Whether you’re just starting out, already building your career or fancying a change of direction, it’s never too late to land your dream job. But how do you go about identifying what that dream job might be? Not only that, once you’ve decided what it is, how do you secure it?

Let’s face it, it’s not unusual to have huge aspirations in the early stages of your career, given that at that stage the world really is your oyster. Many more experienced professionals have stuck with jobs that don’t suit them, don’t deliver the lifestyle they desire or fail to inspire them on a daily basis, so it’s common for them to be craving a change but not knowing what the best option might be. And in the light of the pandemic it appears that many of us have re-evaluated what we really want from work and our career.

Our top six tips to help you identify and pursue that dream job are as follows:

1 Focus on your strengths
You may not know what job you really want – let alone which career path might suit you best – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t identify your core skills and strengths. Listing your strengths is a great way to begin building a picture of your dream job, so enlist the help of friends, family or colleagues if you’re struggling to write down what you’re good at. At this stage, don’t discount anything. Fundamentally, any skill is relevant because you’re creating a skillset that will then influence the direction you take.

2 Look back before you look forward
If you’re in the throes of your career, it’s important to revisit previous employment to evaluate what you’ve learnt, both in terms of experience and in terms of what suited you and what didn’t. The last thing you want to do is to change job or career, only to find yourself in another cul-de-sac, so consider carefully what you’ve done in the past as it can have a positive influence on your future. In addition, thinking about your past employment will also enable you to reflect on what you enjoyed and what you achieved so that you can try to replicate those in your next role.

3 Ask around
When you’re considering a change of job or career, it’s tempting to try to work everything out for yourself, but that can be counter-productive. Research is really important, and who better to ask for advice and feedback than the people who already know you? They’re likely to be open and honest as regards their employment and may also offer their opinions as to which career they think might be perfect for you. Social media, and especially LinkedIn, can also help you here, as you can join relevant groups to gain a better understanding of certain industries and the jobs available within them.

4 Education, education, education
Your dream job is likely to require you to upskill to some degree, so it can be beneficial to commit to taking an online course, attending workshops or even reading around the subject. This level of commitment will impress interviewers and demonstrate your commitment to the new career you’ve chosen. And should the worst-case scenario come to pass and you end up staying in your current role, you may be able to leverage your new skill(s) to secure a promotion and pay rise…

5 Think about your ideal work environment
Your personality will dictate the working environment that suits you best, whether it’s lively and competitive or serene and collaborative. You’ll also know more than anyone whether you work better under your own steam or as part of a close-knit team, and that will influence the type of dream job you’re looking for, especially as we all come to terms with the new normal and hybrid working. Aside from the environment and the level of teamworking, the working day will also be a big factor. Consider whether you’re suited by the regularity of a 9-5 occupation, or whether you’d prefer flexibility and fluidity whereby you can set your working hours to fit in with your lifestyle. And, finally, evaluate the potential for advancement. Is there the opportunity for career progression, for example, or is that not really important to you?

6 Don’t worry, be happy
Ultimately, your dream job is likely to be one that makes you happy, so there’s no reason not to target a sector and/or position that you’ll love. One way of shortlisting possibilities is to ask yourself which jobs you’d actually do for free, as those are probably the ones that would bring you the greatest satisfaction. And if you can land your dream job in a sector you love, you’re more likely to go above and beyond, which in turn may be rewarded with a pay rise and/or promotion.

Rosa dos Santos, owner of Exact Sourcing, believes that Covid-19 has changed the world of work for good, with the result that people of all ages are taking stock and assessing where they are now and where they want to go careerwise. ‘Here at Exact Sourcing we’re seeing lots of candidates at varying stages of their careers who are thinking very carefully about their next move,’ comments Rosa. ‘It appears that the pandemic has led everyone to step back and look at their personal and professional situation, and to no longer accept the status quo. Whether it’s enjoying life or seeking out that dream job, settling for a job that isn’t fulfilling no longer seems to be an option. For us, it’s all about working with our clients and candidates to ensure that we achieve the best match-ups to ensure that, wherever possible, our clients have strong teams and our candidates are placed in their dream positions.’

Exact Sourcing is a recruitment agency in Cambridge and Newmarket, and we also serve Ely, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Royston and Sawston. If you’re looking for a change of career and would like some help and advice, please contact us for an initial conversation.