If someone asked you to describe your “dream job” right now, could you do it?
Where would you be working?
Who would you be working with?
What would your job description look like?
Of course, everyone wants to be working in their dream job, but the truth is, defining exactly what that looks like isn’t easy. People throw around phrases like “pursuing your passion” without any real context to what that means or — perhaps more importantly — what it actually takes to get there.
They think that “dream job” is synonymous with “happiness,” and therefore if you’re doing anything else, you must be unhappy. But here’s the thing: that’s simply not true.
And that’s because of one important distinction many people fail to make when evaluating career opportunities:
There’s a big difference between your “dream job” and the right job for you at the moment.
In this post, you’ll learn the key differences between a dream job and the right job, while also exploring exactly how you can find the right career for you.
Ready? Then let’s get started.
Why All the Pressure to Find Your Dream Job?
Whether you’re a recent graduate or someone already well into the start of your career, you’ll likely agree with this:
When you enter the job market, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to know exactly the career path you want to pursue.
And that’s not just because your overbearing aunt won’t stop asking what you’re planning to do with your life. Employers are equally guilty of grilling entry-level candidates in interviews about their long-term aspirations. All the while, the people asking the questions didn’t likely graduate school with their specific job in mind.
In fact, 47 percent of graduates end up in jobs that don’t align with their field of study right out of college.
What’s more, the same study shows 31 percent never end up working in that field.
So while employers may want to hire entry-level candidates with concrete plans and career aspirations, the truth is that the average person today changes jobs four times before the age of 32.
And that’s because each of your post-collegiate career choices helps inform the next.
We recently shared a post about the advantages of “strategic job hopping” — a concept that supports the idea of people making calculated job changes as a means to advance their career. And ultimately, that’s what we’re discussing here, too.
In previous generations, it was far more likely that men and women stayed with the same company through large chunks of their career. In fact, 40 percent of baby boomers stayed with the same company for 20 years or more. But as that generation moves out of the workforce and gets replaced by the millennial generation (75 percent of the global workforce will be millennials by 2025), employers need to make a significant shift into how they hire for entry-level tech jobs.
Because today’s talent recognizes that your career path isn’t fixed. In fact, the most valuable talent on the market today comes from a diverse, multifaceted background that would be impossible to design at the start of your career.
Instead, recent graduates and people in the early stages of their careers focus today on developing a vast array of specific skills that — when brought together — paint the picture of a well-rounded, multi-talented professional.
And naturally, as you gather experience from those jobs, you’ll refine your ultimate career goals and the image of what defines your “dream job” doesn’t just become more clear: it becomes more achievable, too.
So, How Exactly Do I Find the Right Tech Job for Me Now?
Admittedly, because this approach to a job search is fairly new, understanding how to get started might be a bit confusing.
Luckily for you, here are the steps you need to take to help identify the right job for you at the moment:
Step #1: Complete an In-depth Self-Assessment
Before you can seriously think about finding the right job, you first need to do a little self-reflection to figure out what motivates you and the skills you possess today.
While it’s true that your first job won’t likely be the one you retire from someday (nor will your second, third, or even eleventh, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics), that doesn’t mean it’s good for your resume or self-esteem to hop around from job-to-job in the early stages of your career while you blindly seek out the “right fit.”
As we mentioned in our previous post:
There’s a big difference between strategic job hopping and a lack of career direction.
And that’s why completing an in-depth self-assessment matters so much in the early stages of finding the perfect job for you at the moment.
But, you’re likely wondering:
How exactly do I actually complete a self-assessment?
You can start by asking yourself questions like these:
- What am I better at than all of my friends?
This sounds like a pompous question to ask, but in truth, it’s one of the easiest ways of uncovering your innate skills. Think about one or two things all of your friends would agree you do better than them. It doesn’t need to be professional in nature — maybe you’re an excellent driver, or you have the greatest sense of humor. The point is to figure out the skills you already possess (which you’ll use later in Step #2 to help find the right job).
- What would I love to learn about?
Of course, the whole goal of a self-assessment is also to determine what you’re actually interested in doing. To be clear, though the “right” job may not be your “dream” job, it should still be a position you’re excited about. There’s no value in trudging your way through a job in which you have little to no actual interest. Which is why you should also ask:
- What jobs do I know I DON’T want?
Lay out the positions you know you have no interest in at all, regardless of the skills you might develop. For example, some people just know they don’t have any interest in sales positions. If that’s the case, cross it off the list right away.
Once you’ve completed your self-assessment, it’s time to evaluate the different opportunities available to you.
Step #2: Seek Out Tech Jobs that Maximize Your Existing Skillset (While Still Giving You an Opportunity to Learn New Skills, Too)
Of course, you can’t just waltz your way into any job of your choosing just because you’re interested. Most tech jobs require either experience or an educational background to get your foot in the door.
That’s why the goal should be to find opportunities that balance the line between your existing skillset (which you uncovered during self-assessment or, for those already employed, you already know based on your current job) and the skills you want to learn.
Here’s where Paysa can help. You can search for jobs by skill — something unique to Paysa — and find jobs that match both your current skillset and your aspirational skills.
For example, here’s what it might look like if you were someone with a sales background looking to gain experience in writing:
Pretty helpful, right?
You can do the same thing when exploring salaries as well. For example, if you have a background in recruiting, Paysa not only shares the average salary for people with that skill, but we also show you related skills.
This becomes especially helpful when moving on to the third and final step:
Step #3: Find a Company that Pairs Well With Your Goals
It’s not enough to just find the right job — you also need to find the right company that supports your career development aspirations.
Luckily, more and more tech companies are beginning to embrace flexible work arrangements where employees can learn new skills unrelated to their daily job requirements. In a recent post on exploring careers at Cisco, we shared that the company offers a “time swap” program for employees to spend up to 20 percent of their work time exploring work in another department or area of the company.
Additionally, look for companies that offer:
- Opportunities for internal transfers
- An internal job posting system or recruitment team
- Reimbursement for secondary education
- Mentor programs
- Certification programs
Any of these would be a great sign of a company that understands today’s talent is looking for opportunities to evolve.
When you’re ready to start the search for the perfect job, Paysa is here to help.
With thousands of jobs available with top tech companies around the world, Paysa gives you valuable insight into the career opportunities available to you based on your skills, experience, and interests.
And once you start receiving offers, you can evaluate those on the platform, too.