Lots of people talk about their “dream job”, but you’d be surprised how many people have a very unclear vision of what that actually is. A dream job looks different for pretty much everyone; whether it’s a different aspect of the same industry or a variation on a pre-existing idea, your dream job is absolutely attainable if you follow these six tips. We’ll cover everything from starting out small to clarifying what your vision is to networking with the right people and finding a mentor. If you want to change your life and leave behind the old nine to five, start here.
- Baby Steps
Pursuing your dream job is exciting. It’s understandable to want to stand up at your desk, collect your things, and walk out of the office and pursue your dreams, but let’s rewind for a second. Before you throw in the towel at your old job, you’ll need to set some foundations for your goals, so you’re not building from nothing.
Every good structure starts with a solid foundation, and so should your dream job. You need to take baby steps in the beginning in order to slowly gather the momentum you need to ditch the cubicle. First, identify what your dream job is. Next, identify what skills or knowledge you need to acquire to work in that industry. Then, identify the steps you need to take to make yourself financially secure enough to quit your current job and pursue the dream full-time. Last, always have a backup plan.
always have a backup plan
You’ll likely run into snags and obstacles along the way, so having a backup plan is a must. You don’t want to be left with no income or a broken spirit because something goes wrong! Plan for the unexpected and handle it with grace whenever possible. This will keep your spirits up and your wallet full!
- Don’t Stop Learning
Whether your dream job requires you to acquire specific knowledge or not, you should never stop learning. The more knowledge you obtain, the more well-rounded you will be. If you want to be the best in your field, you must always be learning new techniques and information related to the field. If you’re jumping into a completely new field, lack of knowledge will sink your ship before it ever sets sail.
Knowledge doesn’t necessarily need to come from a college classroom, either. While this may be a bit controversial, it’s still the truth; you don’t need a college education to become well-versed in something. That being said, you obviously can’t just go perform heart surgery without a degree in medicine. While college is certainly an important part of the journey for some, it isn’t for everyone and isn’t necessary for every job or field.
Choosing to go back to college is a big decision, especially with the cost of education continuously rising. In fact, the cost of tuition on a national level has risen almost 213 percent since 1987/88. Where the average then was around $3,190 for a four-year institution, now it sits at about $9,970 as of 2017/18. Going back to college is a serious financial decision, and not one that should be made lightly.
- Plan for Your Future
Without a plan in place, you’re probably going to have a lot more trouble reaching your dream job than you would have otherwise. A blueprint is necessary for any good structure, just as much as a foundation is. Figure out how to define ambition for yourself. What will drive you to your dream job? How will you get there? What sacrifices must you make and what are you willing to make?
It’s often helpful to write these things down rather than just think about them, as writing can actually help you understand things more. You’ll be able to see a timeline of your journey laid out before you, and can identify problems along the way or adjustments that need to be made before you begin. Setting off with a plan is always preferable to just winging it!
- Clarify What the “Dream Job” Looks Like
Clarity is one of your greatest allies in the journey. Clarify what the dream job looks like. Be specific. What would you do on a daily basis? What’s your role in the business or company? Who would you hire? What’s the ultimate goal of this job? The more clear you are, the better you’ll be able to navigate toward the goal.
Networking is crucial to reaching your dream job. Get involved with people who are in the field, or who have skills that could benefit your pursuit later on. Remember that nothing is given and everything is earned, and using people is not the same as networking. You should always network with the intent of building a professional relationship rather than with the intent to use that person or their skills as a means to an end.
Networking is incredibly simple with today’s technology. Sites like LinkedIn can help you find professionals in your area that you can network with, and there are always seminars, classes, or meetings that you can attend to meet new people.
- Find Someone Who’s Already Doing It
One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself when pursuing your dream job is finding a mentor; someone who’s already doing what you want to do that can guide you along your path. They’ll be able to offer you invaluable wisdom and advice on the journey, the end goal, and the job itself. Having this information available to you can help you avoid costly mistakes and setbacks and push you toward your dream job that much faster.