How to find a job you love in 13 steps

a woman at the top of a ladder in the sky reaching a star the represents her finding a dream job

In an era defined by instability, career-related anxieties have never been higher. If you've been made redundant, or you're seeking new career paths, it might seem sensible to prioritize security instead of finding your dream career. But actually, there's never been a better time to start looking for your dream role.

To find out why you shouldn’t delay finding your dream job, and how to go about it, make your way through the following simple steps.

Table of contents
13 steps to finding your dream job

13 steps to finding your dream job

1. What's your purpose in life?

If you're concerned about job market instability, searching for a job that fills you with a sense of purpose might seem like a luxury. How could you justify chasing a job that feeds your soul when you're worried about covering the bills?

Employees with a strong sense of purpose have been found to perform better on average than those who don't.

Having a strong sense of purpose at work has been found to increase energy levels, a  sense of achievement, resilience and engagement1. In times of economic hardship, working in a career where you feel a strong sense of purpose will increase your job security by making you indispensable – what employer doesn’t want a motivated, high-achieving, hard-working employee?

So when hunting for your ideal role, the first question you should ask yourself is the big one: What's your purpose in life?

Do you want to help people in need? Develop innovative products? Maybe you've always wanted to entertain people. In short, finding your passion is the first, and most important step toward finding your dream role.

2. Which work environment suits you best?

It's time to consider what kind of environment you want to work in.

Do you want a stable, predictable workplace where you can do your job and leave it behind when you head home each day? Are you more motivated by a fast-paced, high-pressure role that requires you to be agile to achieve results? Or maybe you want to play a key role in getting a start-up off the ground.

You might think that people who start and run businesses all fall into the same category – that they're driven, action-oriented, big-picture thinkers. But actually, our research has found that business owners fall into two distinct categories:

Entrepreneurs
These business owners tend to be less concerned with the rule book. They place little value on structure in favor of experimentation, evolution, and change. This relaxed approach to procedure and rules, in general, is what's needed to fuel the creativity that leads to disruption and innovation in the start-up space.

Think: Steve Jobs.

Business Builders
Unlike their entrepreneurial counterparts, Business Builders are more concerned with structure and procedures. They're not interested in becoming a runaway success. Rather, they're more inclined toward steady, long-term growth.

Think: Warren Buffett.

Even if you're not seeking to start your own business just yet, it pays to understand these categories. For example, if you value your work-life balance, working in a high-growth start-up may not be ideal. If you don't mind the grind but prefer flexible hours, working in more structured workplaces may feel constricting.

3. What's your work style?

We all have a wide range of motivations when it comes to what lights us up at work. If you're a people person, remote work probably isn't your cup of tea. If you prefer to speak plainly and neutrally, working in sales likely won't excite you. This is because different people are motivated by different things. Your dream job is going to be one that aligns with your unique set of motivations.

Fingerprint for Success is a performance and collaboration platform that can help you determine the right career path for you, and then help you develop your skills to get you ready for your dream job.

To better understand your motivations and workstyle, take the free F4S assessment to find out where you rank within the 48 motivational traits. You'll gain instant access to the F4S dashboard to see on a macro and micro level where you shine. This science-backed information will help you understand job roles that will energize you—and which tasks are most draining.

F4S assessment shows your workplace motivations to find your dream job
F4S dashboard

4. What are your strengths?

Your dream job is likely a career choice that allows you to make a real impact. For this reason, it will need to be rooted in your strengths.

Identifying your unique abilities can lead to a more fulfilling and successful career. By recognizing your natural talents, you can seek out roles where your strengths will give you an advantage over the competition.

This is where reflecting on your accomplishments so far in your professional life can become useful. Dig deep, and find out what you really excel at.

a man smiling because he discovered his strengths and his dream job

5. What are your hard and soft skills?

It's too often the case that job seekers consider hard skills as their most important asset. In fact, soft skills can be just as important. Even if you're a programmer beginning a career in tech, empathy and communication skills are becoming as important as your technical skills. Your dream job should leverage both your hard and soft skills as well as challenge you to develop both.

Not sure what the difference is?

Soft skills have more to do with interpersonal skills and attitudes. Hard skills are usually skills that you've studied to learn, such as statistical analysis or app development.

Make a list of all the soft and hard skills that you've accumulated, and see how they overlap with your dream job requirements.

