Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a dream. As the poet Robert Browning wrote, “… man’s reach should exceed his grasp/ Or what’s a heaven for?” But if you want to get hired for your dream job, you’re going to have to get real about your prospects.
3 scenarios of how you could get your dream job
1) You’re 75% of the way there. With some effort – finishing academic credentials, targeted networking, “try & buy” employment – you’ll wind up well positioned as a candidate for the career you’ve been dreaming of.
go for it
2) You pretty much hate what you’re doing now and spend much of your day dreaming about doing what you’d really, really rather be doing. Ok. Take a breather and ask yourself, “is it what I’m doing that I hate so much, or is it where I’m doing it that’s causing me pain? That’s not always so easy to determine, but before you ditch your job, throw caution to the winds and start applying for positions at your dream job, it may be worth checking out openings with a different employer. But if you’re miserable because, you feel stuck in finance when your passion lies in theatre management, there are legitimate ways to leverage your financial expertise for a career in artistic management.
go for it
3) You don’t really mind your current career path, but as the Beach Boys sang, “Wouldn’t it be Nice?” Probably the most widely felt emotion among us.
Why not just go for it?
Here’s where you need to be realistic
Many of us have a resigned attitude about the struggle between “this is what I’ve always done” and “this is what I dream of doing.”
“It would be so cool to teach yoga on the beach in Barbados,” we think, “but I have two kids in school, a spouse whose successful career is rooted in Hometown USA, and aging parents who need me a reasonable distance from them.”
This scenario is so commonplace; it applies to almost everyone at least once in our lives.
My client Cindy came to me regarding two very different job opportunities for which she wanted an updated resume. Cindy had done very well as a retail sales manager in a small, high-end accessories store whose owners recently moved out of state, closing the business. A network contact snagged CIndy a preliminary phone interview with a major national department store chain, and they wanted her resume for an opening in her local branch.
Easy job for me. Cindy was just what this major retailer was looking for. Except Cindy wasn’t so gung-ho.
“What’s the story with the other position you sent me?” I asked. You want to get into digital marketing?” (thinking to myself – you and the rest of the millennial world).
“Yes,” she replied. “It’s my dream job!”
“But your chances for getting hired for your dream job are pretty slim,” I pointed out. Stiff competition against people who’ve specialized in digital media for years, not to mention a career – a successful career – that leverages a very different skill set! This is a perfect example of why getting hired for your dream job is simply unrealistic.
I have a dream career, too. I love cooking and for a long time nurtured my dream of opening up a food truck and delighting my fellow New Yorkers with my cooking. Then I saw the Jon Favreau film, Chef, and I thought, “well, why not? It’s doable, for heaven’s sake!” But here’s the thing: I enjoy human resources very much – and if performance reviews are to be believed, I’m good at it. I’m not unhappy – I’d just always had this dream….
But I got real. I weighed the risk/reward of following this particular dream, and it just wasn’t realistic. Instead of following my dream and buying a food truck, I started my resume and job search coaching business. It makes me happy; I get to meet interesting, mostly lovely people, help them and widen my experiences. I see tangible results, I grow my network, I learn from my colleagues. It’s great.
And I cook my family and friends some pretty awesome meals.
Would you like some help getting your dream job? Check out my pricing and process page.