In my post, Looking for that Dream Job? Here’s Help, we defined what your dream job is. We looked at the different aspects of it (what the work is like, where it can be found, who it done with, and (implied) what it takes to do the job.) If you didn’t list what it takes to do the job, then write that down, too. You will need it as you map out your strategy to achieve it.
Review the list. Do you already have everything you need to successfully do that dream job if it was offered to you today? If the answer is yes, then your strategy is to find the job and land it.
If you don’t have all the skills and strengths to successfully do your dream job, then your strategy is to set up a path that will both lead you to the dream job and equip you to do it. That path may take more than one intermediate job in order to acquire all the skills needed for that dream job.
May I be frank, here? Very few people actually have the skills and strengths required for their dream job. The younger or less experienced you are, the greater the certainty that you don’t have all the requisite items.
As an experienced hiring manager, I can tell you that if you had all the skills, talents, and abilities (and able to demonstrate that ability… either through experience or live demonstration) to do your dream job, you would be hired on the spot. Why? Because hiring managers have to hire compromises all the time. They seldom see someone who is a perfect fit… and when the find that perfect fit, they snap him/her up.
So, the likelihood is that you are going to need to move through one or more intermediate jobs to position yourself for your dream job. What that means is that your next job may not look much like your dream job. And, depending on what other skills you need to acquire or talents you need to develop into strengths, the next one might not either.
I’m sorry to have to break the news to you that your next job may not be your dream job… or even the one after… or even the one after that. It all depends on how much “shoring up” your skills and experience need in order to qualify you for the dream job.
The good news is that by conducting your job search/career path with intention and with a plan, you can shorten the process considerably. If you are doing this right, every job will fill in some portion of the needed experience and skills, resulting in being one step closer to your dream job.
Now, you don’t have to do it this way. You could continue the way you have been… working without a plan… being blown by the wind and drifting with the currents of the job market… settling for whatever career path your current employer has in mind for you. Or maybe you are “in transition” (a wonderful euphemism for between jobs… out of work.) Wouldn’t it be nice if your next position moved you a step closer to your dream job?
If you don’t have a job and you don’t have adequate savings to allow you to play the job market, then you don’t have the luxury of searching for your dream job… or even for the right intermediate job. You first need to get a “First Aid” job. This is a job that stops the bleeding (money going out with nothing coming in) and “stabilizes the patient” (restores a level of mental health and self-worth.)
It doesn’t matter that you don’t particularly like the First Aid job. It’s purpose is to give you breathing room to pursue your dream job, not to be the dream job (or even an intermediate step.)
One good thing about having a First Aid job, is that contrary to intuition, it makes it easier to get the intermediate job. It is ALWAYS easier to get a job when you have a job. (Not easier from your convenience standpoint, but easier from the standpoint of convincing a prospective employer to consider you.)
Another note on the First Aid job. It doesn’t necessarily have to provide full replacement income. (I have seen people refuse jobs that will provide 80% of their subsistence requirements because it “doesn’t pay enough”. So, they sit around with NO money coming in and get depressed because they can’t find a job that will pay them “what they are worth.”. Don’t be one of those people who sabotages yourself.) If necessary, get two First Aid jobs (part time.)
In upcoming posts, I will address some of the components of a successful strategy and some specific tips for your search. I want you to be able to take back control of your life and of your income… no matter what the economy is doing.
In the meantime, if you need help right away, you might consider my coaching program. I have recently put together a package for job seekers that draws upon my years of experience both as a hiring manager and as a job seeker (during 3 different recessions). Your age and experience matter less in your job search than your attitude and drive. My goal is to equip you for success.
Other posts in this series: