Last month, I had the pleasure of hosting some wonderful women from the organisation SmartWorks for an evening of learning and networking at Salesforce Tower London. The group may have been incredibly diverse, but they all had one thing in common: a desire not only to “get the job” but to succeed in their ideal careers.
Not long ago, I published my first article on the Salesforce Blog and used the hashtag #DreamJob a number of (perhaps too many) times. My enthusiasm hasn't waned and I can proudly say that I have found what I've been looking for all these years. But finding a role I'm this passionate about certainly wasn't a walk in the park!
For this reason, I've decided to share with you, in a series of articles, my view on the essential steps in identifying, getting and thriving in your very own dream job.
In this first instalment, I'm addressing the most important and most frequently overlooked first step of the process - deciding what you want.
Perhaps it's that it seems so obvious; perhaps it's how challenging it is to determine; perhaps it just seems easier to take what's out there. Whatever the reason, we often skip this step and head straight for the job boards, applying for anything and everything that seems even remotely palatable.
It pains me to think about how much time I've wasted during the application process for jobs I'd never wanted. Worse even, the time I've wasted after getting those jobs and hoping they will either get better, or that I will - as if by magic - morph into the type of person who enjoys them.
All the while listening to friends talk about their new jobs and thinking they sound fun or seeing actors portray professionals on film that got my ambitious heart thumping.
One question I neglected to ask myself was why. Why does that job sound fun? What element of that career has me enthralled? I was pretty sure I didn't actually want to be a CSI but it would take me years to figure out it was the problem-solving that I found so attractive.
With that in mind, whenever I feel it's time to move on and find a new role, I ask myself the following questions:
1. What did I love about my last job?
There will always be things you like about a given job and understanding the ones that work for you is just as important as those that don't.
2. What do I choose to do in my spare time?
For many years, I worked in industries other than technology. Having focused my studies elsewhere, I had convinced myself I would never get hired by a tech company. Every weekend I would devour an issue of Scientific American or Wired...
3. If I could invent a job for myself, what would it be?
Entrepreneurialism is more prevalent than ever before and many find that their dream job is only theirs to create. I try to take an approach that forces me to rule this out rather than simply discounting it.
Give yourself just one hour. One hour to think through who you are, who you want to be, what you excel at, what you enjoy. THEN start looking.
There are plenty of excellent resources out there to help you frame this introspection, but my favourites are Kathy Caprino's overview for Forbes, which really puts it in perspective, and Manifest Your Potential's mythbusting article bursting with tips and tricks such as mad-lib style exercises.
If quizzes are more your thing, The Muse aggregates a good selection.
Your #DreamJob is out there but you'll only find it if you start looking in the right place. If you'd like to find out about open opportunites at Salesforce, visit our careers page and maybe you could join the #SalesforceOhana.