In my post A Career… Without College? I shared how I landed in human resources without a formal education in my field.  After that post was published I received quite a few positive emails from readers sharing their own stories of overcoming challenges on the path to their dream job, as well as some from readers that were given a push in the right direction after reading my story.  I was thrilled to hear that my intended message was received loud and clear: YOU control your career destiny. A positive mindset is a major part of guiding your career towards your ultimate dream job, but positivity alone will not get you there.

Here are five things you can start doing today to help clear the path to the role of your dreams:

  1. Define Your Dream Job: Before you start on any journey, it makes sense to know where you are going, right? Self-awareness will be instrumental in defining your perfect role.  Consider taking any of the myriad personality assessments available to help guide you.  Tests like Meyers-Briggs or DISC will confirm your strengths and assist you in deciding what sort of work you are destined for.  Compare your strengths to your talents, and don’t leave out the important factor of doing something you truly enjoy.
  2. Write it Down: Self-help gurus such as Tony Robbins include writing goals down as a key part of their process. A couple of years ago, I had built a strong understanding of my strengths and talents and had an idea of where I wanted to go, so I took some time to solidify my career aspirations and write them down.  I wrote:  “In the next three years, I will be in a role focused on employer branding, marketing, and candidate relationships where I can impact Schwab’s future growth by sharing the story of Schwab’s culture with the right talent for the Firm.” This describes my role today!
  3. Visualize It!:  The concept of visualizing your goals is built around “The Law of Attraction,” the idea that your mode of thinking directly affects what the universe gives you.  Close your eyes and picture yourself in your dream role. Use all five senses. Turn side to side and see your team beside you. Feel your fingers on the keyboard as you complete a huge project. Smell the popcorn burning in the microwave (office humor!). I didn’t buy into this idea until I had an opportunity to attend a workshop on the subject at Schwab. I felt silly at first, closing my eyes and painting myself this picture. But once I saw it, I began to get excited. It was like watching a movie of my future.  Revisit your vision often and whenever you encounter a roadblock or challenge use it to remind yourself your goals are possible.
  4. Target a Culture of Opportunity:  If you intend to “create” your dream job at a firm, or work outside of your current field, your list of target employers should include companies that embrace diversity and change.  Companies recognized for innovation, quick growth, and top notch development programs will offer more chances to spread your wings.  Cultures of opportunity encourage employees to bring fresh ideas to the table, and the most innovative companies not only encourage, but expect their employees to challenge the status quo.  If you feel your ideas are not considered and feel “stuck,” it may be time to make a move.
  5. Talk About Your Goals:  Over the last few years, I’ve networked extensively within Schwab and have vocalized my career goals to trusted influencers, from my direct manager to vice president to partners from other areas of the firm.  As a result, I am often called on for special projects and I’ve had the chance to work hand-in-hand with departments from Public Relations to Marketing to Schwab’s internal creative agency. Talking about your goals can also help you be accountable to them. Nothing feels worse to me than not doing what I said I would do! Some prefer not to broadcast their goals, and that’s okay. Just be sure that, at a minimum, you have shared your goals with your direct manager so that they can help coach you and ensure you are getting the right opportunities.

Have your dream job already? I’d love to hear from you on how you got there. Still searching for your perfect gig?  Take some time TODAY to begin defining your dream job and creating a plan to get there.

About the Author: Shannon Grimes is a Phoenix-based talent attraction manager for Schwab, and her work focuses on connecting with job seekers at networking events, information sessions and career fairs.

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