Welcome to “Dear Dana”, our weekly column to give you career and workplace advice/coaching. Please write in and tell me about a career challenge or frustration you’re facing at the office! – Dana Theus
Dear Dana, I have done a lot of research on my dream job (thanks to your tools!) but I have an interview coming up for a job that I am not very excited about. I think I’m overqualified for it. I will probably go on the interview to practice, but I’m worried they’ll offer me the job and I won’t take it and then I won’t be able to find a dream job that I really like. Advice? – Confuzzled in Connecticut
You’re asking the right questions! You don’t want to waste your time or the interviewer’s if you’re sure the job isn’t going to be a good fit, but if you have even an inkling that you could be happy there, I suggest you go on the interview. But don’t “just practice” generic interviewing, use the interview as the opportunity to explore the following questions:
- Could this be my dream job? What am I not seeing about it that might make it the perfect fit for me?
- If this isn’t my dream job, why not, specifically?
Why does it help to find out specifically why the job isn’t a good fit? Because the more you understand what you don’t want, the easier it is to create a vision of what you do want, and why. That way when you’re networking and talking to others, including interviewers, about what your dream job looks like the more easily they may know of the perfect opportunity or contact to help you get it.
Getting your dream job means turning down all the others. – Click To Tweet
Here’s how NOT to get your dream job: accept another job that is not close enough to your dream. Learning to say “no” when the fit isn’t right is important, and you need to do it on more than just “gut” because sometimes your gut is speaking so softly you’re not hearing it. This is how you end up in a job that you end up being “done with” all to soon.
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A while back in my career, I met an old boss, one I hadn’t really enjoyed working for and he offered me a job. He sold it hard and I fell for it. I shouldn’t have, but my gut was speaking too softly, and I wasn’t very clear on what my true dream job looked like at the time. I wish I’d listened harder and not tried to talk myself into making it my dream job when it really wasn’t. Don’t make the same mistake I did!
There’s more to getting your dream job than saying no to anything that doesn’t feel like the perfect fit, though. You have to take the experience you’re getting in the interview (and networking with others for your dream job) and use it to keep updating your Perfect Job Description so that you become better and better at talking about what you’re looking for and why you’re a great fit.
I worked with a client recently who really wanted a job overseas but was worried it would be too hard to find, so she applied for a lot of domestic jobs. After doing the Perfect Job Description worksheets she realized she was a pretty good fit for a narrow type of job and she put all her resources into that and turned down some domestic offers. She wrote me ecstatic to tell me that she’d found a great job in Africa, closer to her family. She said that saying no to not-good-fits, and having a solid reason why, really helped her gain confidence in the job interview for the job she took. She believed it helped her present herself as a strong candidate because she knew exactly what her dream job looked like, why she was a good fit and how committed she was to getting it. She gained greater confidence networking and interviewing for a dream job because she knew she wasn’t going to “settle” – and she got her dream job!
Good luck in your search and let me know how it turns out!
P.S. – Have a question you’d like anonymous support on? Write me!
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