Your Dream Job Step Two: Research the Possibilities

I think the idea of pursuing a dream job is something every worker should aspire to.  You should enjoy your work, use your strongest skills, and be paid well. Even in this recession, it’s possible to pursue and find your dream job; it just may take a little longer.

So here is the second step you might take to find your dream job eventually: research the possibilities.  There are usually several variations in any career path.  Excellent sites like the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*NET will help you understand the requirement and duties of any job.  The site will also help you understand whether your occupation of choice will be growing or shrinking over the next few years, how much you’re likely to earn and what the educational and licensing requirements might be.  Here are some of the variables that might make a difference in your choice of careers.

  • How much time, energy and money are you willing to invest in education and training?  You may need to think about immediate training, but also consider whether you might need to be a student over the course of your career.  Professions in healthcare, law, Information Technology, design and many other industries require that you continually improve your skills to stay current and be at the top of your profession.  Learning may be a way of life for you.  Does that sound appealing?
  • Do you thrive more when you work with people, systems, or ideas?  There are literally thousands of jobs you might do after you decide generally that “medicine,” “entertainment” or “working with kids” is the place for you.  For the sake of argument, let’s say it’s “protecting the environment.”  If you’re a people person, you might spend your time raising money or awareness, or working in HR for an environmental agency.  If you’re a systems person, you might be studying climate patterns or working on engineering new ways to deliver energy.  If you’re an ideas person, you might work on new policies or laws, become a reporter or teach. 
  •  How much do you need to earn?  You can find many ways to increase your income within an industry.  In finance, for example, you could work your way into banking management to earn more money, or choose a path that paid for performance, like financial advisor or mortgage brokering. If prestige or challenge is more important to you than earning a big salary, you can choose your path based on personal values rather than financial success.

Next: Step Three.  Figure out where you stand in the market for this job.

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