If you're not sure what your soft skills are, take the free F4S assessment. It's more than 90% accurate and will provide you with an understanding of your greatest strengths and preferences. You can use this information to update your resume and talk with confidence about your valuable skills during job interviews.

Then you can set a goal, like finding a job you love, and our AI Coach Marlee will recommend the best coaching programs to support you. We are proud to report that 90% of users achieve their goal when they complete their coaching program.

Personalized insights for your goal

Pioneering new things
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You like some variety, radical changes, doing new and different things in some of your work or business.

100% Match
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
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With a little bit of development you can become more socially aware of yourself and others.

61% Match
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6. What are some organizations you'd like to work for?

Keeping the research on Business Builders and Entrepreneurs in mind, it's time to make a shortlist of the types of companies you'd like to work for.

If you feel more aligned with the scrappy, rule-breaking entrepreneurial mindset, make a list of start-ups you'd like to work for. If you're more interested in stable, steady long-term growth – well-established companies are more likely to be your cup of tea.

Or maybe your ideal organization is making a difference in the world in meaningful ways – helping wildlife, and vulnerable people or reversing climate change, for example. Sometimes it’s the impact a company is striving to make that motivates you to want to play a part.

Once you have your list, check out company reviews for each to make sure that the employee experiences are aligned with your needs and values.

7. Which career suits your personality traits?

Another important consideration for career aptitude is your personality traits, and what kind of role suits your personality. But with so many facets of personality, which do you focus on and how does it relate to your career? This is where the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) becomes a valuable tool.

First developed in the 1940s, the MBTI has long been used as a tool to determine job suitability. The test measures personality along four dimensions:

Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)
Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)
Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
Perceiving (P) vs. Judging (J)

Your personality type is any combination of these traits. For example, if you're extraverted, intuitive, a thinker, and a perceiver, you are an ENTP. Find out more about the best workplace personality tests.

8. How can I build my network?

With the right people in your network, getting a head start in your ideal career will be much easier. But what if the contacts you have in your field are limited?

Here are some ideas on how to build your network using LinkedIn:

Attend events and webinars
There are countless online events where you can (virtually) rub shoulders with people in the industry or profession you're vying to join.

Reach out and connect
Connecting with people who share your career goals, or are already working in the field you want to get into is a great start. Another strategy is to connect with recruitment companies that hire for the kinds of jobs you're looking for. If you can forge a strong connection with a recruiter, they'll keep you in the loop for upcoming job openings in relevant industries.

Join and engage with LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn groups are a fantastic way to build your network in the field you're looking to get into. They're also a great place to learn about industry trends, ask for career advice, or connect with people. Contribute relevant ideas or advice if you can, and ask questions that might help you in your career journey.

Optimize your profile
Make sure you have a current professional headshot and a compelling bio that outlines your experiences, skills, value, and achievements. If you're able, be sure to add an #Opentowork frame on your profile picture to let recruiters know you're ready to work.

a person is sitting in front of their computer with their arm raised to celebrate finding their dream job


9. How can I build my resume or CV?

According to an eye-tracking study, hiring managers look at resumes for as little as 7.4 seconds on average before moving on to the next application2. If you want to make an impression, you need to make sure those 7.4 seconds count.

Here are some tips for building a resume that will get you noticed:


Keep it simple
When it comes to getting your resume noticed, you need to be clear and concise. Opt for bullet points instead of paragraphs. Focus on what will make an impact, and leave the rest out. Get inspirations from innovative resume examples and tailor your resume to the specific job description.

Tailor it to the role or company
Instead of sending off the same resume, tailor it to the role, or the company that you're applying for. List your skills, relevant experiences, and achievements that match the job requirements in the listing.


Lead with your accomplishments
Instead of just listing your previous roles and job descriptions, it's always a good idea to lead with your achievements. Remember, the reader has likely read hundreds of job applications from applicants who've worked in the same types of roles. What they're looking for, and what will set you apart, is the impact you've made.


Optimize for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
ATS are becoming more common as a way to screen resumes for relevant keywords. Always include industry-specific keywords and phrases that align with the job description.

10. How can I prepare for interviews?

So, you've covered all bases, applied for positions and the replies are rolling in. To make sure you nail your interviews, here are some things you should do to prepare

Research common interview questions
A basic search on Google will yield plenty of results that point you in the right direction. Knowing what interviewers are likely to ask in advance gives you time to plan your answers.


