7 Ways to Find Your Dream Job or Business
The world of work can be a confusing and complicated place. If you’re coming to the end of your formal education and are wondering what sort of career to pursue, or you’re stuck in a dead-end job and are desperate for a fresh start, you need to take action now.
Committing to a long-term career path is a risky business when you don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for. How do you know whether you’ll actually like being a teacher, or lab technician, or policeman, or stockbroker, or social worker, or sales rep? Other than your educational qualifications and a vague notion of “what you want to be when you grow up” – probably influenced by parental or societal expectations – how can you get any useful information and experience to help you make up your mind?
We’ve come up with 7 ways to help you get closer to finding your dream career or business without wasting time heading off into the wrong direction:
- Be true to yourself
Easier said than done, especially when you perhaps haven’t worked out who you are yet. But the trick here is not to discard your dreams just because they seem unrealistic or impractical. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it certainly won’t be built at all if you’re afraid of laying the first brick. Whether you really love techno DJing or are fascinated by the stock market, you need to trust your inner confidence and go for it. You don’t want to sleepwalk into a “safe” career, only to wake up to a full-blown midlife crisis decades later, wondering why you sold all your hopes and aspirations down the river.
- Nurture your hobbies
Do you have any hobbies that you are passionate about and wish you could turn into an income-earning activity? There’s only one way to find out. Keep nurturing your hobby and look for opportunities to use it – even if only part-time or on weekends to begin with. A budding photographer, for example, might contact local community groups and charities who may have a need (though no budget) for a photographer. Providing free photography services in exchange for building your portfolio could be the start into a brand-new career in business.
- Try something new
A wise person once said: If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got. Change can only come when you break out of the rut, even if you don’t know necessarily where it’s going to take you. If you’re cooped up in an office job and wish you could be outside, try to find opportunities to volunteer as, say, a park ranger, gardener, or dog walker, and see how you feel about it. Or if your job is more physical in nature but you’re longing for a chance to develop your administrative or managerial skills, find a suitable outlet for your interests. Volunteer at your local library or school, join a worthy cause, or brush up on your computer skills. Sharpening skills you don’t use in your current job is an excellent way to broaden your horizons to future career options.
- Experience Days
Wouldn’t it be great to spend “A Day In The Life” of your dream job, just to see whether the reality matches up to your expectations? Well, you can by booking yourself onto an Experience Day with Into the Blue if you’re in the UK. Whether you’re curious about barista training or cheese making, photography, or TV presenting, floristry, or perfume making, a short course or workshop will offer you plenty of insight into what it’s all about. It won’t give you all the skills overnight, obviously, but it will provide you with enough information to be able to make an intelligent decision about which career path to pursue, or not, as the case may be.
- Career Speed Dating
Many career events at schools, colleges, and universities have now cottoned on to the idea of using the concept of “speed dating” to maximize networking opportunities between students and career professionals. Career Speed Dating events are a great way to quiz alumni on their career choices, with quick fire questions aimed at getting as much information possible in a short period of time. The format can be hugely helpful in gaining inspiration, ideas, and guidance for the path ahead.
Taking time out after you’ve finished college or university, and before you embark on a serious career, can be a wise move as long as you use the time constructively. Giving yourself permission to defer committing to a “proper” job gives you the breathing space to try out lots of things in an effort to help clarify your eventual career direction. Cram in as many jobs as you can and across as many industry sectors as possible. From bar work to charity fundraising, shop assistant to office junior, working in a call center and on a building site, home or abroad – it all helps to give you a rounded picture of what “the world of work” is all about and where you can see yourself fitting in.
- Work shadowing
If you’re really curious about a particular occupation or business opportunity, the best way to find out if it’s for you is to actually spend time doing it. How do you do this if you don’t have the requisite skills or qualifications, or without applying for the position and making the commitment to taking the job, should it be offered? Shadowing is the answer. Contact the company and ask if you can spend a day/week/month as a work placement or work shadow as you’re highly motivated to find out more about the position. That way, you can spend a day/week/month in the life of an electrician, or an accountant, or a social media manager, or whatever you’ve set your heart on.