If you want to find your dream job, it is critically important to know where your strengths lie. Your strengths are the characteristics and personal attributes that set you apart from every other candidate and make you an asset to a specific employer. If you’re an experienced professional, they are those work-related skills, competencies and attributes that you have cultivated over the course of several years of work and life experiences.
The first step to finding your dream (or ideal, perfect) job is to understand what a perfect or dream job is. There seems to be a general misconception about what a dream job or dream career really is. Too many people simply believe that a dream job is one that is based on their passions and what they love to do. “Follow your dreams” and “Do what you love and love what you do” are well-known cliches. However, when applied to work and careers, they are not very realistic.
Whilst it is absolutely true that you should do what you love or are passionate about, this has nothing to do with your dream job or career unless your passion is aligned with your strengths and happens to also be the thing that you’re naturally good at.
If your passion is aligned with your strengths, then you’re very lucky. However, if you’re like most people, your passions are not linked to what you are naturally good at, and you will have to pursue your passions or what you really love doing, outside your career.
The fact of the matter is, just because you are passionate about something doesn’t mean you’ll be good at your job if you make it your career.
For example, you may be really passionate about singing. However, if you are not naturally good at singing, you’ll never be a successful singer no matter how much money, time and energy you spend trying to be good at it. This is because it is a natural weakness, rather than a strength. In this situation, trying to fix your weakness at singing rather than investing in your strengths will be an expensive waste of time.
On the other hand, if you’re naturally good at writing and devote your energy into being an excellent copywriter, then you can achieve much greater success and excel as a copywriter a lot quicker than someone who isn’t naturally good at writing. You’ll scale up the professional ladder a lot faster than you even thought possible.
And this applies to every profession out there. Your dream job or dream career has very little to do with what you love doing or are passionate about, and everything to do with what you are naturally good at. Your dream job is a job where you can excel and succeed because it is based on what you are naturally good at – your strengths, NOT what you’re passionate about. This is why it is so important to understand where your strengths lie.
Your personal strengths are those characteristics that are natural to you in a way that doesn’t feel like work: they are skills that you’re interested in developing, topics you’re interested learning about, etc.
Strengths include things like internet research, creativity, being good at numbers, an engaging sense of humor, innovativity, problem solving, organization, etc. That’s not to say that you have to love applying all of these skills with every fiber of your being, they’re just skills that come naturally to you.
According to research by Gallop, people who use their strengths every day outperform those that don’t. They are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit their jobs.
No matter what stage you are at in your life, understanding your strengths is important. It’ll help you target workplaces, but it will also help you plan out your future if you are looking at schools and professional courses.
Knowing your strengths will help you choose an educational direction to head in, whether you know what they are before you start, or discover them while you do it. This will steer you in the right direction so that you know how to plan out your education, and then the right career path will make itself known to you.
Once you have these skills figured out, you are able to identify what your dream job is. By simply understanding how important your personal strengths and skills are to the process of identifying and flourishing in your dream job, you’ll be able to make that dream career become a very honest reality.