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Cheat Sheet

Your Dream Career For Dummies

From Your Dream Career For Dummies by Carol L. McClelland, Richard N. Bolles (Foreword by)

You’re taking a chance on yourself and embarking on a search for your dream career. As with any seach, you need a plan, which includes doing informational interviews to find out about jobs in different fields and using the Internet to look at descriptions of positions and salary ranges. And, if you really want to follow your dreams, you have to pay attention to your passions, keep an open mind, and think outside of the 9-to-5 box.

At-a-Glance Plan to Reach Your Dream Career

Finding your dream career is like searching for a hidden treasure. Your best strategy for success is to collect as many clues as you can about what works for you. The following points are a nuts-and-bolts version of the basics for finding your dream career:

  • Take stock of your current situation.

  • Find your personal style.

  • Define your ideal lifestyle needs.

  • Pinpoint your preferred work environment.

  • Specify your favorite passions, skills, and interests.

  • Brainstorm a list of viable career ideas.

  • Select your Top Two Career Ideas.

  • Explore additional career possibilities based on your skills.

  • Investigate your Top Two Career Ideas.

  • Blend your dream career with your life realities.

  • Develop your personal action plan to achieve your dream career.

Informational Interview Questions to Ask in Search of Your Dream Career

When you’re searching for your dream career, talking with people in a field you’re interested in is one of the best ways to gain a realistic and current picture of a potential new career — you want to do informational interviews. Make appointments with people in your potential new field then use the questions in the handy list following to help you plan your informational interviews:

  • What is the outlook for this profession?

  • What is your day like?

  • What are your key responsibilities?

  • What are the pros and cons of working in this industry right now?

  • How does this job impact your life?

  • How did you get into this field?

  • Do you know anyone who entered this field with my background?

Identifying Your Passions in Search of Your Dream Career

Evidence of your passions is in front of you every day. Use the passions that bring you alive to find your dream career. Use the following filters to follow the clues to find your passions and interests:

  • Listen for a change in your voice: When your speech quickens, your conversations about a topic are long, or you’re insistent about the value of a topic, you are on the trail of a passion.

  • Notice your excitement level: When your excitement picks up, pay attention to what you’re doing.

  • Track your curiosity: When you have a desire to know more, follow the thread.

  • Visit memory lane: Consider fascinations you’ve had since you were a kid.

  • Notice how you help others: Think about things you do for others.

  • Recognize a sense of mission: Notice when a past experience gives you a vision of what could be different.

  • Catalog the tools you love to use: What you enjoy using in your work and play can lead you to your passions.

  • Spot your natural talents: Claim the skills you do without thinking.

How to Use the Web in Search for Your Dream Career

The Internet is full of information on all sorts of topics, including careers. You can’t go wrong starting your search for your dream career by clicking the Web sites in the following list. They’re good places to find out more about careers, salaries, and professional associations:

Considering Alternatives to the 9-to-5 Schedule in Your Dream Career

When changing careers, you may find that your dream career fits into a nontraditional work arrangement. An alternative schedule may suit you better than working 9 to 5, five days a week. Some of the alternatives to 9-to-5 may be unfamiliar to you, so the following list tells you what they mean:

  • Compressed workweek: Work 40 hours in three or four days, instead of the typical five days.

  • Job share: Partner with someone else to split the workload, and the pay, of one job.

  • Contract work: Contract with a company through an employment agency to work for the duration of a specific project.

  • Telecommute: Set yourself up with the equipment you need to perform your job from home.

  • Freelance: Develop a working relationship with several companies so that you can choose the projects you want to work on.

  • Home-based business owner: Launch a business that you run from your home.

Keeping an Open Mind about Your Dream Career

As you explore options for a new dream career, you’re putting one toe into the unknown. Although it can be unnerving not to know The Answer to your career puzzle, the key to success is to keep an open mind as you explore your options. Keep your cool and keep the following tips in mind:

  • Think ideally.

  • Listen to your longings.

  • Let your procrastination tell you what doesn’t work for you.

  • Stay focused on the essence of what you want.

  • Turn away from things that repel you.

  • Pay attention to what attracts you.

  • Understand your unique style.

  • Brainstorm with an open, expansive mind.

  • Focus on possibilities and opportunities.

  • Explore your career ideas to understand them.

  • Test your potential career before you make the leap.

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