The First Step to Finding Your Dream Job

By Xin Lu on 23 September 2009 (Updated 9 February 2010) 10 comments

In the current economy, many of us are happy just to be employed, but at the same time very few of us are working at the elusive "dream job." For many people their jobs simply provide a paycheck and not much more. So how do you find the career that makes you truly happy? I think the first step to finding your dream job is to define what it is.

Define the final products of your dream job.

Not everyone knows what exactly their dream jobs are, but most people know what they want their work to produce. I have known software engineers who wanted to help low income kids, and others who wanted to make games. People do not usually have concrete job titles in mind, and that is okay. As long as you can define what areas of the world you want to impact then you are off to a good start. Whatever the work produces should bring you some sort of fulfillment.

List your talents and passions that apply to the dream job.

Once you know what you want to create through your labor, you should be able to make a list of your talents and passions that could apply to the task. This will help you narrow down what you could do to achieve the end results of the dream job and give you some ideas about how to sell yourself to a potential employer. This exercise could also help you define the dream job in a more specific way.

Estimate an acceptable compensation.

Some people dream of jobs that pay oodles of dough, and others would do the work they love for free. This is completely personal, but it is helpful to be realistic in what amount of money you are willing to accept in exchange for more job satisfaction. If you do not define this criteria up front then it is possible that you may be resentful later on.

Envision your ideal work environment.

Do you want to work outside more? Do you want to travel? Would you like more flexible hours? Write down a list of things that describe what your ideal work environment is and remember it the next time you search for a job. Once you know what you want you could ask questions during interviews and find out if a certain position fits your needs.

Once you clearly define what your dream job is, you could start working towards getting it. I often hear from friends and family that they would rather have another job, but when I ask them what they want to do they would come up with nothing. This is why the first and most important step to finding your dream job is to write down what it really is.

 

Are you working at your dream job? Do you have any tips for finding the dream job?

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
ShareThis

comments

10 discussions

Add New Comment

CAPTCHA
This test helps prevent automated spam submissions.
Guest's picture
Alex

Honestly, there is no "dream job" out there. Because for it to exist someone else Wouk have to be a mind reader, namely, your employer. You have to think about what's important to you, what your passion is and why persuing it would be so rewarding. If you don't enjoy what you are doing, then yes you will b resentful n hate your job n lose whatever creative juices you have n your drive. When you are passionate about something you become creative, innovative, work is no longer dreaded but looked forward to, you feel you have a purpose and if you need to make a certain amount to be comfortable n you are not getting paid that, you will find a way to make the extra money irregardless. When passion is what's fueling your ambition to suceed, the world becomes a blank slate for you to draw your life on on your terms. I have a passion for numbers so I am already living my dream n also teaching personal finance. My passion is for teaching finance to high schoolers, because most people nowadays are not financially informed n make rash decisions based on lack of education. Finance is taught in collge, which you have to pay for, but the majority of us started working while in high school. So if I can reach them before they start working n incur any debt, my duty is done.

Guest's picture

i know not of anyone that works a dream job...never heard of them except those i see in donald trump's show- the apprentice. the only people that i know are living their dreams vis-a-vis their profession are the entrepreneurs that are working at their passions and not a hustle to pay the bills. You see i am from east africa where any type of job is really scarce so a job seeker will have to settle for what they can get. So i really don't think that this article would help a jobless person in a developing country like mine. nice points though :)

Financial Samurai's picture

My dream job is to make money writing from a cruise ship somewhere in the Mediterranean. I'd work 2 hours a day maximum and just go explore the world, one city at a time.

It's always good to dream.

Keigu,

Financial Samurai
"Slicing Through Money's Mysteries"

Guest's picture
accident

A real dream job would be one where you never:
-worked too hard
-stressed out at all
-got bored
-had to worry about money

I'm aiming for Trust-Fund-Baby or Hilton Heiress.

Wish me luck.

Julie Rains's picture

I think this is a great list -- you do need to define first, even if not everything is immediately obtainable. Being able to articulate those dreams helps you to have conversations with bosses, figure out what company or department is best for you, etc.

One thing that is tricky is when your dreams or ideals change, you need to recognize that what you always wanted is different and you have to go in a different direction (perhaps you've tired of worldwide travel now that you have a family, for example) but the same concepts apply.

Guest's picture

People should have to go through this in high school. Determining early on what field you will be happy in means that you can get an early start looking for opportunities and identifying a path that will lead you to your goals. But, of course, interests change and so do people.

Guest's picture
a

Great advice--and another side effect of coming up with your vision is that you start to notice opportunities you might have missed before. (I strongly suggest writing it down because it seems to reinforce it in your mind somehow.)

Earlier in life, I left a job without having something else lined up. I made a list of what I wanted: type of work, salary, how many hours/week, physically where it should be, etc. A few days later, I saw an ad for that exact job. I ended up getting it partly because there was a mistake in the ad (wrong phone number) and I was the only person persistent enough to track down where to find the job contact. Without knowing this was my dream job, I might not have pursued it so passionately. It was a great experience. I stayed until that position was moved to another location after 3.5 years (which I knew it would from the start).

Guest's picture

I always knew what my dream job is but I've never thought about defining the final product of my dream job. That's a good point.

Guest's picture

I DREAM TO BE A SINGER BECAUSE I'M GIFTED IN SOUND IN MUSIC AND CAN SING IN MANY LANGUAGES WITH THE ACCENT. I'M ALSO A LYRICIST IN ENGLISH AND GREEK. MY NATIVE LANGUAGES. I SPEAK SOME ITALIAN AND LEARN WORDS AND PHRASES QUICKLY IN OTHER LANGUAGES, EVEN IN DIFFICULT LANGUAGES LIKE ARABIC.

I DREAM OF BEING A TEACHER IN ESL AND HAVE A CERTIFICATE TO GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TO DO IT. I ENJOY HELPING CHILDREN EXPAND THEIR HORIZONS AND WISH TO BE A PRIVATE TUTOR!! TO WORK FOR SOMEONE IN NY IS IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE EVERYONE WANTS REQUIRES SOME DEGREE SO THAT MAKES ME HAVE TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY TO FIND A JOB WHERE I'M NEEDED THE MOST. I DO HAVE AN ASSOCIATES DEGREE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD HOWEVER!!!

I DREAM OF BEING A DOG WALKER WHERE I CAN GET PAID TO WALK DOGS ALL DAY. FROM 8:30 TO 5. JUST A BREAK FOR LUNCH : ) IF I'M HUNGRY OR A 5 MINUTE BREAK IN BETWEEN. I LOVE ANIMALS AND I LOVE TO WALK!!!!!!!!!! SO THIS MAKES ME HAPPY BECAUSE I CAN DO SOMETHING I LOVE, BE WITH A SPECIES I LOVE AND GET PAID SINCE I'M UNEMPLOYED AND FEEL GREAT I'M DOING SOMETHING RATHER THAN SITTING HOME WORRIED ABOUT WHEN I WILL FIND A FULL TIME JOB.

ANYONE WITH THIS TYPE OF JOB OFFER PLEASE CONTACT ME. I WALK ALL OVER FROM WHERE I LIVE IN EAST ELMHURST 11370-11372 AND ASTORIA 11105. ALL THE WAY UP TO 31ST AVENUE

Guest's picture

Great article!
I am living and working in a job I am thoroughly passionate about. It's helping others transition into more fulfilling careers and relationships. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted. I asked myself questions similar to the ones in your article.

My tip would be, take the time needed to ask yourself important questions about your career. The clarity you gain will make the time spent worth it.
Amy