I talked with two clients recently who were hired to dream jobs. In both cases, the client hesitated before applying for the position. Steve wanted a position in Europe. However, his heart dropped when he saw the requirements: MBA and second language. Steve had a BA and only spoke English. Then he read the position again and felt that no one could be more qualified based on his experience and achievements. He took a chance and was rewarded with his dream job. Mary works in human services as a counselor. She's performed managerial duties, but never held the title of manager. We wrote her resume to emphasize her roles that required leadership and decision making. Again, Mary didn't think she'd get the job. She applied, went through four interviews, and received an offer. If you think you capable of doing a job, don't be afraid to apply. The trick to getting the job is to show how you are qualified. You need to do this in your resume and during interviews. Employers will look beyond their requirements if you show them why you're the right person. Don't be afraid to the chance. That's the only way to find your dream job.
Most people think about career change in terms of finding work that will be meaningful. They want to follow their passion. That’s a great goal, but any career transition needs to start with this question: How much money do I need to earn? Would-be career changers often ignore this question, and they are shocked to learn that their dream career will not pay enough to let them cover their living costs.
Before beginning a career change, you need to research average pay for the field you are seeking to enter. Develop a realistic budget to see if you can cut your costs. After taking these steps, you can decide if a new career path is realistic or just a dream.
I was at a café this morning when I overheard a young lady complaining that she could not find a job. First, she told her friend that to get the job she really wants she has to have a graduate degree. The problem is that she can’t afford to pay for school and doesn’t want to take out loans. Then she said that her language skills hold her back because “every job requires Spanish.” Finally, she talked about finding an ideal job that would only require her to work three or four days a week while paying well. That kind of job would let her go to school while working. If we think hard enough, there is always a reason to fail.
If this young woman doesn’t have money for school, she could work for a few years and save money for tuition. Her claim that all jobs need Spanish-speakers is simply not true. In fact, most jobs don’t require a second language. Her dream job of a high-paying part time job might exist, but they are too few to be a realistic goal.
A good job search and good career management is all about finding ways to succeed. Ask yourself: What can I do today or tomorrow to move forward? What are my strengths? What do I have that employers will pay for? These questions all point toward a better future. That’s the direction we all want to go.
I learned over the weekend that one of my clients has gotten a high profile job. She’s very talented and has strong experience. However, her last few jobs were a bit off the fast track. So how did she grab the brass ring? She had the courage to reach for it. Too often, I hear people give articulate, passionate reasons about why they cannot move forward in their careers. In these cases, the only winner is fear. It takes courage to climb to the career ladder’s top rungs. Congratulations, R.! May many more successes come your way.
If you could wave a magic wand and create a job for yourself, what would it be? There is no magic wand, but computers offer resources that can help us achieve our career goals. Think about what you want to do and what companies offer that type of job. The next step is to hit the keyboard.
Make finding your ideal job something you work on consistently. Learn everything you can about that position: skills required, education, certification, and technical skills. Find profiles of people who are in similar positions. Study their career paths. How did they get to where you want to be? LinkedIn is a great tool to study how successful people got to where they are. Find a good role model and follow that person’s example.
Let the computer be your tool box. Use Word to keep notes and track your progress. Create a favorites file for prospective employers and industry news. Put a profile on LinkedIn and join industry groups that fit your career interests. Use PowerPoint to make a presentation called My Ideal Job. As you progress in your search, update this presentation. Who is the audience? You. This tool is solely meant to help you understand, refine, and reach your goals.
One of the greatest lessons in Richard Nelson Bolles’s book What Color Is Your Parachute is that you can always find your ideal job. However, you have to be realistic about what that ideal job is. Then you have to work hard and work with persistence to get it. Will you get the exact dream job at the exact company that you want? Probably not. Will you find a job that makes you very happy and puts you in a position to manage your career. Absolutely. The first step is to have faith in yourself – and start moving!