How to Find Your Dream Job – No Matter How Old You Are
Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy? These 5 steps to finding your dream job will help you figure out where you’d happily work today, tomorrow, and beyond retirement.
“My dream job is working with animals,” says Kathy on Best Jobs for Introverts and People Who Like to Be Alone. “But I never went to veterinarian school, which is something I regret, but now I work in a vet clinic kennel. I take care of the animals in the background. There is very little interaction with co-workers, which is great, although I would prefer even less interaction. It isn’t the highest paying dream job out there, but I’m willing to give up high pay for a job I love and am able to live on. I was born to work with animals. I value alone time. I live with 6 dogs and a cat, no humans, and it’s heaven.”
It sounds like Kathy found work that comes close to her dream job: she loves working with animals even though she regrets not going to veterinarian school. What about you – do you already have regrets about your educational and vocational choices? That’s okay, it’s never too late for a do-over. Here are my five tips on how to find your dream job…
Picture this: you get up every day so excited to go to work that you don’t even care if you get paid! You love your job so much, you don’t want to take time off. Imagine how fulfilled you’d feel, how meaningful your life could be, how happy and centered your mood and perspective would be.
The good news is that you CAN find your dream job. The bad news is that it often takes time. These five steps that I’ll take you through probably won’t happen this afternoon (though you never know – your dream job might be ripe for plucking off the vine!).
5 Steps to Finding Your Dream Job
These five steps to finding the job of your dreams will help you figure out not only what you want to do with your life, but also how to get there.
Step 1: Start right where you are – and do X, Y, and Z
You are in the perfect place, exactly where you’re supposed to be. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the job right now, searching the internet for “dream jobs” because you’re bored and tired of the work you do. You are in the ideal position because you’ve already weeded out at least one job you don’t want!
I found my dream job: I am a full-time writer. I created the Blossom blog series (formerly “Quips and Tips”), and I earned over $100,000 last year as a blogger. I LOVE my job. Sure, sometimes I get bored and lonely…but I know it’s my dream job because I’ve been doing it for almost eight years and I’ve never held a job longer.
In 10 Ways to Figure Out What to Do With Your Life, I encouraged you to try a variety of different things until you find what works for you. This is a crucial tip on how to find your dream job, especially if you don’t know what you’re passionate about.
X, Y, and Z ways to find your dream job
- Volunteer your time in a variety of capacities, from Big Sisters/Big Brothers to sitting on library committees to picking up trash at the park
- Take college and university classes on subjects you’ve always wondered about
- Find internships through your college or university
- Travel! Go on missions trips overseas, visit friends and relatives in Egypt, join a wine tasting tour through Italy
The more experiences you have and jobs you work at, the closer you’ll get to finding your dream job. Why? Because your experience will help you figure out who you are and what you’re passionate about.
Step 2: Allow your career path to unfold naturally
I never dreamed I could earn a full-time living as a blogger (in 8 Ways I Make Crazy Money With My Blossom Blogs, I explain how). In fact, I still can’t believe it because it’s just so awesome. I work hard – I write every day, and I take my job very, very seriously – but I don’t count it as “work.” I’ve worked almost anywhere you could imagine: chicken factories, schools in Africa, sports bars, nonprofit organizations, governments on small islands in British Columbia, traveling fairs, freelance writing for magazines.
Every job – even the ones I hated, like teaching – led me right here. I found my dream job by actively “trying on” a million different types of jobs until I found the one that fit me like my favorite pair of blue jeans that I found at a thrift store in Croatia.
So what’s your takeaway tip number two on how to find a dream job? Give it time. You are on your way to the perfect job – you just have to stay alert to all the possibilities.
Step 3: Say yes to everything
Back to Kathy, who regrets not going to veterinarian school: she is still saying no to the REAL job of her dreams because she still wants to be a vet. She doesn’t need tips on how to find her dream job because she already knows what it is! But she’s not willing to sacrifice her time, energy, money, or comfort level to pursue what she really wants to do in life.
I have three university degrees, and none of them led to my dream job. And yet…they ALL led to my dream job. My degrees are in Psychology, Education, and Social Work. I have no desire to find a job in any of those fields, though my education allowed me to work as a counselor, grade 8 and high school teacher, and social worker.
What have you said no to? You don’t need a university or college education to find your dream job – but you do need to say YES to any work possibilities that come your way. That’s how you will find your dream job.
Step 4: Create your own dream job
Ah yes, here’s my favorite tip on how to find your dream job! Why? Because this is the stage I’m at now.
I’m writing this article is because I want to level up. I love writing for my Blossom blogs, but I want to go farther. Literally; I want to leave my house, city, and country. I want to travel! My ideal life is to be a gypsy, roaming the world and writing stuff down as I go. I don’t want to be a travel blogger or journalist, though.
This is the dream job I’m creating for myself: I want to be a scribe, a writer for Christian service organizations, churches, and mission groups who do short-term work projects overseas. I want to be the voice that records the experience. I want to go on those trips and write down what happens and share it in blog posts, newsletters, Facebook updates, Tweets, and websites.
I recently went to Haiti on a missions trip through Mission Possible, which I briefly described in How to Find a Career for Introverts. One of our challenges was finding time and energy to blog and update our families and sponsors, yet we all wanted everyone to know how we were doing. Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, if the team had its own blogger?
Step 5: Spread the news that you’re willing to take the job
World, I am available! If you need a writer to accompany your next mission trip or short-term overseas service project, pick me!
Seriously – this is an actual tip on how to find your dream job: contact organizations and PEOPLE (more importantly), and tell them what you offer. This is what I’m planning to do. Here’s a very rough draft of my email:
Dear Project Organizer,
For your next service project to India/Syria/Maui/Russia – which I believe is scheduled for November of this year – have you considered including a writer to document the positive experiences, benefits to sponsors, and highlights of the trip?
My name is Laurie Kienlen; I’m a full-time blogger with eight years of experience freelance writing, marketing on social media, and connecting with readers all over the world. My most recent service project in Haiti showed me that many overseas projects need a “voice.” That is, they need a writer to share their progress and achievements in blog posts, newsletters, company or church bulletins, and on social media sites.
Would you like to learn more about this possibility? I’m happy to speak in person with you, at your convenience.
To learn more about me, please see my attached resume.
How will writing an email like this help you find your dream job? Not only does it help you clarify what your dream job description might be, it sets the intention. It gets the ball rolling. It tells the universe and God and the planets where your heart is and what you want to achieve.
And it just may get you hired.
What to Do Next
Read 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students, even if you aren’t in school. You can’t sit back and expect the good Lord to tell you how to find your dream job; you need to get to work. Earn money. Talk to people. Network.
Tell me what you wanted to be when you were 10 years old. Tailor, tinker, solider, spy? Writer, cobbler, engineer, astronaut? FBI agent, movie star, entrepreneur, CEO? Pilot, archeologist, scuba diver, mycologist? Share your wildest dream job – and how you would spend your ideal day – in the comments section below.
While I can’t offer vocational advice or career counseling or work placement tips, I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your own tips on how to find your dream job. Writing often brings clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings.
Oh – I forgot the most important tip! Talk to God. He created you, He loves you, and He will lead you to the job of your dreams. He may not have a specific exact job for you, but He knows what He built you for and why He put you here.