Molly Jones, Executive Director
Once you have your eyes set on something, it can be hard to focus on anything else. A dream job is no exception. Maybe it is something you have wanted to do since you were a little kid. Maybe it is something you discovered during your college years. Maybe it is something you never thought you would do, but you got your foot in the door and now you are more determined than ever to accomplish huge goals in that field. The fun thing is, you may have multiple “dream jobs” and those may change as you do! There are no rules. You can do it all.
HOWEVER, not many people get there right out of high school or college. You often have to “climb the ladder” sort of speak, whether that is an entrepreneurial ladder, non-profit ladder, or corporate ladder. It takes time, but good things cannot be rushed. Here are some tips on how to end up at your dream job!
Determine what your goal is and make a map to it.
If you know your dream job requires you to have a large network, start building that now. If you know your dream job requires a certain set of skills, start taking it upon yourself to get more educated in those areas. If you are lucky enough to work closely to the position you someday wish to have, pay attention! What does the day-to-day life of that professional look like? Who does that person work closely with? What types of tasks is that person asked to perform and what projects are they asked to manage? Start to visualize yourself in your dream job and gear your next steps toward it. Get out a pen and paper and literally draw a map to your dream job. Put down everything you know you need to do along the way, even if some of those things intimidate you or push you outside of your comfort zone. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Clearly communicate your goals.
Identify the people who will help you reach your goals and clearly communicate those goals to them. It can be scary to vocalize your hopes and dreams regarding your career, but no one will know how to help you if you do not communicate. If you want to move up internally, go to your supervisor and ask them how you can get more involved in the organization or company. Tell them (and show them) that you are eager for opportunity! If you are looking for a change, set a meeting with someone in the field you wish to be in. Form a genuine, working relationship and ask them to help you get your foot in the door. If you want to be known as a “go-getter”, you need to let people know you have goals and a solid plan to achieve them.
You will not get everything you need to further your career between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. You must make a point to add in professional and personal development on your own time. An easy way to do this is to multitask by filling mindless chores or moments of quiet routine with valuable content. Listen to a podcast while you exercise, walk your dog, clean your kitchen, or get ready for bed. Instead of sitting down to watch Netflix while waiting for a load of laundry to dry, pick up a book and dive into a couple chapters. By selecting one or two tasks a week to fill with valuable content, you are taking far better advantage of your time and becoming a stronger, well-rounded person and professional.
People will stop bringing opportunities to you if you continuously blow them off and it is hard to get back on someone’s radar after they have determined you are not interested in growing. You should aim to be the first person people think of when they say, “Who would be a great candidate for (dream job)?”
To do this, you need to say, “yes!” Open your world to opportunity. It might mean that you can’t go out for drinks with the squad every Thursday. It might mean waking up a little earlier and staying a little late. However, if you want to be the one who stands out in the crowd, you have to be willing to go above and beyond. Remember: you are not the only one with a college degree and terms like, “self-motivated” and “team player” and “eager to grow” on their resume. You’re gonna have to “wow” them.
Push through the nerves and go for it!
Even with all the time you spent thoughtfully preparing for your dream job, when the time comes to apply you might all of a sudden feel like you are not ready. That feeling is normal and is often referred to as “Impostor Syndrome.”
According to Wikipedia, Impostor Syndrome is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
There are many ways to combat this feeling but I have found the best way to get through it is to simply, get through it! Apply anyway. Once you get the job (because you totally will), Impostor Syndrome does not just go away. By keeping your foot on the throttle and focusing on doing the best you can, Impostor Syndrome will become a distant whisper instead of a YELL IN YOUR FACE type of thing.
Congratulations! You got your dream job. Or at least you are actively working towards it and that certainly counts for something. Take a deep breath and know that the right opportunity will show up for you and when it does, you are going to be more than ready.