How to Find the Job You Really Want

Business Professional Thinking

Finding your dream job sounds like just that — the dream. But whether it’s with the company you’ve always wanted to work for or the position that you’ve coveted for years, actually landing that job you’ve been dreaming about takes hard work, dedication and some introspection.

No matter what stage of your career you’re in, it’s important to regularly check in with yourself. Are you happy in your position? Do you like your current company? Are you fulfilled in your role? Where do you see yourself next?

These questions can help you start to pinpoint what your dream job really is. Yes, you may think you know (and you might) but asking yourself these types of questions can’t hurt.

Here we outline how to figure out what your dream job is and how to find it among the hundreds of job listings out there.

Take Stock

Actively reflecting on how you feel in your current position is step one. What do you like about your role? What do you dislike? Think about the pros and cons of working at your company, too. Then go back a bit further and consider the positives and negatives from previous roles and employers. Thinking about your past and current work experiences can provide clues to where you’d thrive moving forward. Maybe you love the creative part of your role but not the analytical. Or love to talk to people and don’t do well when you’re in front of a computer all day.

Take a moment to reflect even if you think this is obvious. It’s possible what you thought your ideal role was a year or even a few months ago could have changed due to new opportunities or experiences.

Write It Down

Once you’ve completed your reflection, jot down notes on your thoughts. Yes, take out an actual piece of paper and a pen and make an old fashioned pro and con list. Actually visualizing something can go a long way to truly understanding what you’re looking for — something may pop up a few times and you only realize it once you’ve seen it on paper.

For example, maybe you always thought you wanted to work at a big, corporate company but in your pro column, you value small teams and a relatively flat reporting structure.

If you’re not quite ready to leave your current position, it’s still worth making your list. Add to it as you think of or experience things in your role so when you are ready to make a move you’ve done a good amount of the leg work already.

Find the Themes

Now that you have a better idea of what you’re really looking for, pick out some of the key themes in your pro and con list. If you value volunteer opportunities, you probably want a company that has some sort of corporate responsibility group. Whereas if flexible hours are important to you, then maybe a startup is more your speed. Basically, you need to take your specific pros and cons and distill them into what they actually mean when it comes to the corporate world. Write this down too you have it in front of you for the next step.

Start the Search

At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for in a dream job. Now you just have to find that perfect company or position. As you read through job listing after job listing, start to dissect what they are actually saying and compare it to your list of what you want. Learning to read between the lines will help you get a much better idea of what the role entails. For example, words like lead, manage or direct likely mean you will be leading projects, whereas words like entrepreneurial or self-starter are a good sign that they don’t micromanage their employees.

Don’t get discouraged at this stage. It could take weeding through a lot of listing in order to find ones that you actually want to apply to. And even then, it takes researching the company to get even more clues into whether it would be a good fit.

But having a good idea of what your dream job actually is before you start looking for a new job saves you from crafting job applications and taking interviews for positions you ultimately aren’t interested in. Yes, you have to do a bit more work upfront, but when you sit down at your desk on the first day at your dream company it’ll be more than worth it.

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