One way to begin mapping out your future is to visualize your dream job. It’s kind of exciting and motivating to imagine what the perfect job would look like.
Figuring out what you want to do next is scary and overwhelming. But what if there was a way to find a job you could get excited about? Would you find that motivating?
Where do you start?
Break Through Barriers
I find myself running into brick walls a lot while trying to help job seekers. Not necessarily my brick walls, but theirs – “I can’t”, “it doesn’t work”, “it won’t work”, “that’s not me”, “it’s not fair”.
But these become my brick walls too. My role as a sherpa is to get you to believe you can so that you will take the actions necessary to break through these walls.
We all need to feel motivated to do something. And if you aren’t feeling motivated, maybe you aren’t looking for the right job.
When you identify what really makes you happy and what you enjoy doing, you’re aligning your purpose with your career. That’s the secret.
Change Your Surroundings
I’m pretty no-nonsense and my family has declared me “un-fun”. To prove them all wrong and change up my image a bit, I’ve surrounded myself with people who are fun and full of nonsense (they may or may not know who they are).
So to all you job seekers out there, what can you do that is uncharacteristic or more fun?
I’ve got just the exercise for you – visualization.
Years ago I attended a wonderful and too brief keynote by Yvonne Conte. If you’ve ever seen her, you know how fun she is!
One of the exercises she asked us to do was to describe our dream job.
Actually, she didn’t just ask us to describe it, she asked us to visualize our dream job.
She didn’t want us to focus on the daily tasks, but asked us to visualize all the details of the work environment. You can see the exercise and questions she led us through here.
If you want to try this, set aside quite time and an open mind.
- Don’t over-analyze your answers, just let them flow. Go with your gut response.
- Don’t judge your answers.
Brainstorm answers to these questions to help you identify what’s important to you in a new job
- What hours do you work?
- How do you get to your job?
- Are you working virtually or in an office or some combination?
- What does your workspace look like?
- What is the background of your co-workers (what do you have in common)
- What is your boss like (what’s their background and management philosophy and how do they recognize your successes)
- What is the first thing you do when you get into the office?
- What types of tasks or projects do you love spending time doing?
- Who are you serving or helping? Who are your customers?
- Is there a certain industry, niche or specialty you work in?
- What is your favorite part of your job?
- When your workday is over, how do you feel?
What Does This Mean, Now What Do I Do?
This is about creating a vision of what you are striving for.
Once you can picture it, it is much more likely to come to fruition, right?! Or at least you’ll recognize it when you see it.
You could even get really creative and begin cutting out pictures and articles that truly help you visualize your new role. It’s called a vision board.
Share Your Vision
Next, communicate your vision. Begin talking with people you trust and value about what you are looking for to test its viability or availability.
You’ve got nothing to lose in trying this. It might seem like a waste of time to talk with people about this, but it might just work! But if you are looking for another way to assess what’s next, read Get A Clue, Know What You Can Do.
Taking time to reflect on who you are, what’s important to you and what you want to do next will help you immensely.
Check out this article: 4 Steps to Assessing Your Next Dream Job
Another way to visualize your dream job is to make a list of all the things you love to do (inside and outside of work). Once you’ve completed the assessment from that post, create a list and compare it to job postings or brainstorm ways you can incorporate these activities into a job you create.
Compile Past Accomplishments
When you’ve been successful there’s usually a reason why. You’ve used skills you are good at.
So consider compiling a list of your past accomplishments.
What Are Your Priorities?
What is most important to you at this point in your career and life? Rank what is most important to you in your next job.
- Challenging and/or interesting work
- Advancement opportunity
- Opportunity to learn new things
- Competitive salary
- Achieving something that you personally value
- Benefit package
- Visibility with executive team
- Job autonomy
- Job security
- Opportunity to work/travel in a foreign country
- Stock option or ownership program
Making A Career Change?
Decision Making…Does it come from the head or the heart?
This includes a matrix to help you make a decision on a job or career change based on what’s most important to you.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.