For those of us who have gone through college, we usually can’t wait to graduate and start our career. But then reality slowly sets in when it dawns on us that all the lofty dreams we had aren’t turning out as expected.
That dream job you thought you would land is hard to come by. Before you know it, the weight of societal expectations becomes too much to bear. So how exactly do you find that elusive dream job? I cannot claim to be an expert, but there are some basic tips I believe will definitely take you one step closer to that dream job.
Have Multiple Dream Jobs
There is nothing as stressful as an unsuccessful job search, just ask anyone. By limiting your search to one or two companies or job positions that you think would be the perfect fit, you are adding the pressure on yourself. Everyone wants to work for the largest and biggest industry players, but other jobs and companies shouldn’t be shunted off to the side and forgotten about. The best move would be to ask yourself what exact attributes you are seeking from that dream job or company. Then consider other similar companies or positions that might fit those attributes, be it salary wise, corporate culture, etc.
Self-knowledge and awareness is a key cornerstone of success. Assess yourself to determine your core values, passions, and how you like to work. You should then look for companies that match the attributes, skills and interests you have. You can use the Web, take appropriate coursework and even visit the company itself. There is nothing as disheartening as landing what you thought was your dream job only to find out that it doesn’t match your skills and passion in life.
Work Your Way Up
A crucial part of yearning for something is figuring out why you want it in the first place. A great career is not a destination, it’s a journey. Don’t look down upon starting from the bottom, proving yourself and working your way up. Perhaps you could work at one job, gain the necessary experience, and then go after that dream job with more work experience. Another idea would be to do a part-time internship in the field that you want, or taking classes or workshops during the weekend.
Don’t Let Lack of Experience Scare You
Consider how your current skills and talents can be used to match your responsibilities in your dream job, and tailor your resume accordingly. In most careers, skills like sales, IT and project management will always be in demand.
Don’t Confuse a Dream Company with a Dream Job
This is something I have personally experienced. Do not mistake the company brand that people see on the outside with the dream career you are looking to have. You may end up totally disappointed when you get a job with your dream company, only to realise that the actual responsibilities have nothing to do with the dream job you had envisioned. If you don’t have a passion for the job, that dream company will turn out to be hell on earth. You are better off landing a dream job with a company that may not be your dream company, but the job is definitely one you are in love with.
Always Make Progress a Priority
Just having a job can make you feel safe, instilling in you a fear of change. Most people would rather endure daily drudgery in an unsatisfying job than make an effort to find meaningful work elsewhere. Find a way of moving closer to your goal by networking or attending events.
There are two aspects to this, namely current students and those grads already working. As a student, start thinking about what you can do to bring you closer to your dream job. Attending classes and getting a degree isn’t enough. Start planning as early as possible on accomplishing things that will make you more marketable to employers. Internships, research and extra-curricular activities can all make a difference.
For those twenty-and thirty-something people who have graduated, you still have the flexibility to try out different careers. It’s better to pursue your passions before you become ensconced in the vagaries of family responsibilities and financial burdens.
Build a Network
A great network can sustain a career. Friends, co-workers, peers, professors and advisors are people who can help you get that dream job, or even help you to discover that you need to change direction. Social media sites can also be helpful in this endeavour. LinkedIn has an alumni tool that you can use.
Networking is sometimes perceived as taking advantage of relationships. As a recent graduate, you will obviously take more than you receive. At the same time, it is not about giving and taking in equal measure but about creating genuine relationships. Mentors in senior level positions won’t really expect any favours from you, so they will help you without expecting anything in return. Remember, when the time finally comes, please pay it forward.
Be Realistic With Your Prospects
When you finally get the job of your dreams, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect job. There will always be ups and downs. The key is learning to ride the waves. As always, there are going to be days when you feel like staying home, and there will be times when the passion and zeal will simply carry you forward no matter what. All in all, anything worth having is worth the extra effort.