In this economy, many people are just focused on getting (or keeping) a job – dropping their hopes of opening a business or landing a job they really enjoy. But we don’t have to “get caught up in the panic or settle for work we don’t like”, says Meredith Haberfeld a Career Coach and co-founder of the Institute for Coaching. Meredith sat down with me and shared the three ways people can get their dream jobs.
RM: In this economy, is going for your “dream job” still a realistic goal?
MH: Rather than focus on the job they want, people should first focus on what they want out of their “dream” job.
They should ask themselves questions like: “What do I love doing all day? Is it talking to people, being outdoors? What kind of people do I want to work with? What do I definitely not want to be doing – working for corporate America, staring at a computer all day? How much money am I committed to making?
To help be specific, people should write down the aspects of their dream jobs that really excite them. So if your dream job is to be a veterinarian, then the draw might be working with animals. Or if it’s being an interior designer, is it being creative and working in a beautiful a setting that attracts you? Once you’ve answered those questions, you have your “deal breaker list of professional values.”
And with that list you can check to see if it matches your “dream” job. Often people find that the occupation they thought they wanted (probably because it sounded fun or sexy) doesn’t quite match, while other jobs they hadn’t even considered now make sense. So in that way, you have really widened your net, creating many more job opportunities.
RM: OK, so now that I’ve expanded my job horizons, what’s next?
MH: Next is what I call the “Live Research Phase.” Start talking to people who have jobs in the industry you’re considering and find out what it’s really like. You can do this by contacting friends, family, people in your community or even sites like Facebook or LinkedIn. You’ll be shocked at how much people actually want to help you.
So once you get on the phone or in a meeting with someone who’s in the field you’re interested in, find out what that world is really like. Ask them what they love and what they hate about their job. Ask them what are the things they thought that career was going to be like that it’s not, and what things do they like about it that they never expected. And just straight ask them for advice. You’ll find that after these conversations, more careers will be crossed off your list, while others might emerge.
What’s really great about this process is that you’ll find that the network you developed in this “research phase” is the same network that parlays you into the next job.
RM: So now I have a good understanding of my dream job, what’s next?
MH: The final piece is to understand the “Momentum Equation.” The “momentum equation” is that it takes a lot of energy to produce a new result. So it might take 100 units of energy to yield ONE positive result. For instance, you might spend weeks sending out resumes, responding to ads, writing cover letters, etc., and might just get one response. This is where many people get stuck. The name of the game here is to understand and be prepared that things might be slow going. It’s ok to be disappointed, call up a friend and biotch or whatever you need to do. But the important thing is to not give up, because the equation will change.
Soon it will only take 50 units of energy to yield one result, and eventually even less. It is building and keeping this momentum that will make the difference in your career, because even in this difficult economy everyday people are getting jobs they love. And so can you.
Meredith Haberfeld is an executive coach who’s guided entrepreneurs and leading executives from institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Forbes, JP Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse, FuseTV and the World Health Organization. She also works as a life coach for assisting individuals, couples, and families in designing and living extraordinary lives.