Who hasn’t wanted to land their dream job – one that provides purpose, has great pay and benefits, offers an enjoyable and challenging work environment, and recognizes the value of your talents and skills? If you are reading this, you are likely in a job that has proved less than satisfying and left you longing for something more. Good news! Identifying and landing your dream job is possible when you have the right education and determination. Read on to learn how to pick a career and find a job that you love.
How to Pick a Career
Maybe you already know what career you want to move into, or maybe you’re still wondering, “What is my dream job?” Considering that at least a third of your life is spent at work, it’s imperative that you aren’t just putting in time for a paycheck. To identify what career best suits you, several steps will help narrow down your options.
Do you love combing through data? Creating apps? Serving the underprivileged? Helping the sick? Leading a team? By examining your interests, you can evaluate what is important to you regarding a dream job. Then you can determine which interests can translate into a career vs which are hobby material. For example, do you prefer to work in a hands-on, fast-paced environment (i.e., public safety, education), or are you an analytical problem solver (i.e., accountancy, business economics)? Do you want to directly help people (i.e., nursing, addictions counseling), or are you a behind-the-scenes person (i.e., management of information systems)?
Research careers that align with your interests
One area of interest can often lead to multiple career options. Researching the various industries and job titles that align with your interests can help you narrow down a specific career path. And the more focused your interests, the easier it will be to pinpoint. For example, maybe you love history, but what aspect of history interests you the most? The research side of it? The learning component? Civics? For example, if your dream job is to be a school librarian, there are different pathways for achieving that job. Enrollment and academic advisors can assist you in finding the degree that matches your interests.
Identify the skills, training, and experience required
It’s one thing to desire a dream job that you think would be fun. It’s another to realistically pursue a career that is achievable so you will excel. Carefully research the skills required for the careers you are assessing, as well as the level of education needed. If you need to return to school to earn a degree or add a master’s to prepare for a new career, enrolling in an accelerated online degree program at Ottawa University will take you one step closer to that dream job. Keep in mind that some jobs also require licensing or certification in certain areas.
Learn the ins and outs of the job
The last thing you want to do is waste your time earning credentials and getting a job, just to find out it isn’t what you wanted after all. When determining how to pick a career, you must spend time gaining intimate knowledge of the profession you are considering. Several ways to do that include reading varied job descriptions, interviewing people in similar positions, and even shadowing someone for a day. You’ll want to learn everything you can about the work environment, routine duties, challenges, and perks of the job.
Another key factor to evaluate when choosing a career is the job market. Your career aspirations can lead you to a variety of job choices, so it’s best to see which careers are projected to be in high demand. Also, research the new and diverse careers being created to meet the needs of our constantly changing business world. Study the trends to see what jobs or skills are being phased out, which are up and coming, and which will always be in demand. Then overlay your results with careers that fit your aspirations, goals, and values.
How to Find a Job That You Love
Once you know which career you want to pursue and obtain the education and experience required, there are several things that you can do to find a job that you love within that career field.
This is a vital first step. Make a list of the things that are important to you for job satisfaction and prioritize them. For example, do you want to travel, or would you rather be home every night with your family? Do you value working with a team or working independently? Is salary or service more important? Would you prefer to work for a large corporation or a family-owned business? Does sitting at a desk or being outside sound more appealing? Once you know what you’re looking for, apply for jobs that meet your criteria.
Simply dreaming about your dream job won’t make it happen. Implementing an action plan to land your dream job will. Make a list of all of the steps you need to take (including many listed here) and put them on a timeline. Break them down into sub-steps if necessary, and then systematically start getting them done. Challenge yourself and make your goals time-bound, but also be realistic so they are achievable.
Research the industry and specific organizations
Job satisfaction is not only about the duties you perform. It’s also about the environment and culture you work in. If you are interested in nursing, for example, research the different settings where you could potentially do what you love, i.e., in an emergency room, a major hospital, a specialized department, a doctor’s office, hospice, a clinic, midwifery, etc. and decide which options are right for you. Then go deeper to look at specific organizations to weed out the ones that are not a good fit for your values and skills. Make a final list of places you will apply, or at a minimum list the criteria an organization must meet for submitting a resume.
Employers are interested not only in your job qualifications but also in the soft skills that help determine your success on the job. Soft skills can be thought of as the less tangible abilities related to the way individuals act and interact with others. Examples of soft skills include things like adaptability, critical thinking, professionalism, time management, a strong work ethic, communication, and respect for diversity.
An effective resume is not a one-size-fits-all document. Just as each job is unique, so your resume should be customized to match the specific job for which you are applying. While you should include the relevant skills and objectives on your resume that make it rise to the top, it’s also extremely important that you take cues from the company’s job description to maximize the exposure your resume will get. Using keywords related to the skills, experience, and qualities an organization is looking for will get you noticed by recruiters, HR managers, and even digital tracking systems that screen resumes for relevant keywords and qualifications.
Have you heard of the hidden job market? The hidden job market is a term used to describe jobs that aren't posted online. According to a 2019 Survey, about half of job applicants heard about jobs from friends and 37% said they learned about jobs from professional networks. You can build professional connections through conferences, chamber of commerce events, career fairs, alumni, LinkedIn connections, family and friends, social events, and volunteer work.
Prepare for the interview
Ensure all your hard work pays off by nailing your job interview. You may have all the needed skills and credentials, but if you are unprepared to make your best impression during an interview, you could walk away with dashed dreams. Make sure you set yourself up for success by being ready to answer trending interview questions and also have your own questions prepared.
What is My Dream Job?
In the end, you need to make sure you are pursuing YOUR dream job. Not the job your parents wanted you to get, the one you inherited because someone left the company, or the one you took temporarily to pay the bills. And when asking, “What is my dream job?” understand that it is not some pie-in-the-sky aspiration. It is an examined, calculated, and critically reviewed career that encompasses your passions, skills, and values. It is one you plan for and take steps to achieve. Let us help you take the first step toward getting your dream job by finding the degree that matches your goals!
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