How to Find Your Dream Job: Strategies for Success

Stephen Greet
Stephen Greet April 8, 2024
How to Find Your Dream Job: Strategies for Success

It goes without saying that we all want to land our dream job—but do we even know what our dream job is?

Some people discover their passion while they’re still in school, others in adulthood. A lot of it is just down to luck, but if you don’t want to wait around for your dream job to find you, there are things you can do to search for it yourself.

Finding something to pursue is only the beginning! The path involves mastering new skills, building experiences, networking, job searches, and updating resumes—there’s a lot of work getting your dream job.

We’ll help you get into the right mindset, discuss practical steps, and introduce some dream job examples to get the ideas flowing.

The Concept of a Dream Job

The Concept of a Dream Job

In a world where we all spend so much time working, the job you have plays a big role in your overall happiness, but that doesn’t mean you can only be happy if you’re literally doing your favorite hobby as a job. There are lots of things you can get fulfillment from, and you just have to find something you feel passionate about.

Defining “dream job”

The concept of a dream job is completely subjective, meaning the right answer for one person might sound like a nightmare to another. So, if there’s no objective list of dream jobs out there, how do you know what deserves the title and what doesn’t?

A dream job generally passes two tests: the passion test and the quality of life test.

The passion test is all about the content of the job, meaning whether it aligns with a personal interest or passion, works toward a cause you care about, makes you feel like you’re contributing to something important, that kind of thing. Meanwhile, the quality of life test is about compensation, work-life balance, opportunities for professional development, and general working conditions.

If you find a job that compensates you well enough to live a comfortable life, gives you enough personal time, and helps you feel motivated and fulfilled—then you’ve got yourself a dream job.

Importance of pursuing a dream job

A good job can affect all areas of your life, helping you feel productive and accomplished. That doesn’t mean you’ll literally start picking up a million new hobbies and have a schedule full of activities each day. You might like to spend your off time relaxing on the sofa with a good video game, but you’ll still have an inner sense of accomplishment that helps you feel like you’ve earned every lazy day you take.

Let’s not gloss over the fact that a good job helps you maintain a healthy work-life balance, meaning you’ll have the energy for all those hobbies and interests in the first place!

You’ll feel the benefits at work, too. Success and progression will build your confidence, allowing you to take on new challenges and push yourself even further.

Challenges and realities

Of course, even a dream job isn’t “perfect.” There will be boring parts in any job, and succeeding at anything takes a whole lot of hard work. You won’t just happen upon a magical role that’s tailored exactly to your strengths and will never change or ask too much of you—in fact, it’s kind of the opposite.

Every industry and every role changes over time, which means that often, you’ll have to keep learning to keep up. That might sound negative right now, but the challenges and hard work are what create meaning and fulfillment in the first place!

Setting the stage

In the following sections, we’ll look at a variety of dream jobs, from the traditional ones everyone thinks of to more modern interpretations. Remember, it’s all subjective, so you may not stumble upon the exact right thing for you, but you could easily spot something that’s on the right lines.

Look through each one and consider what sounds bad about it and what sounds good—it’ll help you understand the kind of work-life balance, degree of responsibility, and educational level you’re most suited to.

Exploring Top Traditional Dream Jobs

Exploring Top Traditional Dream Jobs

Traditional dream jobs are big on passion and meaningful work: saving lives, looking after people, defending the law, building skyscrapers; all that important stuff. It won’t be for everyone, but there are definitely still lots of people who will find their cause in these professions—which is pretty lucky since they’re all extremely important for society!


As we all know, doctors diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. There are a lot of different specializations you can go into, but the main responsibilities include examining patients, prescribing medications, performing surgeries, and providing preventative care.

Becoming a doctor requires an impressive amount of knowledge that takes up to seven years of education to achieve, and you may need more education if you want to specialize later on.

National average salary: $299,300

Doctor resume examples Open URL icon


Lawyering is another profession that takes a whole lot of schooling and a vast amount of knowledge. Lawyers provide legal advice, represent clients in court, and prepare legal documents. There are different areas to specialize in such as criminal law, corporate law, or family law, but the job in general is all about advocating for your clients’ rights within the legal system.

National average salary: $135,740


The role of teacher is often considered one of the most attainable dream jobs. It takes a lot of care and passion to do it well, though. Educating students, inspiring them to take control of their futures, and fostering both intellectual and emotional growth is no small feat.

