How to define and land your dream job
- Employees redefine the "dream job" by weighing factors like work-life balance over name recognition.
- They're also exploring what their "dream" job or title means in practice, a career coach said.
Jess Galica said she collected a variety of "gold stars" in her career. Prominent companies like Bain and Apple were on her résumé, along with an MBA from MIT. Despite this, she wasn't confident she was on the right career track.
"It was one of these wake-up moments where I thought, 'Why does this still not feel right when I've made it to the top of the mountain in so many people's eyes?'" she said.
Employees like Galica are redefining what a dream job is, weighing factors like work-life balance and finding meaning in their roles over brand-name recognition. That's because many employees are speaking up about being burnt out or fearful of layoffs after cuts at prominent companies like Twitter, Meta, and Amazon — likely "dream" destinations for many people. In order to find a role that propels their careers forward in today's environment, Galica said they're exploring what their "dream" job or title means in practice.
"Get curious about why your dream job was to work at, insert the company," she said. She added to decide if you're attracted to the innovative environment, the potential to open doors, or the competitive pay and benefits. Defining those underlying factors will open up countless more doors, she added.
Here are her tips for finding and landing your dream job in today's environment.
First, imagine your dream life
The hunt for a dream job must start with a change in mindset, Galica said.
"The biggest mindset shift for people is moving away from focusing on finding a dream job and moving toward getting clarity on a dream life," she said.
She suggested looking at three main themes while reflecting on an idyllic future: lifestyle aspirations, financial goals, and day-to-day responsibilities. These factors will help narrow down career options in your search.
For instance, Galica said working parents might need to prioritize a flexible or hybrid work model. Others might focus on paid-time-off policies so they can travel. Once you determine your nonnegotiables for life, only apply to jobs that will align with those requirements, Galica said.
Then, seek out peer references
Once you've started searching for roles and companies that could facilitate future life goals, talk with peers who work for or have worked for the companies you're applying to, Galica said. That way, you can better understand the company culture, understand the potential workload, and get any other questions you may have answered.
Start with your own network and people who know you, that way you're able to ask the questions that may be difficult to bring to a hiring manager, Galica said.
For example, Caitlyn Kumi, a product-marketing manager at Google, asks people for 15-minute coffee chats, she previously told Insider. She finds people via LinkedIn and focuses on building relationships as opposed to gaining referrals from those she speaks with.
Tell your story to land the job
When it's time to interview for dream jobs, storytelling will help you stand out, the two said.
There are subtle storytelling choices you can make to better position yourself as a candidate, she said. For instance, there's a difference between saying you want flexibility versus you work well when you have autonomy in your role.
"There's always a way to take what you're looking for and make it a competitive advantage," and that's a key to getting the dream job, Galica said.
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