Steps to Find Your Dream Job

The path to your dream job is a process. A dream job is a job that utilizes your personality, interests, abilities, skills, and talents that agrees with your values.

What is Your Dream Job?


As you search for your dream job, you must answer the following questions -

  • What are your vocational interests, abilities, skills, and talents?
  • What are the steps and resources that are necessary to develop the interests, abilities, skills, and talents that you possess?
  • What are your strategies to achieve your goals?
  • What will it take to do the dream job?
  • Will you have to go to college? What will be your college major?

You have received vocational interests, abilities, skills, and talents that lead you towards your dream job. Your interests, abilities, skills, and talents will produce earnings, wages, and rewards.

To learn about interests, abilities, skills, and talents, you must -

  • Assess your vocational interests, abilities, skills, and values.
  • Discover potential dream jobs that are linked to your identified interests, abilities, skills, and talents.
  • Get information on the current and future labor market.
  • Understand the relationship between education, training, and specific occupations.
  • Choose the suitable post-secondary education and training.
  • Implement problem-solving and decision-making strategies, and
  • Solve career issues, conflicts, and concerns.

Career Planning

Career planning is the quest for the dream job. There are five steps in the career planning process.

Step One: Preliminary Assessment

You must access computerized, online career assessments. From these assessments, you gain knowledge and understanding of your abilities, ambitions, aptitudes, identities, interests, life goals, resources, skills, and values. During this assessment period, you will evaluate your readiness for career planning.

Gary W. Peterson and others of The Center for the Study of Technology in Counseling and Career Development University Center, discussed the differences in career planning readiness. The categories were -

  • Decided
  • Decided yet needing a confirmation
  • Decided yet not knowing how to implement their decisions
  • Decided choosing to avoid conflict or stress
  • Undecided
  • Undecided with a deferred choice
  • Undecided yet developmental unable to commit to a decision, and
  • Undecided and unable to make a decision because the individual is multi-talented.

You transition from indecision to decisiveness when you complete the following steps in the career decision making and planning process.

Step Two: Educational and Occupational Exploration

To explore careers and college majors, you should gather information about -

  • The benefits of educational achievement
  • Educational choices
  • Training opportunities
  • The relationship between work and learning
  • Positive attitudes towards work and learning
  • The economy or labor market
  • A typical working day for a specific occupation
  • Occupational choices
  • Specific occupations and programs of study
  • Personal responsibility and good work habits

Sample activities include -

  • Performing career research
  • Identifying potential careers
  • Narrowing career options
  • Identifying career interest
  • Identifying the desired salary path
  • Identifying the working conditions desired
  • Identifying possible educational courses required
  • Determining major courses required
  • Determining type and size of college or university desired
  • Determining college or university location
  • Determining financial requirements

Step Three: Problem solving

You solve career problems by -

  • Identifying educational and career planning obstacles
  • Creating solutions or courses of action
  • Setting achievable goals
  • Resolving conflict and tension
  • Making a commitment to reach your potential

Problem solving should take into consideration personal values, interests, skills, and financial resources. Big problems are broken down into smaller, more manageable steps. Achievable goals result in the production of new competencies, attitudes, solutions, as well as educational and training opportunities.

Step Four: Goal Setting and Decision Making

As individuals, you -

  • Set, formulate, prioritize, and rank goals
  • Clearly state your vocational interests, abilities, and values
  • Derive plans or strategies to implement the solutions
  • Make a commitment to complete the plans
  • Understand decision-making processes
  • Evaluate the primary choice
  • Consider a secondary occupational choice, if necessary.

Decision-making processes include -

  • Developing learning and career plans
  • Identifying suitable occupations
  • Selecting appropriate educational programs
  • Figuring the costs of educational training
  • Considering the impact of career decisions.

Step Five: Implementation

While implementing and executing your learning and career plans getting closer to your dream job, you translate vocational interests, abilities, and skills into occupational possibilities. You do reality testing through interviewing current workers, job shadowing, part-time employment, full-time employment, and volunteer work. You obtain skill training, for example, social skills, resume writing, networking, and preparations for interviews.

  • Adults and teens put what they know into action
  • Performing information interview
  • Performing career shadowing
  • Performing internship / apprenticeship

Examples of Career Planning Resources

Examples of career planning resources include self career assessment tests, career assessment tools, and educational career assessments.


Holland career self assessments use Holland personality styles to link vocational interests to job families. Assessments use a two or three-letter RIASEC or Holland code. Different Holland Code assessments provide information on the relationship between job personalities and key characteristics, college majors, hobbies, abilities, and related careers.

Searching for the right a career self assessment test. Look at the -

  • Format - printed or on-line
  • Cost - $10, $12, $15, $20 or $50
  • Resources that are available - career or college information, databases, as well as personality, interests, skills, or values tests

Holland career self assessment tests are -

Explore Careers and College Majors

Format: On-Line
Reading Level: Youth/ Adult
Subject Area: Holland Codes, Interests, Abilities/Skills, Values
Databases: Occupations and Colleges/ Universities

Self Directed Search (Form R)
Format:  On-Line
Reading Level: Youth/ Adult/ Children
Subject Area: Holland Codes, Interests, Occupations

Strong Interest Inventory®
Format: On-Line
Reading Level: Youth/ Adult
Subject Area: Holland Codes, Interests, Occupations


American College Testing Program (1999) Career Planning Model and The World of Work Map, 2201 North Dodge Street, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168

Burkett, L. (1999) Career Direct Guidance System, Crown Financial Ministries, 601 Broad Street SE, Gainesville, GA 305010-3729

Bergen, Fred (1996) Linking Interest Assessment and Personality Theory In M. L. Savickas & W. B. Walsh (Editors), Handbook of Career Counseling Theory and Practice, Davies-Black Publishing, 3803 East Bayshore Rd., Palo Alto, CA, 94303

Fortune, D. And Fortune, K. Discover Your God-Given Gifts & Discover Your Children's Gifts, Chosen Books, P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49516

Holland, J. (1985) Making Vocational Choices, Second Edition, Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc., P.O. Box 998, Odessa,FL 33556

Kulkin, S., and Kulkin, C. (1999) Career Choice Occupational Workbook, Institute of Motivational Living, PO Box 925, New Castle, PA 16103

Miller, Juliet V. (1992) The National Career Development Guidelines, Eric Digest ED347493, ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Personnel Services, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Peterson, G., W., Sampson, J., P., Jr., Reardon, R., C., and Lenz, J., G. (1996) A Cognitive Approach to Career Development and Services, Center for the Study of Technology in Counseling and Career Development, University Center, Suite A4100, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306-1035, ~career/techcenter/html

Article written by: Dr. Mary Askew