What’s a “dream” job? The answer varies from person to person. But one thing most definitions have in common is the job isn’t real yet. Maybe a better question is, “How do I get one?”
While everyone’s path is different, the following steps can help anyone:
- Search for in-demand, high-growth careers.
- Evaluate your current interests and skills, both “hard” and “soft.”
- Determine which careers best match your interests and skills.
- Develop a long-term plan based on requirements for advancement.
- Reach out and ask for help along the way.
Sounds simple enough, but how do you go through each part of the process? Let’s take it step by step.
Step 1: Search
Not all jobs are equal. The fact that you’re here now indicates you are looking for something better. Right now, you have a great opportunity to set yourself up for long-term success by choosing a pathway into a career that offers the best prospects for your growth.
But what are the best careers to look into?
Start with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) recent job growth projections for each occupation and industry between now and 2026. It’s a lot of information to sort through, but the trends outlined in their reports are a great source of information about what careers are taking off. Of note:
Construction trades jobs, installation, maintenance and repair workers, architects, civil engineering jobs and office administrative support jobs are also on the rise. For more information, browse the full BLS report
Step 2: Evaluate
Now that you’ve considered where you might want to go, take a look at yourself. You’ve developed interests, skills and experience that make you unique. Before you pursue your dream job, figure out what you’re passionate about, what you’re good at.
- Interests. What do you care about? “Making more money” might be one of your life’s goals, but simply looking for the highest-paying jobs might leave you feeling unfulfilled. Take all of your goals into account. Take advantage of this chance to move towards a happier professional life.
- Skills. Employers tend to think in terms of two different kinds of skills: “hard” skills that involve technical expertise and “soft skills” — like being a people person, or the ability to self-motivate. If you’re looking for a new career path, you might lack the “hard” skills, but you can learn them. But remember soft skills are also important, sometimes more important, to hiring managers.
- Experience. Everybody’s got some experience. Maybe not in a specific job or industry, but there’s always something in your past you can build on. Some aspect of your life could be the key to successfully transferring to a new industry.
Step 3: Determine
Now that you have a list of in-demand careers as well as your own unique interests and skills, it’s time to determine the best matches between them. Much depends on where you are now.
- Customer Service Industry: Retail or hospitality clerks, or those with restaurant or bar experience might find a natural fit in a new industry through customer service, office support positions and receptionist jobs, or other public-facing positions that offer a crucial foot-in-the-door opportunity.
- Family or Child Care: If you’ve spent time outside of the workforce taking care of family members, or have experience as a nanny or other caregiver, you may be able to leverage your nurturing tendencies to pursue opportunities in healthcare and hospital jobs.
- Military Veteran: Depending on the details of your service, you may have an advantage in skilled and technical trades such as mechanic or welding jobs. Veterans are viewed as motivated, easily trained, safety-conscious and disciplined employees in any field, especially those that involve physical labor.
- Extended Leave: Life intervenes in many ways, and if you’ve found yourself without a job, for whatever reason, know that you can still contribute. There are many positions available that don’t require much prior experience or technical expertise. You can often differentiate yourself and advance quickly by having a positive attitude, showing up early, staying late and being polite. Warehouse jobs are a good first step into other positions.
Step 4: Develop
You’re almost there — you’ve got a clear direction based on the best opportunities and your own personal blend of interests, skills and experiences. Now build an action plan.
- Think Long-Term. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your career won’t be either. Sometimes it’s necessary to start with an entry-level position or part time job that will allow you to build knowledge and experience in your desired field. That’s okay. As long as you have a long-term goal, use your first opportunity as a stepping stone.
- Look into Training, Certification and Education Options. Do some jobs in your targeted industry offer on-the-job training that will serve you well down the line? Can a particular certification help you earn more when you start out? Does your ideal field have certain education requirements, even for entry-level positions, and if so, how can you build experience in a related field while working towards them? Answering and addressing these questions now will have a big impact on your future growth.
- Be Prepared. During your job search, tailor your resume and application materials to highlight your most marketable skills, and get ready to answer the interview questions you’re most likely to be asked.
Step 5: Reach out
Remember, you don’t have to do everything alone. Ask for help from your personal and professional network. The advice you get along the way can help you decide which path to a dream job feels right to you.
And keep in mind, there are experts outside your immediate circle who can help you navigate a tricky job environment and build a long-term plan. Just reach out to an Aerotek recruiter to get a head start on the path to your dream job.
If you’re looking for a job, visit our job board to find your next great opportunity. Create a free career account today to customize your search. And consider contacting an expert career advisor: Our recruiters are available to provide advice you can use.