The term “dream job” is an expression we hear all of the time at Craft Beverage Jobs. In fact, we use it ourselves when we see a job listing we know is a gem of an opportunity. But what is a dream job? What does it mean? And more important, how can you get one?
The expression is most subjective. Everyone’s idea of a “dream job” will be unique to their passions, needs and goals. Although unique to the individual, there will be two details common to most descriptions of a dream job: a dream job is doing something you love to do and it’s a job that supports the lifestyle you choose to have.
So if it’s that simple, why can’t more people find their dream job? For some, they may be in the right industry, but in the wrong position. Others may feel locked into a career choice because of their education or career history. And let’s face it, what is important to you in your 20’s will likely change big time by the time you reach your 40’s.
The idea that there is a dream job out there waiting for you (and if you just find it life would be great) isn’t a healthy approach to fulfilling employment. The problem isn’t in finding the job, but having clarity about what type of work will make you happy. To help you focus on the work, let’s use another term. Instead of searching for a dream job, let’s begin to focus on finding meaningful work.
Trade Your ‘Dream Job’ For Meaningful Work
Meaningful work? What is this meaningful work you speak of? The term meaningful work helps us focus on what makes a job a dream job. In her book Apply Yourself, A Manual For Finding Meaningful Work, Cindy Molchany gives five tenets that describe meaningful work:
- A job that has alignment with your interests and desires
- A job that plays on your strengths and talents
- A job that offers you sustainable income
- A job that challenges you in positive ways
- A job that offers growth potential
Does this sound like what you’re looking for? Are these objectives part of your definition of a “dream job”? Merging these goals into your job search will not only give you clarity but confidence in the job opportunities out there.
Now that you know what to look for, how do you discover the types of jobs that fulfill your goal for meaningful work? In other words, you need clarity about your career path. This clarity comes in two forms; precisely calculating your present situation and clearly defining your goals for the future. The more clarity you have about exactly what it is you want, the more confidence you will have in accomplishing your goal to find meaningful work.
How To Find Meaningful Work
Easy right? Well, maybe easy to say but not always easy to do. Cindy shares a great exercise to help job seekers understand what they are looking for. First, you’ll need a pen and paper (you can find all these exercises, more explanation, and a worksheet in the book, Apply Yourself).
Ask yourself the following questions and write the answers down on your paper:
- Without thinking about what the company does, what type of company would you like to work for? Cindy offers the following examples:
- I like companies that have a commitment to protecting the environment
- I like companies that prioritize employee retention via ping pong breaks and free lunch
- What is the company culture? In other words, what defines the company’s personality, the environment of the workplace? Perhaps you’re looking for casual, pet friendly, or strictly corporate.
- What specific values would you like the company you work for to possess? A specific value may be continued education opportunities for employees, or involvement in community charities and organizations.
- Now, with the answers to these questions, can you list 5 different companies that fit what you’re looking for? Cindy states, it’s OK if these companies are not necessarily where you see yourself working, you’re just creating a company profile to work off of.
- Next, make a list of industries that you would love to work in and why?
- List 5 different job titles that interest you.
- Find 2 Job Descriptions for each of the job titles you listed above. Ask the following questions for each:
- What about the job description attracts you the most?
- What would you do well if given this job?
- What skills or experience do you not possess that are listed as required?
- What duties or responsibilities listed in the job description turn you off? (Is it a deal breaker?)
- If you succeed in this role, and either stick it out for 5 years or get promoted to the next level of advancement, could you be earning your desired salary?
- What type of education and/or experience do you need to get in order to be seriously considered a candidate for this job?
Are things becoming more clear for you now? Dream jobs ARE possible, but your approach to finding one may need some tweaking. Focusing on meaningful work that fulfills both your passion and ambitions is the surest way for success in the job market.
For more helpful information on finding meaningful work, sign up for our free Apply & Get Noticed email course.
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