4 Behaviors That Will Lead to Your Dream Job

by Jessica Sommerfield · 5 comments

It’s a well-known fact that 60-70% of college graduates don’t end up in the career field in which they earned a degree. There are many reasons for this, including:

  1. Choosing a career field that offers few jobs, or highly-competitive ones
  2. Choosing a career field based only on salary and not on one’s abilities and interests
  3. The economy — fewer jobs, many lay-offs, saturation with over-qualified workers

While we can’t do much about the economy, we can choose what we go to school for. College is a huge investment of both time and money, so it’s wise to put plenty of thought and research into what path of study you want to pursue. Consider not only the current job market, but the projected trend over the next ten, twenty, and thirty years.

Get some experience in your intended field to get a taste for what you’ll be doing, as some careers aren’t what they seem. Most of all, make sure your degree track will be well-suited to your abilities, personality, and interests. After all, you’ll be spending most of your life at your job, so it should be something you enjoy.

While I could give advice all day about which career path to choose, none of it will matter if you can’t get a job in your chosen field. As statistics show, that can be a hard feat, no matter how amazing your resume.

The following four activities and behaviors will help you land that dream job you’ve put thousands of dollars, and years of your life, into achieving.

1. Network, network, network

Networking is the act of creating social and business contacts that’ll help you get where you want to be. Naturally, the more outgoing you are, the easier it is to network. But even introverted people can network, whether by forming a small, tight-knit group of friends, or simply taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves.

The magic of networks is that they branch like a tree and create more and more potential the larger they reach. Practically, you can network by putting yourself in places where you’ll rub shoulders with the people who can help you accomplish your career goals.

2. Attend workshops and conferences

Networking goes hand-in-hand with attending events that will lead to more networking, business contacts, possible internships, and grooming from mentors in your career field. All you need to do is search the Internet to find events in your area (or out of your area — be willing to travel) that will place you closer to your career goals.

3. Believe in yourself and let it show

Companies look for people who have confidence (not to be confused with cockiness) in their ability to perform their job. Just because you may not have much experience in your chosen field doesn’t mean you’re not in the running. Someone who shows an interest in their job, an eagerness to learn and develop, and the general abilities the job requires stands out more than a person whose resume is full but demeanor doesn’t sell it.

This is especially important for people who may be entering a second or third career later in life. You may be new to the field, but your lifetime of work experiences and confidence is what will land you the job.

4. Be willing to start small

Not many people start out at the top. If that were the case, there’d be no room for promotion and growth. Even if the best you can land is an entry-level position, it’s important to get your foot in the door so you can prove your worth. If you’re willing to work hard and put in extra effort, you can work your way to the top in no time. Don’t discredit small beginnings.

Putting yourself out there is difficult when you’re fresh out of college and don’t have much experience. By using the resources you have, being willing to work hard, and most of all, believing in yourself, you’ll eventually land the job you’ve always wanted.

What behaviors would you add to this list?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Focus on your dream job, aim to get closer to your every day, focus on additional training that can lead you there, etc. Then you can reach your goal.

  • Larry Siegel says:

    Grr. Talented people rarely end up in the field they chose at age 18 because (1) they change and (2) the world changes. I majored in urban studies, not because I thought I could save the cities (although I have ideas on how!) but because I knew I’d go to graduate school and wanted a major that was interesting and that gave me a plausible chance of getting an A average. I later went to business school and eventually went into a field – investment management – that I never heard of in high school or until the very end of college.

    People who aspire to a career, and not just a job, should major in whatever excites them and that they think they’ll do well at. Career choices evolve over time, not in the middle of sophomore year when it’s time to declare a major.

    And, no, you don’t start at the top. I was 40 before I had what I’d call an executive position.

  • Great information and the 5th one is talent+experience.

  • Christopher says:

    Enjoyed this article as working with career focused people on a daily basis is my day job of sorts. Networking is very important but I think it is overrated. It takes one to be a success in business world through being able to effectively sell one’s self to complete strangers on a regular basis. Networking is great for the luke-warm introductions but most often it is the non-networked/cold conversations where you were able to sell yourself that lands you the dream job.

  • There is much to be said about networking. In slithering up the corporate ladder, it counts for a lot keeping skills and hard-work constant. People simply like working with people they know and are comfortable with for a start.
    Secondly, I would say getting a mentor who is already working in your dream job helps a lot. You’ll get to see first hand how it is to see something and the learn the ropes/skills that might make you more appealing and land you a dream job. I guess that still falls under networking.

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