As children, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” was a question referencing an era so far into the future, the options were endless and seemingly all attainable. Becoming a princess was just as realistic as becoming a veterinarian, and becoming president no more complicated than being a lawyer. As years pass, and the era of joining the workforce becomes a distant reality rather than an unapproachable dream, the “dream jobs” to choose from slowly start to lose their sparkle and intrigue. All of a sudden, becoming a popstar is no longer a viable option. However, as the career paths appear to diminish, they increase tenfold.
Despite amassing even more answers to the harrowing “dream-job” question, picking the correct answer becomes more difficult. With so many career paths, positions, and industries to choose from, the mass of choices can blur the lines of what your career passion truly is.
For me, the obscuration of career paths sent me into a panic. I began to click through extensive amounts of job postings, covering all sorts of industries and positions, checking if my qualifications matched their desires, all in hope to find my next dream job. However, I soon realized that if I wanted the job to be my dream job, I should be looking for a job that fits me, not trying to fit the job.
To rediscover your dream job, the four main steps of career development are effective assets and skills to build, helping you efficiently explore as many options as possible that are best apt to fit you. The first (and in my opinion, the most important) step is getting to know and understand yourself. This encompasses forming a list of your own strengths, both technical and behavioral — weaknesses can be overcome, do not focus or get caught up with them! Your strengths are your biggest qualifiers. Create another list of interests you have, both professional and personal — these will help you narrow down and select intriguing industries. Your final list should include your values. These may be moral, career, or personal values; all of which help one target companies and positions they can be passionate about. After forming your lists, use them as a guide for your career option search. Look for companies with similar values and align with your interests. Additionally, discover positions that allow you to utilize your strengths. While exploring your options, keep in mind current industry trends. What is in high demand? What is up-and-coming?
Next, it’s time to hone in on some of the outcomes of your job exploration. The best way to achieve goals is by setting them in the first place. Set goals that apply to the positions and companies from your previous research, and write them down. Then, write down the steps you plan to take to achieve those goals. Be as specific and detailed as possible, this will help you stay on track, and leave little room for procrastination.
The final step of career development is taking action, and turning your written goals and plans into reality. Whether it’s applying directly to jobs, or programs to help you get those jobs, networking is your most important asset. Reach out via LinkedIn, email, or other forms of professional social media to get in touch with future employers, educators, and mentors.
The combination of all four steps of career development allows you to narrow down and pinpoint your new dream job by combining your passions and skills with action and goals. Once again, you will find yourself able to answer “what do you want to be when you grow up?” with ease and without hesitation.