How to Find Your Dream Career

Three Parts:Analyzing Your AmbitionsSetting Up for SuccessLanding the Job

When you were little, people probably asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Maybe you said a doctor, or an astronaut. Maybe you said an actor, or a lawyer, or a doctor. With starry eyes, you dreamed of the day you would live in a rich mansion, with maids and butlers. Then, a career seemed like something that would happen a lifetime away. But now that the time has come to choose, your interests have probably changed. Finding the right career for you can be difficult, but not impossible.

Part 1
Analyzing Your Ambitions

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    Ask yourself the key question. The respected philosopher Alan Watts said that the best way to find what you should be doing with your life was to ask yourself this important question: "What would you do if money were no object?" What if you won the lottery and you could do whatever you wanted to do with your life? Sure, you'd want to relax for a while, but eventually you're going to get bored. So what would you do to make yourself really, truly happy?
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    Break your dream job down into its most basic components. Take whatever activity or job you discovered in the previous step and break it down into its most basic parts. If you were explaining the job to a 3-year-old, how would you describe it? If that child asked you what was fun about it or how it made someone feel when they did it, what would you say? These basic components make up what you should be looking for in a career.
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    Think about what it really is that makes you happy. Think about the basic components of that career experience and decide which are the aspects that pull you.[1] Realize what attracts you to that career. Do you find happiness in making other people happy? Are you more attracted to the art of acting and the process of creating the work of art that is a film?
    • You can do this for your current job as well, not just a theoretical dream job. If there's something about your job that you do now, factor that in as well.
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    Look into what jobs provide similar feelings and experiences. Look for jobs that mimic the feelings that you're looking for from that career. For example, if you were a millionaire and would rather travel, jobs which mirror the experience you have would be a tour guide, a teacher abroad, or a flight attendant position. If you would rather spend all day outdoors in nature, you could consider a job as a geologist, lumberjack, wilderness guide, or park ranger.
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    Consider the upsides and downside of that career. When you consider these more-attainable careers, make sure to do your research. Be well acquainted with what life looks like in that career path. You will need to know what the downsides of those jobs are if you want to make an informed decision.
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    Factor in your financial needs. If you're really in a job that fulfills you and makes you happy, getting rich off of it really won't matter to you. However, life is full of obligations that go beyond your happiness. If your dream career can't help feed your family or pay your student loans, you might need to look into other options. However, you should always keep your focus on jobs that provide similar feelings to what makes you happy.
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    Factor in what you're good at. Do you have an area where you really excel? Not just something that you do okay but something where you do it better than most people that you meet? This is something that you should factor in when looking for a career. You may not think that you enjoy it too much, but the fact of the matter is that you often won't get good at something unless you enjoy it on at least a certain level. You may be able to monetize your skill, or even home in on the aspect of it that you enjoy so much (for guidance).
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    Analyze your hobbies. Many hobbies can be monetized. This often means starting a small business and the headaches that come with it, but you may end up with a career that you really enjoy. Before you dismiss your hobby as being something that you could never make money off of, do some searching on the internet. You may be surprised.
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    Take an online job test. If you feel really lost and none of these tricks help you, consider taking an online job test or going in to a local career center to get some advice from professionals. Good online tests can be found easily, but many of the best require a small fee.

Part 2
Setting Up for Success

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    Look at listings for that career. Before seriously looking for that job, do a basic search for open positions. It doesn't matter what city they're in (so long as they're in your country or open to members of your citizenship level). Look at what the requirements are. What do the basic requirements seem to be? You want to make it your goal to meet and possibly exceed those requirements.
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    Talk to professionals in that path. Locate some people that do what you want to be doing. You should also get in touch with the people who would be in charge of hiring for that position. Talk to both and ask them for details that aren't in the jobs listings. What skills and qualities are most important? You want to put these on your checklist too.
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    Look at your education options. Go down your list and figure out if it's feasible to meet these requirements. You'll probably need some more education (this is to be expected), but don't feel like this limits you. There are many government programs available to help people get the education they need for a job, especially if that job is in demand. You can also find scholarships, internships, and apprenticeships to get the skills you need.
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    Work on getting your resume bulked up. In the mean time, do some volunteer work and other jobs which show you building the skills you need for your dream job. Look for positions in the same industry, or even volunteer positions that get you working in that position directly. Even if the experience is more abstract (working at a store to build customer service experience), this can help in the long run and help you get funds to get a better education.
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    Make friends in the right places. You don't need to go to some Ivy League or join a secret organization. Just meet people connected to that field and get to know them (and let them get to know you). You can volunteer with their organizations, go to conferences in that field, and even just go to a job fair to meet people. Just make sure that you're making a good impression and that they're definitely going to recognize your name.[2]
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    Try the job on for size. Do an internship, a job shadow, or volunteer in order to see what that career path really looks like on a day-to-day basis. This will help you make sure that you're not romanticizing the job and that you will actually like it. It will also help you meet people who can help you and help you gain vital skills in the field.

Part 3
Landing the Job

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    Take initiative. Of course, everything that you've been doing if you follow the previous steps is technically taking initiative. Just make sure that you never stop. You need to pursue your dreams and you need to take an active role in making them come true. If things don't go your way, pick yourself up and try again. Find new routes. Do whatever you have to do to make it work.
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    Be willing to work your way up. You don't go from below the food chain to the top in one or two years. Realize that getting your dream job might take a while and a couple of intermediate steps. It's worth it though: you'll get there eventually and you'll have earned it.
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    Find places to apply. Going to job fairs or searching the internet and papers are the basic routes to finding a job. But don't forget that you can also go to companies directly. Figure out who you want to work for and keep an eye on their "jobs" portion of their website. You can even contact the company directly and ask if they take resumes.
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    Get good references. Your resume should be looking great if you followed the earlier advice, but don't forget about building good references. Don't list jobs that had very little to do with what you're trying to do now. Definitely avoid listing people who had problems with you. Always make sure that you call and ask people not just if they can be listed as a reference, but if they feel that they can give you a good reference.
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    Ace your interview. Once you land an interview, you want to be sure that you show them just how incredible you're going to be once they hire you. Dress for success and go in prepared. Look at common interview questions and think about what you would say. You should also think of some questions which show them that you're going to take this job seriously.


  • Be genuine and nice with people. You'll impress all the people who matter.
  • Write a list of all the jobs your interested in, then think what you would be best at.


  • Treat your resume like it has value. While you want to send your resume to people who can positively influence your job search, you don't want to plaster it on every job board and give people the impression you can't get hired.

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