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What jobs should you take on the way to your dream job?

What jobs should you take on the way to your dream job?

There seems to be some confusion over what kind of job you should take when you’re out there job hunting. Unless you’re one of those gifted few who gets offered more than one job, or miraculously goes from unemployed uni grad straight to CEO, the answer is actually pretty simple: you take any job you can. Now let me be clear on this, I do actually have something I call ‘The Semi Circle of Dream Chasing’ in my job hunting book. As you can see, it’s a not-very-technical diagram and simply shows where you are now (A), where you want to be directly ahead (B), and a whole, wide, diverse area just generally moving forward, albeit not necessarily directly, that falls within the “I’ll Take It” Zone.

The Semi Circle of Dream Chasing

Take time to think about what jobs are in the ‘I’ll Take It’ Zone.

The good news is, once you understand how broad the “I’ll Take It” Zone is, it will also drastically increase the amount of jobs you can go for. Some of which might even be a little easier to land than your ultimate dream job. Please understand, I’m not saying you should give up on chasing your dream job, but I am saying you should consider what other ‘stepping stone’ jobs are out there and worth looking at on your way. If your goal is to be a graphic designer, for example, taking a job at the local supermarket or in the mines, is not really in the zone, but taking a job as a production assistant at a printing firm is. See the difference?

It’s easier to find a better job once you’re on the inside.

One has absolutely nothing to do with where you want to go – regardless of how much it might pay. The other may be not as close to where you want to be as you’d like, or pay as much as you’d like, but loosely speaking it can be an important step in the right direction. It’s in the Semi Circle. And here’s why: you’ll be learning real world industry skills and meeting real world people that can help you get to your final destination. And here’s another reason why you should consider taking a job like this: It’s almost always easier to find a job from inside the industry than from outside.

The money thing is important to consider as well. I once had an aspiring film-maker I mentored choose a well paying job editing wedding videos rather than a lesser paying job at a company making Hollywood movies. I have no idea where she is now, (I’m fairly certain she’s not making Hollywood movies!), but in my opinion this was a big mistake. Admittedly, both were in the Semi Circle, but one would have given her much better contacts and opportunities. So always beware of the lure of the dollar which can end up costing you in the long term. Be clear about where in that Semi Circle a job might sit and this will help you decide if you’re ever faced with a choice.

Hard, (and not very nice), work pays. And makes you a much more attractive candidate.

It may also be interesting for you to know that people like me absolutely love employing people who have done crap jobs. For me, it’s a sign you’re not afraid of hard work. Not above doing the things no-one else wants to do. Because no matter how cool your next job is, there’ll always, and I mean always, be a part of it that kind of sucks. Maybe it will be one particular client. Or some other thing you have to do that is your least favourite thing to do. When I see someone’s worked at a job below where they actually want to be, it gives me faith they’re a hard worker who’ll roll their sleeves up and get the job done when the going gets tough. So don’t be afraid of minor detours along the way. I’m constantly completely and utterly bewildered by people who don’t take jobs because it’s not their dream job. So please, don’t be one of those people.

Don’t be like Sandra Bullock in Gravity… drifting aimlessly.

And now, a little story. Apparently when the Apollo spacecraft landed on the moon, it was only on course a very low percentage of the time. The rest of the time, it was drifting a little left, a little right, and constantly having to fire its blasters to put it back on course. And it did that all the way to it’s final destination – the moon. (You know, assuming that whole lunar landing thing wasn’t actually a giant scam.) And you, my friends, need to be like little spacecrafts. Not drifting aimlessly through space, like Sandra Bullock in Gravity, stuck in unemployed orbit. But launching forward, then constantly correcting, a little left, a little right, until you get to your final destination. Bon voyage.

More reading:
What is the best job in the world for you?
What’s more important for job hunters? Skills, or experience & credentials?
Job seekers: 5 golden rules to finding a mentor

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Award-winning Australian recruitment agency, Firebrand Talent, ignites the careers of digital, marketing, creative, communications, advertising, & media talent. If you are looking for your next career move, check out the jobs we currently have on in Sydney & Melbourne.

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