Do solid background research
Becoming a fountain of knowledge on the company's culture, mission, products or services is sure to set you apart. Head over to their website to spend some time steeping yourself in the company's history and to make sure you understand their services and core values.


Prepare questions
Show your interest in the role by preparing a list of considered questions to ask the interviewer. These may be about the company culture or the products or services on offer, or help you get a clearer picture of what the role entails.

Practice, practice, practice
Choose a friend or family member to play the role of interviewer, and do a few rounds of practice questions. Endeavor to dazzle them with your knowledge, ask poignant questions, and answer all questions with confidence and ease. Didn’t nail it the first time? Try again until you feel confident you can tackle the interview with relative ease.

a man is practicing interviewing with a friend

11. How can I mentally and physically prepare for my job search?

One of the hardest things about job hunting is just how physically and mentally taxing it can be. Scrolling through job boards to find the types of roles you're looking for and receiving rejection can take its toll. You need to be at your best to make it through the hiring process, so taking care of yourself during this time is crucial to your success.

Here is what we recommend to give yourself the TLC you need during your job search.


Positive affirmations
Reading through lengthy job descriptions for jobs that you want but are above your level of experience can play havoc with your confidence.

“Can I really do that?” you might ask yourself. This is where you need to remind yourself of the achievements, talent, and value you can bring to the table.

Look after your health and wellbeing
If you're not working full-time, it can be very easy to let your physical health habits and wellbeing slip. Without a solid routine, it's not hard to start sleeping in, scrolling too much on your phone, or skipping your workouts. Learning the science of forming good habits will serve you through the job search phase and set you up for success once you've landed the role.

Stay positive, but be realistic
While you're looking for jobs, it's good to stay optimistic, but be ready for disappointment. You might get lucky, but the chances are that you'll come across many rejections and failures along the way. Just remember that you only need one yes. Once you get it, all of the no's won't matter.

quote by Sam Kerr, success begins with believing in yourself

12. How can I build my personal brand?

In the era we're living in, landing a sought-after position requires more than a laundry list of skills, experiences, or qualifications. To land the job opportunity you want, you need to position yourself as a brand.

Gone are the days when branding was something that only companies did. In today's job market, building a personal brand is equally important for job seekers.

Here's how:

Define your unique value proposition (USP)
Your USP is a short sentence or statement that neatly summarises your strengths, skills, and unique qualities. For example, FedEx's USP is:

’When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.’

The statement clearly distinguishes FedEx from its competitors, demonstrating what it does differently, and the value you can only get from FedEx.

Your USP is similar to, but slightly different from your personal brand statement.

Craft a compelling personal brand statementA brand statement is a few sentences that capture the essence of your brand. While a USP focuses on the key features of what you do, a personal brand statement is more about your core values and mission. If you've already defined your purpose, this is a great place to put it.

Position yourself as a thought leader
Create or share insightful content to position yourself as an industry thought leader. Offer valuable insights, opinions, and expertise to establish yourself as a go-to resource. If you're already using LinkedIn, this is the best place to share thought leadership content.

13. How to negotiate your salary

Lastly, you need to make sure that your dream role is going to pay you your worth. Even if you're passionate about the role, you still have to be compensated with an accurate salary that matches your value.


Research the salary range
Research the average salary range for similar positions in your industry. Websites like Glassdoor can provide valuable salary data that will point you in the right direction. This information will help you set your expectations for what is realistic.


Set your desired salary range
Set a clear minimum and maximum salary range based on your research and personal needs. Be flexible, but have a bottom line that aligns with your financial goals and the value you bring to the role.


Be prepared to compromise
If the salary is less than your desired range, it always pays to keep an open mind and consider other benefits on offer. Equity, bonuses, flexibility or professional development opportunities can be just as, if not more valuable, than a higher salary.

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1.'Help your employees find purpose—or watch them leave'. Available at: Mckinsey.https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/help-your-employees-find-purpose-or-watch-them-leave

2. 'You have 7.4 seconds to make an impression: How recruiters see your resume'. Available at Laddershttps://www.theladders.com/career-advice/you-only-get-6-seconds-of-fame-make-it-count

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