Everybody wants to land their “dream job.” Who wouldn’t? Some have even publically stated that they’ve finally found their dream job only to find later that perhaps it was more of a nightmare.
First of all, define your dream job – what’s important to you? Is it location? Self-satisfaction? The ability to make a difference? Pay? Now think back 4 years. What would your dream job have been then? The same? I doubt it. Dreams change as life changes.
Then there’s the job market. Many jobs today didn’t even exist 5 or 10 years ago. We don’t know what might be a perfect fit, dream job in 10 years. Don’t box yourself in to a rigid perception of your dream job.
You may be fortunate enough to land what you think of as your dream job right after graduation. But if you do, what’s next? Will you be content living that same dream for the next 40+ years? Will the job market change? How about your priorities?
So instead of looking for that dream job, I think it’s more important to define your overall goals, with a loose plan to get there. Then aspire to those goals. Is it to work in a certain field that’s really hard to break into? Maybe it’s generally a field – like protecting the environment – but you don’t know exactly what your best fit might be within that space.
Then network – talk with people in positions you think you’d like, not necessarily right out of college, or as a first job, but more experienced. How did they get there? What do they like about what they do? What are the biggest challenges? And what do they recommend someone do to get themselves ready – the experience – to get there.
Then make a plan. Figure out where you want to start, to get you headed in the direction of that dream job. And know that in all likelihood that dream will change many times over the course of your career. But in the interim, but happy with each step of your career, knowing that you have a plan, and that plan will change. Just because the first or second job you have is not what you’ve defined as your dream job doesn’t mean you’re not on your way there. It often takes time, and many forms. Be patient and enjoy the journey.