Don’t Wait For Your Perfect Job, Build It For Yourself

It’s no question that we all want a job we love, but finding a dream job is not an easy task. Many of us are unpleasantly surprised when we don’t magically fall into our dream job when we finish university. That’s because we’re often looking at job searching in the wrong way.

The journey to finding our dream job is never going to be a direct and clear one. Your dream job lives at the end of a path that weaves, with many forks in the road; and the directions are not certain when you step on the pathway. It’s a path that becomes clearer the further you walk down and there are multiple paths you can take to reach the end.

It’s not about waiting for the right job to find you, it’s about building the pathway to get there. Here are some of the key things to do as you travel down this path, to build a career to land you the dream job.

1. Be patient and build slowly

To find a job you’re passionate about, be patient with the process. Finding your dream job doesn’t happen overnight. It takes commitment and resilience, and keeping your mind open to uncovering the different paths you can take to get there.

Remember that your passion might not directly translate into a job. If you love music, that doesn’t mean that your only possible career path is being a musician. There are many different ways you can work in the music industry with jobs that you might not even know exist yet.

Once you know the industry you want to work in and the things you are passionate about, be open to the long pathway that will lead you to your end goal. Have faith that as long as you are patient and willing to uncover opportunities as you see them, you will find the way.

2. Put your hand up

Annelie De Villiers is a Research Archivist and PhD candidate who can’t believe she gets paid to wake up everyday to read, research and write. She strongly believes that your career is something you design yourself.

“People are always willing to give you the guidance you need.”

“You’ll be amazed at what happens when you think to yourself, ‘I’m not qualified for this, but I’ll put my hand up anyway’,” she says. “You’ll be surprised at how many people will take you up on it.”

Annelie became a review editor for an academic journal at 25. When she heard that the journal was looking for a volunteer, she put her hand up to express interest, and was taken aback when she was offered the position.

“People are always willing to give you the guidance you need to learn when they see that you’re passionate and happy to put in the time,” says Annelie.

Putting your hand up when opportunities arise is the perfect way to expand your CV, increase your skills and even build your networks on the way. Keep an eye out for opportunities and, even if you’re not sure if you’re ready, say yes anyway. Challenge yourself – what have you got to lose?

3. Get involved with professional associations

Find the different societies and groups in your industry and get involved. You might think that these groups are for people who are already established in that field, but they are also for those looking to enter the industry.

“Get involved in something you’re interested in and if you’re doing work you like, you are more likely to enjoy and be motivated to give up your time.”

Marlene Millott is a Communications Officer at Monash University and credits her prospects to the work she did with associations in the past.

“I volunteered at the Australia Institute of International Affairs to gain experience in social media and communications,” she says. “Without joining this organisation, I wouldn’t have gained the skills that made me more employable. Get involved in something you’re interested in and if you’re doing work you like, you are more likely to enjoy and be motivated to give up your time.”

Join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, subscribe to mailing lists. These associations are more than often looking to expand, and you might be among the types of people they’re looking for. It’s another great way to network, too.

4. Learn about the pathways already taken

There’s nothing better than a good old LinkedIn stalk to see the path that someone else has taken to get your dream job or a similar job in your industry. Although it might feel a bit creepy, don’t feel bad about looking at other professionals’ pathways. This is part of the purpose of LinkedIn.

This presents an opportunity for you to get new ideas on how to pave your pathway and have a clearer sense of direction. Don’t be afraid to ask people in your industry how they got to their dream job, too. They’ll be flattered that you asked and, usually, more than happy to help.

Be optimistic as you walk your career path. The more you focus on building the pathway, rather than seeking the destination, the easier it will be to find your dream job. And don’t forget to enjoy the journey on the way.

And remember, pay isn’t the only consideration you should make when choosing a job or career path.

Sam is a freelance writer passionate about sub-cultures, oddballs of the world and music. She runs a Melbourne music website and writers banter for VICE, The LAD Bible, and other websites. You can find her on Twitter at @hamsoward.