‘Dream job’ means different things to different people, but for the majority it involves doing something other than the regular nine to five grind. It’s usually something you would find inspiring, unique and fulfilling. So how do you go about finding something that ticks all these boxes, and turn it into a paid role?
Do a self-assessment
Make yourself a nice cup of coffee, choose a comfy chair and grab a pen and paper. Start by making a list of your values and preferences. How might these impact the type of job you would like to do? List your skills and experience. Where would this naturally lead you? What would you choose to do if you could do anything, regardless of salary? Collate this information and start to think about possible vocations. Do some internet research about potential roles that fit your criteria. Do any of them tick the ‘dream job’ box for you?
Don’t be discouraged
It might be that you don’t have the relevant experience to do the jobs you have listed, but don’t give up hope. Think about any transferable skills you might have. Have you had experience that isn’t directly linked but might give you a foot in the door? Have you had a similar level of responsibility in the past? Do any volunteer roles or hobbies help your case? Put together a CV with this in mind, explaining how your unique skillset qualifies you for the role.
If you really feel you don’t cut the mustard, think about ways you can acquire the knowledge or experience you need. That might mean doing some work experience, taking a course or volunteering. You may need to hold on in your current role to ensure the bills are being paid while you transition into your new career. It might not do any harm to start slowly as you may find that your dream changes once you’ve actually had a go at the target role!
Don’t put it off
The best time to start pursuing your dream job is now! One of the chief regrets people cite in later life is that they didn’t follow their dreams, so don’t keep putting it off. While it’s entirely possible to start a new career in your fifties or sixties, it can be more difficult to do so as you may have been stuck in one particular industry (or rut!) for many years by this point. It may also be more difficult to pursue a new opportunity once you have significant family or financial commitments.
Your start can be gradual – for example attending a networking event or reaching out to people in your target area – but make sure you’re steadily moving towards your dream rather than simply daydreaming about what might have been. Don’t be afraid of failure. If you never take any risks, you’ll never know what you’re capable of.
Even if you end up landing your dream job, there may be elements that aren’t perfect. You may not achieve the salary level you had hoped, or you may end up working with a difficult colleague or client. You may need to make sacrifices and work hard to achieve your dream. Your new role should energise and inspire you, but there will still be difficult days. Remind yourself that you are fulfilling your ambitions and that it’s a journey.
New challenges can be character-building and move you along the road to where you’ve always dreamed of being, so keep at it!