The 4-Step Guide To Finding Your Perfect Job

The dream job. Does it exist? And if it does, how do I find it?

Two questions that we’ve probably all asked ourselves at several points during our lives. Considering we spend an estimated 12 years of our life at work, this is hardly surprising. That’s a lot of Mondays to spend wishing it were Friday.

A recent study by Hired, the employers consultancy firm, found that 70% of adults believe their dream job does exist. While this is good news, only 40% of adults report that they love their current job. Which means a big portion of us are spending the working week somewhere we’d rather not be.

It’s understandable; finding your dream job can seem like a daunting task. There are many options out there – so many careers, so many skills to be learned. In fact, the toughest part of it is often overcoming those first steps towards making a change and understanding what it is you want from your job.

Cue Otegha Uwagba, the founder of female creative network Women Who, who has created the ultimate starter kit for women looking to kickstart the hunt for their dream job. The Dream CV Planner is a careers resource helping women to identify what a successful and fulfilling career looks like for them.

Otegha is a writer and brand consultant who now works for herself, having previously spent years working at Vice and creative agency AMV BBDO. Much of her expertise on this subject comes from her own experience of identifying and pursuing her dream job.

At points in her career she, too, felt that paralysing sense of dissatisfaction but, rather than let it fester, she made some bold moves to change things. Thus the nucleus for The Dream CV Planner was born. We caught up with Otegha to find out how it works and get some simple, practical tips to get the dream job hunt started.

Otegha’s first piece of advice, and one that she feels strongly influenced her career, is to make sure that your job aligns with your values. If you find yourself being adventurous and charismatic on the weekends but having to dull things down during the week, then you’re unlikely to be satisfied in your career.

53% of adults report not enjoying their company culture. Where you work and how you work needs ultimately to reflect and fit with who you are. In the opening pages of The Dream CV Planner, Otegha helpfully lists a whole host of values that you can attribute to your personality, such as wanting to pursue 'education', 'solitude' or 'collaboration'. Identifying your values from this list is the first step to understanding what needs to change in your career. If you have circled lots of traits that suggest you should be working in a big team, on highly creative projects, then it's time to think about shifting into a more social and creative type of work.

Identifying your values can be as easy as simply writing down your characteristics, or you can download The Dream CV Planner and pick from Otegha's handy list.
Once you’ve nailed down your values, it’s time to start thinking about the kinds of jobs that will tick the boxes. Otegha advises seeking inspiration in unexpected places. She recommends reading, listening to and watching stories about different people’s careers who inspire you. Otegha recommends the Forbes’ podcast Hiding in the Bathroom and Refinery29’s career series How I #MadeIt.

“It’s about just being open to finding inspiration from anywhere and everywhere,” she says.

Another great tip is to dig a little deeper into the ‘about us’ section of the websites where you’re spending your time. If you’re always on fashion sites, look at the job titles of the people who work there. If you love cycling, then research the different opportunities open in the companies you love. Don’t be scared to reach out to people who have inspiring jobs; an out-of-the-blue email can be flattering and you may get some useful connections or career advice in the process.
Once you’ve identified possible fields that you’d like to move into or worked out who can help you make the leap in your existing company, it’s time to identify where your skill gaps are. It’s never too late to take a course, ask for an internship or shadow someone who you can learn from. Otegha advises that, at this point, it’s about getting scrappy – but enthusiasm and determination will get you a long way.
You have all the information you need to kickstart your next career move. Now it’s time to make a plan and stick to it. Otegha advises making very specific short- and long-term goals (The Dream CV Planner has some really helpful worksheets). She says you need to hold yourself accountable, reward yourself and be sure to tell your friends what you’re trying to do. It’s a fact of life that no one cares about your career as much as you do, so you need to nurture it and make determined moves to create change.

You can download The Dream CV Planner here and work your way through the full workbook; trust me, it will be the best £10 you’ll spend this year.

Refinery29 readers can now get 29% off the price of The Dream CV Planner. Use code REFINERY29
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