If you’re looking for your dream job, this may be the best time to find it. The job market has been significantly disrupted, and perceptions about work—and priorities for it are also in a state of upheaval. All of this makes it a great moment to pursue your passion and your purpose in a dream job.
And who doesn’t want their dream job? It’s the perfect expression for your talents and skills, helps you build credibility as well as relationships, and includes meaning now and plenty of growth throughout your career. Is this possible? Yes—and perhaps now more than ever.
New opportunities tend to be created when things are changing—and the job market has been shifting significantly. It has been rocked people who have left their current jobs—41% of people according to some data, at the same there are record layoffs in one of the largest sectors: tech. AI is also on the near horizon, already changing the content of jobs with tech replacing some of what humans do. There have also been big swings in mindsets about work. People are reflecting on the meaning of their work, assessing their happiness and seeking better job matches to express their skills and talents—and demanding more from employers.
When things are in a state of flux, it’s a great time to reimagine your own work and pursue your dream job.
As you look for your own dream job, consider what’s trending. The jobs others want can give you ideas about your own pursuits. And they can provide insight on where the competition might be greatest.
And dream jobs numbers 11 through 20 are: DJ, blogger, doctor, professor, flight attendant, firefighter, judge, lawyer, attorney and psychologist.
It’s wise to start out by assessing why you’re moved by certain jobs—and what makes them ideal for you. Many of the most popular dream jobs coincide with research about what has become especially important to people over the last couple years.
Landing a dream job first requires knowing what you want—so your desires can inform your actions. What are you seeking? What’s most important to you? In what ways have your priorities shifted, and how might all of this impact the work you’re most energized to do?
Finding your dream job is a matter of your perseverance as well as your perspectives and the options you create for yourself. Here are the best strategies.
When you consider your dream job, give thought to what is at the core of the job that makes it ideal. If you want to be a pilot or a flight attendant, is it the travel, the adventure or freedom which makes your heart race? Perhaps you could achieve some of the same experiences as a travel agent or an attendant on a cruise ship. If you dream of being a writer, is it the creative nature of the job that lights you up? If yes, you could also consider working at an art gallery or being a docent at a museum. If you’re excited about being an attorney or a judge, is it because of your penchant for social justice? You could seek opportunities at a non-profit in your passion area or spend time as an activist.
Pursue your dream job, but also give yourself permission to seek something which is adjacent to it, nurturing the same core elements of your interest.
As you’re thinking about your dream job, also give thought to what it will take to get it. To become an influencer or a YouTuber, you may need to invest large amounts of time and be confident in the face of criticism. To be a lawyer or doctor, you may need to invest significantly in your education. Plan for these commitments. But if they seem too great, go back to thinking about jobs which are related but which may be more easily within reach. If you love helping people and empowering them to reflect and solve their problems, you could work as a social worker or counselor, rather than a psychologist.
You can also work your way to your dream job. As you pursue your PhD so you can be a full professor, teach classes as a graduate assistant on the way, or work as a research assistant. While you’re waiting for your big break with a publisher, do plenty of blogging on your website. If you dream of being a tax accountant, support friends in doing their taxes on a casual basis in the short term.
Part of accomplishing a dream is being pragmatic along the way—and working your way toward your ultimate aspiration. Figure out what it takes and align your actions today, with the learning and growth you’ll need to accomplish.
Also give thought to the impact your dream job will have on you and on others. Pursuing your passion can energize you, so embrace that opportunity. Also consider your purpose—not a requirement to solve huge issues, but just the thing you do especially well and can contribute to others. Passion is powerful because it tends to be an individual experience of dedication and immersion in a role. And purpose is a big deal because it is generally a shared experience, including shared goals and mutual endeavors in pursuit of a bigger picture. Ideally, both the pursuit of your dream job and actually performing it will fulfill both your passion and your purpose.
It is rare for a job to perfectly meet your passion and your purpose, so strive to get as close as you can to aligning what you love to do with what you have to do in order to support yourself.
Your best bet to find your dream job is to stay close to the field. Build your network with people who are in the job already or who work in roles which are similar. Reach out, ask questions and seek their input about how it really feels to do the work. Ask for their coaching and request they introduce you to people who can be helpful in your professional preparation and your networking.
Also seek opportunities to shadow people in your dream job or to do an internship (paid or unpaid). Sometimes a job looks wonderful from a distance, but when you have the opportunity to experience it up-close, it doesn’t stand up to your preferences and priorities. Find ways to test, try and experiment with the role or similar roles, so you have a clear view of what it’s really like to do the work.
Another consideration for your dream job is to reflect on what you really need to do for pay. Often, people define a dream job as regular full time paid work. But you can also nurture your passions and pursue your purpose with unpaid opportunities. Perhaps you’re happy enough with your ordinary job in a satisfactory company, but you can volunteer in work that especially energizes you. Or you can do a hobby on the side to feed the creative longing you have.
Give yourself permission to do what you love to do without drawing a paycheck. When you’re happy within your work, you’ll experience greater joy outside of work. But the opposite is also true: When you’re happier with all that you’re doing outside of work, you’ll perceive more happiness within your work.
The bottom line: Your dream job may not have to be a job at all, but rather the way you spend your time beyond a traditional paid role.
The future is bright for reimagining what you do and why you do it. Remind yourself of all your capabilities, of all you’ve been through and all you’ve accomplished. Reflect, re-energize and reset for a great year ahead, finding your dream job and doing what you love.