How to find your ultimate dream job in 5 easy steps
A dream job isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. We need a level of stress to perform under pressure, sharpen our focus and give us a sense of meaning. So if you think your dream job is a cooshy one, think again.
Instead of cooshy, I want you to think “aligned”. Both the orgnisation and the role need to be aligned to YOU. If you’re on Seek, applying willy-nilly for any old job with the “right title”, chances are you’re not going to be happy for there long (I’ve been there…). Alignment takes effort and here’s how to do it!
Step 1. Clarify what your personal values actually are
Research shows that when your personal values align with an organisation’s values, you’ll experience higher job satisfaction, sense of purpose, productivity, and belonging at work.
I love this reflection exercise from MindTools as a starting point. Once you’re clear on your values – write them down and put them somewhere you’ll see them everyday.
Step 2. Find organisations that align strongly with your top values
I value organisations that break the mold of traditional work and do things differently. I want to work with people who are as weird as me. Working in Organisational Development at a bank just wasn’t going to cut it, so I had to seek out companies with the right fit. This is why I work with Inventium now and Virgin Australia before that. Here are a few things to try when benchmarking companies against your values:
- Review the AFR Boss Best Places to Work lists for the previous two years for inspiration
- Use Claude.ai to shortlist companies. E.g. If you value organisations who support eradicating homelessness use a prompt like “Which companies with offices in Australia donate money to charities that deal with homelessness”. If you want to work at a small company near your home use “List of 10 companies with offices on the south side of Brisbane with less than 50 staff”.
- Use ChatPDF to quickly review the annual reports of these companies by asking questions like “Tell me about sustainability at this company” if you’re big on climate change or “How many women sit on the board of this company” or “What is employee engagement like at this company”.
- Shortlist down to 10 companies you think you’d like to work at.
Step 3. Fact check your alignment
Validate the assumptions about your shortlisted companies. Sometimes the view from outside is very different from the view on the inside.
- You can start with Glass Door reviews but likely you’ll get the extreme ends of the spectrum. You can use this information to create a list of questions you want to ask someone in the next step.
- Find people on Linkedin who work there, in the area that you’re interested in. Buy them a coffee and get the real story.
- Search for news articles and posts from these companies. See if the content relates to your values.
Step 4. Professional stalking (the non-creepy kind)
Submit your resume to HR and you’re done. NOT.
Getting your dream job can be predicated on relationships. Attend events hosted by the company, engage on Linkedin, show an interest in what the employees are doing and channel your inner fangirl/boy. E.g. My colleague Charlotte recently forwarded me an email containing some positive feedback I sent her about a masterclass she ran two years before I joined Inventium!
Keep in touch, share articles, meet people, be seen. It’s like business development but for your career.
Step 5. Know your strengths
You know where you want to work, now you need to ensure an excellent role fit. The alignment between your strengths and your role is key. Research shows that people who apply their strengths at work on a regular basis (around 75% of the time) have higher job satisfaction.
But most people can’t clearly articulate their strengths when asked.
Don’t let that be you! Complete the VIA Character Strengths assessment and make sure any role you’re walking into is nicely aligned with these. My top signature strength is a love of learning, so it’s ideal that I get to do that in my job every single day (and then write about it!).
So maybe the title of this article was misleading – it’s not that easy. But we’re talking about your dream job here. And as Beverly Sills once said, “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”