Choose the right industry

Once you know what sort of job you’re looking for, you need to find the industry – and then company – you want to work in.

What industries do you like, and what field would you be proud to say you have worked in? What companies have you had good experiences with and why they were rewarding?

Aside from finding the right job, it’s also important to work for a business that chimes with your values and ethics. Trust your intuition when thinking about what company you want to walk into every morning.

It can also be extremely helpful to have a mentor – someone you trust and admire, with real life experience, who’s willing to support and guide you. Look at people you think are successful and happy, and ask if you can talk to them about your career development path. If you find the conversation helpful, ask if you could make these conversations a regular thing.

Mentors can make you feel empowered and can help to keep you on track if you ever feel discouraged. A different perspective can be useful and reassuring.

4. Try before you apply

If you’re interested in a particular job, it’s always good to get a clear idea of what it involves before you commit to applying. Research the company and get in touch with them. If you’re not currently working, you could try asking if you’re able to do some work experience, shadow someone for a day, or even just talk to someone who works there to get a better idea of the role. Not only could this avoid you applying for something that isn’t right for you, but it may give you an insight into other areas of that company that may be a better fit.

It’s also a good idea to research any qualifications needed for a job you’re targeting, and starting to put the wheels in motion. Employers might accept your application if you’re in the process of gaining the credentials you need, and it might give you a taster for what the job will involve.

5. Get ahead of the game

So you think you know what your next step is, you’ve found a company you’d enjoy working for … but there are no jobs available. So what now?

You don’t need to sit around pressing the refresh button on their careers page. Be proactive and get in touch with the companies you’d like to be a part of.

If you’re thinking of working for a small company, send them your CV with a cover letting telling them why you’d like to work there, and ask them to keep you in mind for anything that comes up in the future. Follow it up a few days later with a phone call to reinforce your interest.

For larger companies, many of them now have talent networks where you can register your details, and they can then get in touch with you when suitable positions become available.

LinkedIn is another great way to get your name out there and connect with people who may be able to point you in the right direction or offer advice.

6. Don’t get disheartened

There is no such thing as a wasted or pointless experience. Turning each challenge into a lesson is a vital tool in moving forward. Ask yourself what went wrong, why it went wrong, and what you’ll do differently next time.

Nobody has mastered the art of a flawless step by step guide to happiness. It’s important to remember that most people face several hurdles and challenges before they find their perfect career.

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