If you’re an adult with a full-time job, you spend the vast majority of your waking hours working. Shouldn’t that time be spent doing something you love? Realistically, nobody is going to love what they do all the time and it’s certainly risky to quit a stable job with no source of income, but identifying and working towards that dream job is a critical step.
You know you want that dream job, but where do you begin? What if you don’t even know what your dream job is? Follow these steps to pinpoint and strategize your way to a job that you adore.
1. Figuring out your dream job.
Knowing what your dream job is can be one of the toughest parts! There are many ways to figure this out, including answering the classic high school counselor question, “What would you do if you weren’t getting paid for it?” Everyone has an answer, but it make take some creativity to come up with a way to make a living at it. For instance, yogis might want to become teachers or open their own studios, and writers might find great success freelancing or founding their own writing services business.
2. Consider the region and the business.
Making a comfortable living is subjective, but some places are much kinder on your pocketbook than others. For example, being a business owner in a state with no income taxes and low cost of living will give you much more financial flexibility than doing the same thing in Los Angeles! Compensation including salary/earning potential, benefits and perks go hand in hand with where your new job is located.
3. Take care of pre-requisites.
Once you’ve identified your dream job, find out if there are certificates, degrees, licenses or other pre-requisites either demanded or strongly preferred by the industry. You can take care of these tasks while maintaining your current job, all while making yourself qualified and more attractive to future employers.
4. Research companies, co-founders, etc. and network.
You know your dream job, you’ve narrowed down geographic locations (if you’re willing to move), and you’re ticking off any pre-requisites. Now it’s time to identify potential employers, co-founders, industry leaders and the like. If possible and appropriate, connect with them at networking events and/or the best social media platforms. Think about them like you already have an interview set up, and you’ll get an edge over the competition.
5. Clean up your resume.
A resume should always be a work in progress, but gearing up for a dream job switch means it’s imperative that your resume is polished. Avoid the worst resume mistakes, and perhaps hire a resume writer to really make it shine.
6. Check your online reputation.
Depending on your desired position and the industry, you may want a professional website/blog, LinkedIn profile, or a portfolio of guest posts on a variety of platforms. Google yourself and ensure your online reputation is flawless. You can bet hiring managers will be doing the same!
7. Ace the interview.
Once you get the interview, follow basic interview etiquette—you’d be surprised how many people flub this part. Make sure you know where you’re going (doing a “dry drive by” the day before is a good idea if the area is unfamiliar) and if possible research the kind of dress code followed by employees. The goal is to look like you fit in. Come prepared with extra copies of your resume, research the company to showcase your interest, and always bring a handful of questions.
8. Negotiate the salary.
Much like buying a car, salaries are often negotiable. Once you’re offered the position, feel free to negotiate and be prepared to share why you think you deserve a higher pay. What do you bring to the table that other candidates haven’t?
Your dream job is waiting, but it’ll take some preparation on your end. It’s a highly competitive market out there, and you need to be the strongest possible candidate. With some research, passion and connections, you’ll be well on your way to doing what you love (and loving what you do).