Ah, the elusive term … “dream job.” We hear it so often growing up and throughout our careers. So much so that many of us aim our sights on giant lofty goals and then get frustrated and disillusioned when life doesn’t pan out the way we imagined. Is it any surprise that more than 60 percent of U.S. employees are unhappy in their jobs?
In my experience as a coach, I’ve spoken to countless clients who come to me wanting very specific things out of their career. When we finish, their priorities have changed entirely. Now, this isn’t because the original goals weren’t important. On the contrary, they were seemingly very important. But instead, my clients realize that the “dream jobs” they created for themselves were heavily influenced by outside factors like social pressures or wanting to have a very particular public image. Sadly, due to these types of pressures, the error that so many people make when they focus on “finding their dream job” is that they close themselves off to so many wonderful possibilities in life that could make them equally or even more happy.
Here are a few ways you can truly find work that brings you fulfillment, joy and true alignment with your core values.
Figure out what you actually like and don’t like about your job (and your life).
Making difficult decisions can lead to beautiful beginnings. If you’re currently unhappy in your career or certain aspects of your life aren’t where you want them to be, you can find hope in knowing that although change is difficult, with the right strategy and support, it can lead to meaningful changes in your life. Change is difficult, but staying in the same toxic situation is harder. Figure out what you actually like (and don’t like) about your current job. The last thing you want to do is leave a job you hate, only to end up at a company that’s eerily similar in culture and problems.
Take the time to truly audit your current situation and find the true cause of your unhappiness or unfulfillment. Are you unhappy with your company culture? Your manager? Is it the scope of your role and daily work? Have you been focusing too much on company brand vs. values? Are you seeing problematic behavior or are you just bored? Or did you realize that you have absolutely zero interest in commuting ever again?
Key words: Deep dive. These are all things you need to take the time to understand about your situation. This will help you reverse engineer your interview process by asking focused questions on topics that are important to you and will make you more alert to possible red flags.
Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile convey the impact you’ve made.
The job market is more competitive than ever. If you don’t have an immediate network to tap into, you want to make sure you present the best version of your skills and impact. Take the time to focus on making your resume as data driven as possible. Did you increase revenues by 35 percent? Great! It’s no longer enough to just write what you do and hope for the best. Companies want to see the impact you’ve had and replicable strategies for success. Same goes for your LinkedIn profile. Make sure all your information is up-to-date, you have a clear picture, and your content conveys who you are and what you’ve achieved. Think of a product or personal brand you absolutely love. Why do you love this brand? What has it conveyed to you that makes you trust it? Use that same logic when creating your resume, LinkedIn profile, and cover letters.
You don’t need to be the next social media influencer, but growing your LinkedIn network will make finding a job increasingly easier.
A study found that 87 percent of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn. A separate study found that four people are hired via LinkedIn every minute. While networking may seem intimidating, it’s something not enough people are taking advantage of. In fact, effectively building a LinkedIn network is the single best way to get hired for a job without ever having to apply. Yes, you read that correctly. Thousands of people are building meaningful connections on the platform and getting interviews and job offers from decision makers. It’s the best and most efficient way to maximize your job search results.
Work with a professional or have an accountability partner to keep your mind and heart on track.
A great way to make certain you have someone always focused on ensuring you’re hopeful about your career is working with a career coach. A coach will be focused on your transformation. If a career coach isn’t in the budget, find an accountability partner or a friend. Find someone who will help you, listen to your situation, and help guide you back to feeling hopeful and understanding your full potential — especially on the difficult days.
Don’t know where to start? A great free, 90-page career resource can be found here. “The Career Concierge” was designed to provide a clear blueprint to help job seekers find jobs completely on their own.