A Dream Job is Still Within Reach! Here Are 3 Ways to Find it

June 17th, 2015 by Gussie Fava

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We’ve all been asked at one time in our young lives: What do you want to be when you grow up? For most of us, the dream of being a cowboy or an astronaut (or for me, a taxi driver) are long gone, but the essence of the question still applies and is an important one. It’s also empowering. It implies that the decision is up to you, and all you need to do is pick something and go after it.

Although it might not be as simple as that, you do have this kind of power when choosing the company that is right for you.

As a new college graduate or a young adult looking for a job change, there are a lot of possibilities, and the job search might even seem overwhelming. Where do you begin? I am neither a young adult looking for a job change nor a new college graduate, but there are a lot of things I wish someone had told me when I was one. Primarily, that if you break down your interests and work habits, you’ll be much more equipped to recognize your dream job when you see the description.

Hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful during your job search.

Tip #1: Figure out what you’re actually interested in.

You have probably thought about what you should do or the most popular jobs for your major or even what your family thinks you should do, but have you really thought about what you want to spend your time doing?

For me, I’ve always been interested in tech. My favorite college class was “Communication in Technology.” I love being online and reading updates about best practices for online marketing, and I can set up a complex entertainment system like nobody’s business. When I was fresh out of college, I didn’t realize jobs existed where I could indulge these interests.

So ask yourself: What classes did you enjoy in college? What articles attract you when you’re browsing the news? What online newsletters do you subscribe to? What kind of catalogs do you look forward to browsing? What magazines do you read?

Let’s say you’re crazy about travel. You save all of your money for your next adventure, you have Wandertab installed on Chrome, your DVR is packed with Travel Channel shows, and your inbox is full of flight deals. You might want to start your job hunt with industries that incorporate travel, like a cruise line, travel agency, or tourism board.

Tip #2: Play to your strengths.

Now that you have an idea of the kind of work you want to do, it’s also important to consider the work environment and your own strengths. Think about previous projects where you’ve had success and were proud of the end product. Were you working in a group? Which skills were key to the result—organization, creativity, subject knowledge? By digging into your own skill set, you can be more particular about the types of jobs for which you apply.

Company culture is important as well. You spend a lot of time at work, and by extension, with your coworkers. How you feel at the company and in the presence of your coworkers will affect your job satisfaction and ultimately your performance. Consider guidelines like dress code, benefits, time off, and willingness to train new employees. Would you mind being the youngest amongst future coworkers, or is it important that you work with peers? The answers to these questions can play a big role in shaping your job search.

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Personally, I loathe pantsuits. In previous positions, I was the youngest person in the room, and I prefer working with peers. I’m proud of my organizational skills, and I thrive in a collaborative, busy environment where there’s always something more to do; boredom is not my friend. When I started working at Search Influence, something just clicked. I loved learning from my intelligent, peer coworkers, and account management suits my skill set.

You don’t always hit the jackpot while starting your career, but taking a critical look at your fit with a potential employer is a very important step to take before sending in your resume.

Tip #3: Talk to people who do what you think you want to do.

This was hands-down one of the biggest missed opportunities for me when I was looking for my first job. I was so nervous! I didn’t want to bother anyone, and I thought everyone would flat-out deny me if I asked to talk to them. Being on the other side of this now, it is so incredibly not true. It’s even the exact opposite—I love telling people about my job at Search Influence. Especially younger people who think they might want to work in my field of online marketing.

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A current employee of a company you’re interested in or someone who holds a job title you aspire to hold one day is an invaluable resource if you’re willing to ask. They can tell you so much more than a job description: day-to-day tasks, work environment, team structure, key skills, and even tips for getting hired.

If you don’t know someone who works in your field of interest, use your alumni group and/or any connections you might have. You’d be surprised who knows someone you might want to speak with. And when you do find the person to talk to, come to the meeting prepared with questions to discover information that would be most valuable to you.

By taking the time to think about your interests and strengths, and by taking proactive steps to talk to someone in the field, you’ll be much better equipped for your job hunt. You’ll likely send out fewer resumes, but they’ll be for positions that are a home run for you instead of hoping something sticks, making them much more beneficial in the long term.

If you’re like me and enjoy tech, search engine optimization, and online marketing, find out more information about open positions at Search Influence on our Careers page.