8 Steps To Get You Closer To Your Dream Job
As I’ve swung from menial job to the next mind numbing position, I’ve often wondered when I’d get that big break. When would someone notice the sparkly Christmas tree-worthy lights that illuminated my value? When would fate pluck me from my indecision and plonk me inside that Google office with ping pong tables, slides and rock climbing walls?
And then I realised; no one’s going to plonk me anywhere, fairy lights or not. (Not to mention that working at Google isn’t in fact my dream job, I just thought it should be.) It dawned on me I was going to have to do some of the groundwork myself. Damn it.
Enter Career Coach and Founder of Sweetspotter Coaching, Jacquie Hoyes and career expert, Sarah Landrum from Punched Clocks to share their tips to help us all snag that dream job.
“Here’s the thing,” Jacquie says, “A dream job is different for everyone. Ultimately it’s discovering that place where what’s in your hand collides with what’s in your heart. I call it the sweet spot.”
Whether your ultimate goal is reviewing luxurious accommodation around the world or becoming the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, the path to get there has similar steps.
“Sometimes you just need to get out of the lane you’re in and makes some small changes,” she says. “Finding fresh perspectives and new visions are key to steering our lives into new directions.”
Here are 8 key steps to get closer to your dreams.
#1 Find a career coach or a mentor
“We all need a savvy sounding board to encourage us when we’re contemplating our options,” Jacquie says. “Think of a career coach as a Switzerland – neutral and an objective voice to help you discover your potential.”
#2 TED talks
If you’ve lost your creative spark and at a career standstill, Sarah suggests that a good binge on TED talks could help ignite the flame. So get listening to people who inspire you. Take notes, investigate and see what intrigues you.
#3 Keep learning
You can never know too much. It doesn’t matter if your learning doesn’t correlate directly with that dream job – all learning helps to figure out what your passions, dislikes and strengths are.
“Work out if you’re a reading learner or a listening learner and experiment with different learning opportunities available to you,” Jacquie suggests. She even did a TV presenting course to refine her public speaking and a criminal profiling course to understand unhelpful behaviours in the workplace –anything goes when you’re expanding your knowledge base.
#4 Organisation and updates
Being organised keeps you proactive in your search. When was the last time you updated your contacts list or your resume?
Sarah suggests spring cleaning a few areas in particular. “To grow your networking field, you need to know who your contacts already are, so create a spreadsheet for them and add as you go. Update your subscriptions to newsletters and publications, making sure you actually read the material and actively talk about a topic of interest with someone in the field,” she says.
All those emails you haven’t chased up, phone calls you never made or coffee dates you haven’t planned also need to be revisited. “This will get you in the habit of checking back in — you never know what opportunity someone has for you later,” Sarah says.
#5 Understand yourself and ask questions
Everyone has different goals and desires, so it’s up to you to probe into what they are. Understanding how you’re wired is hugely beneficial according to Jacquie. Sometimes you might find you need a bit of deprogramming from what you think you’re designed for, too. (My Google aspiration is case in point.)
“Some people want to leave a legacy behind in the industry, some place value on educating others. What do you want? What drives you? Evaluating ‘drivers’ and values is one of the first steps necessary to accomplishing your dream job,” Jacquie advises.
#6 Social media as a tool
You may be thinking how a photo sharing site like Instagram can get you closer to your goal. Well, the answer is through networking and finding likeminded people to discuss and connect with. Jacquie finds Twitter particularly beneficial, especially for news and current affairs.
Sarah suggests being proactive. “Follow 5 new professionals on Twitter, three inside your industry and 2 outside. They must all inspire you somehow.”
For me, LinkedIn has helped tremendously with connections. I started searching random job titles to see what they entailed and then simply asked people advice on how they got there. There’s a real sense of community with people who care about your direction. It’s also an easy way to connect with those big CEOs or inspiring people that are otherwise hard to pin down.
And as Jacquie says, “it’s an online virtual shopfront to your career.”
#8 Networking – the good old fashioned way
As much as social media can help in the dream job quest, there’s nothing quite like old fashioned networking according to Jacquie. You know, face to face stuff; as in actual talking. And with a staggering 80% of jobseekers finding their next role through this method as opposed to 20% online, it’s time to get personal!
“Pick up the phone and shout someone a coffee. Have a chat with smart, helpful people and above all, value that network. Nurture those friends from school, university, and workplaces over the years. If you value people first, then opportunities will come,” Jacquie tells us.
Along with these vital tips to get you closer to what you love and want to do, Jacquie reminds us that it’s not so much the dream job that says you’ve made it. It’s important to look at it as a dream path where you’re en route to a great destination.
“Yes, resilience, patience and professional persistence go a long way but your character and who you become through the process is just as, if not more important than the title and the pay packet. Getting what you want isn’t the hard bit, it’s knowing what you want and the more you put into your treasure hunt, the more the unknown becomes the known.”
A published freelance writer from print to online, Katy’s passion is honest authentic writing. From the mundane experience to a sensational observation, Katy always finds a way to voice what she sees. Relatable and quirky, she writes with warmth and familiarity. She also loves lists, matching socks and edamame beans. You can find her on Twitter @whatktdidnextfw and Facebook.