4 Ways to Spice Things Up While Looking for your Dream Job

Do you feel impatient with your search for your dream job? Is it getting harder and harder to stay focused and productive at your current job?

Sarah is a client and close friend. She emailed me the other day to tell me how excited she is to have determined the type of work she really wants to do along with the qualities of the organization that would allow her to truly thrive. But her excitement for her future is accompanied by an increase in frustration and disappointment with her current job. She wanted advice on how to make the best of her current situation, while she seeks the opportunity she really wants.

When you go through a career transformation, as you get clearer about your target and know the specific details of your ideal job and dream career, you also become clearer and more specific about how your current situation falls short. If you focus on the shortcomings, you can become very frustrated and impatient with your current job. If you don’t know how to make the most of your current situation, and put it in a proper (and useful) perspective, you can be tempted to make some bad choices, choices that could interfere with your goals. For some, that means quitting this job without having the finances to support you, or telling people at work “what you really think” about the mistakes management is making.

What can you do to make the most of your current situation and use it to propel you forward toward your dream career? Start by thinking about what you want to take with you when you leave. And I don’t mean office supplies. Apply the concept I learned from Steven Covey: begin with the end in mind.

  1. Remember that your current situation is temporary. It will not last. You will find the job you want. This job is not forever.
  2. Consider which relationships you want to take with you when you leave. Spend time now building your network and strengthening your professional relationships. Remember that networking at its core is people helping people. Take people for coffee or lunch. Get to know them, what their career goals are and what’s important to them. Ask how you can help them with their goals.
  3. Think about what skills you would like to develop before you leave. Seek out projects and assignments that allow you practice these skills. For example, do you want to learn about social media? Volunteer to help out with the marketing group who handles that. Do you want to learn more about how software works? Volunteer to be part of the testing team for the next release. Would you like to develop your communication skills? Offer to write up the meeting minutes for the meetings you attend, or begin writing weekly status reports for your manager. Would you like to develop your leadership skills? Offer to manage the group of interns who just started at your company.
    Early in my own career I wanted to develop my test management skills. After I gave my two weeks’ notice of resignation, I volunteered to manage a testing cycle scheduled to complete on my last day. Because I volunteered and offered to document everything, the project manager was happy to give me this experience.
  4. Plan your exit. Identify how to transition your responsibilities to others. Document what you do so another person can fulfill your responsibilities when you leave. One benefit of doing this now is that you may even be able to transfer some of the tasks you don’t like to another person before you go. Planning in advance for your transition creates a lasting and positive impression of you on everyone affected by your departure when you do leave.

What can you where you are to prepare yourself for your dream job when you find it? I challenge you to choose just one idea from the above recommendations, and start implementing that idea this week, even today.


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Client Stories

Lori took my old, tired, out of date resume and transformed it into a resume which got results.  In transitioning from owning a business back to the corporate world, Lori asked the tough questions to dig out all the relevant skills and accomplishments which would catch the eye of a potential employer.   One of the first employers to receive my new resume and customized cover letter (created by Lori) called me for a phone interview, followed by a face to face meeting, and finally offered me a job twenty-four hours after the interview.  I'm convinced I would not have even been able to get my foot in the door without my new resume created by Lori.  As I told my wife, retrospectively, spending the money to work with Lori was well worth it.

Howard Kier, Evanston, IL