Daily duties for teachers include lesson planning, classroom instruction, grading assignments, and assessing students.

National average salary: $62,360

Teacher resume examples Open URL icon
Teacher cover letter examples Open URL icon


Engineers design, develop, and maintain systems, structures, and products across all sorts of industries. You could be a professional in aerospace, civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering. The job is all about solving practical problems and innovating new technologies.

National average salary: $100,030

Engineering resume examples Open URL icon
Engineering cover letter examples Open URL icon


Nurses provide patient care, administer medications, and assist with medical procedures alongside doctors. You can find them in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, or even people’s homes. Through all the stress that often comes with medical treatment, nurses strive to provide human care and keep people feeling safe and positive.

National average salary: $93,710

Nursing resume examples Open URL icon
Nursing cover letter examples Open URL icon


A classic but forever idolized profession, pilots operate aircraft and ensure the safety of passengers or cargo during flight. They plan the flights, conduct pre-flight inspections, and complete takeoffs, landings, and in-flight navigation. As a pilot, you can work for commercial airlines, cargo carriers, private companies, or government agencies.

National average salary: $211,790

Pilot resume examples Open URL icon
Pilot cover letter examples Open URL icon


Architects design and oversee the construction of buildings and structures, considering everything from functionality and aesthetics to safety. They collaborate with clients, engineers, and construction teams to develop plans, manage budgets, and ensure everything meets regulatory standards. Different areas of architecture include residential, commercial, and industrial.

National average salary: $82,840

Architecture resume examples Open URL icon
Architect cover letter examples Open URL icon


Professional chefs plan menus, prepare and cook food, and manage kitchen operations in restaurants, hotels, or catering businesses. They oversee the kitchen staff, ensure food quality and safety, and create innovative dishes to satisfy their customers. It’s also part of the role to manage inventory, control costs, and maintain high standards of culinary excellence and hospitality.

National average salary: $56,520

Chef resume examples Open URL icon
Chef cover letter examples Open URL icon


Who didn’t dream of being an astronaut as a kid? Astronauts undergo rigorous training to operate spacecraft, conduct scientific research, and even go on spacewalks. They work closely with engineers and scientists to advance space exploration, studying the effects of microgravity and exploring celestial bodies.

Being an astronaut requires exceptional physical fitness, technical skills, and mental resilience, and preparing for this job is a lifelong commitment.

National average salary: $66,167 – $161,141


Veterinarians diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries in animals, providing medical care to pets, livestock, or exotic species. They perform surgeries, administer vaccinations, and prescribe medications to promote animal health and welfare. Veterinarians also educate pet owners, conduct research, and contribute to public health initiatives.

National average salary: $103,260


Actors and actresses portray characters in theater, film, television, or other media. They audition for roles, memorize scripts, and collaborate with directors and fellow actors to bring characters to life. Actors might specialize in genres like drama, comedy, or musical theater, or do a bit of everything.

You don’t need to be a Hollywood movie star to be an actor, though, and it’s possible to make a living out of smaller roles if angling for fame is not for you.

National average salary: $17.94 per hour

Acting resume examples Open URL icon
Acting cover letter examples Open URL icon

Fashion designer

The pages of Vogue await! Fashion designers create clothing, accessories, and shoes, conceptualizing and producing designs that reflect current trends or unique artistic visions. They sketch the initial ideas, select the right fabrics, and oversee garment production, collaborating with patternmakers, seamstresses, and manufacturers.

If you have a creative streak, this might be an option to explore, although it’s not an easy field to break into.

National average salary: $76,700

Designer resume examples Open URL icon
Designer cover letter examples Open URL icon

Beyond Traditional Roles: Unique and Emerging Dream Jobs

Unique and Emerging Dream Jobs

It’s not all doctors and lawyers. We live in a digital era, and dream jobs are shifting to adapt to it.

A lot of examples on this list will make you think of celebrities. We’ve got models, famous YouTubers, League of Legends champions, and major CEOs … but you don’t have to become a household name to make a living in these fields.

As long as you’re having fun, feeling fulfilled, and getting paid enough, you’ve got yourself a dream job!

