7 Do’s and Don’ts to Identify Your Dream Job Before You Start Your Dream Search
“A dream job is a job that combines your talents and your passions in a way that is meaningful to you.” says Pete Liebman, a career coach who landed his first dream job at age 21. Sounds simple, right? So, why does landing a dream job often seem like an impossible dream? The problem, Leibman believes, is that most young people start a job search before having a clear idea of the job they really want to find.
In his new book, I Got My Dream Job and So Can You: 7 Steps to Creating Your Ideal Career After College (AMACOM; March 6, 2012), Leibman shares seven do’s and don’ts to help you identify the job of your dreams–and avoid ending up in a nightmare situation:
- Don’t pursue other people’s dreams. You won’t find your dream job by chasing a hot field or by swallowing the “advice” being jammed down your throat by parents, family, friends, professors, or society. “The only way to get your dream job is to be honest about what you want to do,” Leibman stresses. “The answer is inside you, not outside.”
- Don’t expect perfect. A dream job is not a soul mate or about finding “the one.” There are lots of jobs out there that could be your dream job. A dream job is also not a perfect job. “No job will ever be exciting and free from frustration 100 percent of the time, Leibman says. “If that is your expectation, you will always be disappointed.”
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Yes, you should make your career decisions carefully. But, if you pursue a path that winds up not working for you, remember: a job is not a life sentence. You can change directions at any time. “In fact,” as Leibman notes, “most people change jobs (and careers) a number of times throughout their lives.”
- Try new things. “The best way to find out what you like to do and what you are good at is through personal experience,” Leibman says. Take variety of courses, travel to new places, and read about different subjects. Intern and volunteer. The more your experience, the easier it will be to determine what you want from your career.
- Take some tests. Career assessments might shed light on talents and passions that you’ve overlooked. Check with your college’s career center to see what services are available. Many offer free career testing to alumni as well as students. Use the results to open your mind to new options– not, as Leibman cautions, to limit your thinking.
- Talk to people you trust. Find several people you trust, and ask for their help in brainstorming potential career paths. “Talking out loud to people you respect can uncover ideas you had not previously considered,” suggests Leibman. Also, talk to people in any fields of interest– what is formally known as an Informational Interview.
- Talk to yourself. “If you don’t know what your passions and talents are, you need to start paying more attention to how you feel as you live your life,” Leibman says. To begin, Leibman advises going somewhere by yourself, somewhere peaceful where you will be inspired to THINK BIG. Start by envisioning your ideal life. Then, get to work on creating your own dream job description. Take time to define your ideal work location, schedule, and environment, as well as your ideal job function and compensation. The results should help to clearly identify your target market and dream position.
Adapted from I GOT MY DREAM JOB AND SO CAN YOU: 7 Steps to Creating Your Ideal Career After College by Pete Liebman (AMACOM; March 6, 2012; $15.95 Paperback; ISBN: 978-0-8144-2020-1).
Pete Leibman is the founder of Dream Job Academy, an online program devoted to helping young professionals follow their passions, fully tap their talents, and find a meaningful job with growth potential–the job they really want. In addition to his work as a career-building trainer, he inspires thousands of young professionals each year a popular keynote speaker. He has spoken to audiences as large as 4,000+, and has shared his career advice at some of the world’s best colleges, including Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University. Follow Pete Leibman on Twitter @PeteLeibman