4 Questions That Will Help You Find Your Dream Job

If you’re like the vast majority of people on earth, you want to find your dream job. Like the old saying goes, “Find what you love to do, and you won’t work a day in your life.” But you’ve got to work somewhere, and you’ll often work with other people, too. These four questions will help you find your dream job – and ultimately – career happiness.

1. Know what you actually want

Easy, right? After all, many of us want the same things from our working lives: a steady paycheck that comfortably pays the bills from a place we aren’t loath to go to day after day. Objective assessment is key to determining what you like – and more importantly what you don’t like – in the workplace, without relying on the opinions of others.

Being as honest as possible with yourself about how you work best will yield the most accurate results, so try to avoid idealizing. Once you’ve got a handle on the basics, it can be helpful to divide your list into wants versus needs, and to rank each item based on how important it is to you. You’re unlikely to find a job that suits your every desire in every way all the time, but you should be able to get a gig that ticks most of the boxes most of the time.

2. Ask the right questions

The trick is to figure out the elements of a workplace that represent deal breakers for you, personally. Tolerances vary widely. Some folks can easily handle small irritations that would drive others up the wall and around the bend. Look back at your history, in work or in school, and see what makes you tick. Can you handle an open workspace, or will the noise level bother you too much?

If you can’t find a job in your field, what kinds of work would you be willing to do instead? Get more detailed than you think you need to be, then dig some more. Take yourself through a hypothetical workday to see where there may be room for improvement. Or ask a friend to ask you. From basics like physical location and average wages, to perks like a staff cafeteria or gym, get all the answers you can before moving on.

3. Do your homework

Now it’s time to do the proper research to find some workplaces that fit your criteria. Again, we seem to have hit a no-brainer. You’ve just spent all the time and effort to arm yourself with the knowledge of what will and won’t fly in your working life, why wouldn’t you take the time to make sure a potential employer fits the bill? Yet it’s surprising how many job-seekers simply don’t do it.

There are obstacles, and many times you will hit a wall where no further information can be gleaned through snooping online. A company may be too new to have much of a presence established online, or they might just need an eager up-and-comer to bring their brand into the 21st century. At those times, you’ll need to decide whether a given employer merits further study, and if so, whose ear you can bend for an informational interview. Where better to learn about a company’s culture than straight from the horse’s mouth?

You can also check out online review sites where former employees can give you the lowdown, but remember to take such opinions with a grain (or two) of salt. Not everyone leaves a company or position on the best of terms, and you’re only getting one side of the story, so don’t let someone else’s bitterness over a particular incident completely obscure what might be a good thing.

4. Maintain perspective

There’s always something urgently demanding your time or attention: bills to pay, dog to walk, kids to feed. The thing is, you don’t want to go off half-cocked if you can possibly avoid it. Panicked decisions are the ones most often regretted, so do yourself – and your dog, and your kids – a favor and give yourself the time to find the right job for you. Not only will you be happier (which makes everyone around you happier), but you will avoid future job searches by staying put.

Also keep in mind that regardless of the effort you’ve put in spelling out your ideal workplace, life loves nothing more than surprising you. Leave a little room in your plans for whatever you didn’t think of and deal with new information as it comes up. You never know when one of those surprises will be the job of your dreams.

Did you find your dream job? If so, how did you do it? Share your story in the comments section!

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