Getting Your Foot in the Door – Your Next Job Doesn’t Have to be Your Dream Job

By: Christy Eichelberger

Searching for a job is a difficult process, especially, if you’re trying to find your dream job.

When conducting your job search, keep in mind that not every job you have is going to be the job of your dreams. This doesn’t mean you have to take a job you don’t want; it just means that getting your dream job will likely take time and patience.

If you’re just getting started in your career, don’t immediately focus all of your energy on finding your dream job. If you are too focused on finding a set job, you could miss out on many valuable opportunities. Even if you have been in the workforce for some time, getting to your dream job is most often a goal with many steps along the way.

Your first job, or even your current job, doesn’t have to be your dream job. Instead, view every job you have as stepping stone in the right direction. Each job is an opportunity to grow your skills or learn new ones, to meet different types of people and learn to work with them, to strengthen your interest in a certain field or open your eyes to a new one, or to grow your professional network. Even if you’re not in the type of position you would ultimately like to be in, make the most of it and learn everything you can. No matter what job you have, do it the best you can. This will pay off either through opportunities for new positions within the same company, or by earning you a good reputation and making you a desirable employee for another employer.

Keep an open mind when searching for a job. Don’t eliminate a possibility right off the bat simply because the title doesn’t match what you had in mind for your next position, or because the position requires a duty that you feel too qualified to do. Instead, stay open to the possibilities a job can bring. Even if it’s not your dream job, it can help lead to it. Once you’ve got a job, it’s easier to change positions within the company, or to create an opportunity for yourself to gain the experience you crave. 

Perhaps you can ask to be given a new project or create one yourself. If there’s someone who has a position similar to your dream position, see if there’s a way you could work with him or her. Not only could you learn from this person and gain the experience you desire, but it’s also an opportunity to expand your professional network. Many times a co-worker may move on and leave an open position within your company, or they may be able to help get you in the door at their new company.

Each job you have will help lead you towards your dream job. You will learn what you do and don’t like, what you want in your next job and what you don’t want. Look for jobs that have the potential to lead you in the direction you’d like to go, even if they don’t take you directly there. If you’re just starting out in the workforce, you’ve got time to figure out what you like and can use each job you have as a way to help determine your ultimate path. If you’ve already been in the workforce, you should have a better idea of where you hope to be and the types of jobs to look for that can get you there. 

Everyone hopes to one day find their dream job. Half the battle is in determining what that dream job is and how to get there. While it’s important to maintain a certain level of focus while conducting your job search, there is a danger in being too focused, and in the process, missing out on some perfectly good job opportunities. Your next job doesn’t have to be your dream job. Just make sure that each job you have is a step in the right direction.