Social media manager

Social media managers look after their client’s online presence by creating content, managing their socials, and engaging with followers to build brand awareness and drive engagement. They spend a lot of time analyzing metrics, developing strategies, and staying updated on industry trends to optimize social media campaigns across various platforms.

National average salary: $56,770

Social media manager resume examples Open URL icon
Social media manager cover letter examples Open URL icon

Video game designer

Video game designers do exactly what you’d expect—design video games. This includes gameplay mechanics, characters, levels, and storylines, and they collaborate with artists, programmers, and writers to create compelling games. Video game designers balance creativity with technical expertise to deliver the most immersive and enjoyable experiences they can.

National average salary: $91,000

Video game designer resume examples Open URL icon

Virtual assistant

Providing normal administrative support is what virtual assistants do, but unlike the average assistant, they do it all without leaving their house. They manage emails, schedule appointments, handle data entry, and any other useful tasks that can be done online. Virtual assistants are often solopreneurs, working with a variety of clients instead of being hired by a single company.

National average salary: $44,080

Virtual assistant resume examples Open URL icon
Virtual assistant cover letter examples Open URL icon

Data scientist

Data science is an exciting, but still relatively new field that just keeps growing and growing. Data pros analyze complex datasets to extract insights and inform decision-making processes—and you’d be amazed at the kind of detailed and accurate information they can gather. They use statistical techniques, machine learning algorithms, and programming skills to identify trends, predict outcomes, and solve business challenges.

National average salary: $103,500

Data science resume examples Open URL icon

Esports athlete

Who wouldn’t want to play video games for a living? Esports athletes compete professionally in video game tournaments, showcasing their skills in games like League of Legends, Fortnite, Dota 2, and many more.

They train rigorously, participate in competitions, and engage with fans through streaming and social media. Esports athletes may join teams or compete individually, earning income through prize winnings and sponsorships. They may also stream and record videos for revenue.

National average salary: $60,000

3D artist

3D artists create three-dimensional models, animations, and visual effects for various industries, including gaming, film, architecture, and advertising. They use specialized software to design and render lifelike objects, characters, and environments, collaborating with art directors and clients to bring concepts to life with precision and creativity.

National average salary: $98,950

3D artist resume examples Open URL icon

Content creator

Whether you want to become a family blogger or a parkour influencer, there’s money to be made in content creation—but it takes time to build up.

All the cool people you’re following on TikTok (or elsewhere) produce original multimedia content across various platforms, including blogs, videos, podcasts, and social media. They generate ideas, develop content strategies, and engage their audiences with compelling storytelling and visual aesthetics. They also make money through paid sponsorships from various brands.

National average salary: $44,192

Content writer resume examples Open URL icon


The role of an entrepreneur is pretty broad, but the general gist involves launching and growing businesses, identifying opportunities, developing innovative solutions, and navigating challenges to achieve success. They oversee all aspects of business operations, including product development, marketing, finance, and management.

National average salary: $64,731 – $75,519

Entrepreneur resume examples Open URL icon


Models showcase fashion apparel, accessories, or beauty products in photo shoots, runway shows, or promotional events. They collaborate with photographers, stylists, and makeup artists to capture desired looks and convey brand messages. Maintaining physical fitness is a big part of the job, and models are no strangers to working long hours.

National average salary: $22.26 per hour

Model resume examples Open URL icon

Online business owner

Online business owners manage ecommerce stores, selling products or services to customers through digital platforms. They handle inventory management, marketing, customer service, and fulfillment processes to ensure smooth operations, and some even design or make the products themselves. Making use of digital marketing strategies to drive traffic and sales is also important.

National average salary: $101,464

Business owner resume examples Open URL icon

Charity worker

Charity workers support nonprofit organizations by raising funds, organizing events, and implementing programs to address social issues and support communities in need. They advocate for causes, mobilize volunteers, and collaborate with stakeholders to make a positive impact on society through philanthropy and community development efforts.

National average salary: $55,592

Software engineer

Coding is not exactly a new job, but it’s only in the last decade or so that it became so popular and accessible. Software engineers design, develop, and maintain software applications and systems. Daily tasks include analyzing user needs, designing software solutions, writing code, and testing software. Specializations include web development, mobile applications, and artificial intelligence.

National average salary: $127,260

Software engineer resume examples Open URL icon
Software engineer cover letter examples Open URL icon

The Journey to Landing Your Dream Job

The Journey to Landing Your Dream Job

Now for the part where we get serious. There’s no point going into this thinking it will be easy—if you’re striving for your ideal career, of course it’s going to take some work.

The most important thing you need to achieve your dream job isn’t skills or talent, not luck or charm—it’s motivation. If you stay motivated, you’ll gain most of those other things over time and overcome any other obstacles through your own wit and perseverance!

As for the practical steps, it’s pretty straightforward. Education comes first, experience building comes second, writing cover letters and choosing resume templates for applications come third, and you should be networking throughout the whole process.

Strategies for achieving your dream career

When you’re pursuing your dream job, it’s essential to always keep your eyes on the bigger picture. You might have to get through school first, or you might have to work while reskilling, or perhaps you might have to pick up a part-time gig to pay the bills during the job search. All of these things can be distracting and difficult.

It’s important to do your best to stay focused and move forward. It’s a good idea to optimize your job application technique—look over some resume examples on the specific role you’re going for and run your own through a resume checker to see how it holds up.

Leveraging technology in your dream job hunt

We keep talking about hard work, but there are a lot of ways to use technology nowadays to lessen your load a little bit. For instance, resume builders can help you create a professional resume and help you tweak it to appeal to different companies. And with AI cover letter generators, you can significantly speed up the process of personalizing every application.

Then, there’s social media. This is a massively important tool when it comes to networking. It can help you find people to talk to right from the get-go, so you can build relationships and find the right places to hang out to find out about new openings. LinkedIn will also help you promote yourself and attract recruiters.

Preparing for a remote-friendly future

A lot of modern jobs are becoming more open to remote work, so it’s important for you to be ready to adapt, too. If you don’t have a lot of experience working from home, it can be a good idea to keep an eye on how much you get done and how often you talk to people.

Slipping into a slower, more isolated work environment is a genuine danger when it comes to remote work. It’s important to stay proactive and still stick to a proper schedule.

Making your dream job a reality

If you’re reading this as a young person, one thing you should probably accept right now is that your dream job will probably not be your first job. And if you’re already in employment, your dream job might not even be your next job. It’s a long-term project and it will take resilience to get there.

You might have to start off in a related role and work your way toward your goal, or you might have to work at something else while you re-skill, build up an audience, attend auditions, or whatever other kind of preparation might apply to your chosen career.

Key takeaways

The path ahead of you depends on the kind of job you’re aiming for, but having the right attitude, expectations, and resilience is essential no matter what. Nabbing your dream job is no small task, but it’s a worthy goal to work towards and when you achieve it, the benefits will be significant and long-lasting.

There’s also no true downside to striving for your dreams aside from the extra work—there’s a lot you can do to prepare, learn, and search while continuing in your current role and reducing the risks. It’s totally acceptable to save the resignation letter for when you’ve already landed your new role.

The most important thing is to act. As soon as you find something that excites you, you should go for it!

Find Your Dream Job FAQs

Find Your Dream Job FAQs
What path do I need to take to end up in my dream job?

If you’re still in high school, choosing a career-specific college degree is often the most efficient way to get into your desired industry. If you’re already working, it’s all about finding opportunities to reskill and expand your network. Nothing can change until you have the right skills to do your dream job, so getting those skills is always the best place to start.

How do I find my dream job?

There’s no one answer to this question, but the best place to start looking is your hobbies and interests. Think about what you’re good at, what you care about, and what you like. You can try asking friends and family, too, as they might have some interesting observations to share that had never occurred to you.

What happens after I get my dream job?

Happiness! And a lot more hard work. A dream job isn’t about finding the easiest way to make money. It’s about finding work that will help you grow and make you feel fulfilled—so they tend to be pretty high effort. If everything works out, you’ll find yourself quickly becoming more and more invested in the work, which will lead to your skills developing and your career progressing.

What happens if I don’t get my dream job?

This is a goal you can keep working toward for as long as you need—you have only truly failed to get your dream job if you reach retirement age without making it happen. So who cares if college didn’t go to plan, or you dropped out of high school, or you chose the wrong career, or you stayed too long in your first job—it doesn’t matter what the situation is, you can still turn things around. Just focus on reskilling, networking, and seeking opportunities in your desired industry.