If you’re like many students, you began school with a mission: to get the education you need to find your dream job.
Maybe you’ve graduated by now and you’re looking for work, perhaps with the help of your school. But have you ever questioned your idea of a “dream job”?
Here’s a secret: Your “dream job” isn’t just one position at one office or facility. In fact, a more accurate way to approach this concept is to say your “dream career.” A career includes everything you’ve done.
As you step into the workforce for the first time, you’ll hopefully find a job that suits your skills and training. With any luck, you’ll even love the facility, manager and patients. But it’s important to remember that your career isn’t defined by this single position.
Here are some things to keep in mind to create a healthy, long-term career.
Your first job might not be your dream job.
Getting into a new industry can be tough, and it might require taking entry-level positions that sometimes aren’t exactly what you want to be doing. But don’t panic! It doesn’t mean you’ve given up on that image in your head of you as a top medical administrator. It just means it takes time to get there.
Even if your first job isn’t ideal, focus on the positive. What are you learning? What skills can this job provide you that you can take forward with you into your dream career? Chances are it’s a great experience, and one you need to stick with to get where you want to go.
Take the right job—for you.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t just take any position.
Make sure you apply to jobs that will help your dream career. For example, if you want to be a pharmacy technician you probably don’t want to work as a receptionist. Try focusing your attention on jobs that align with your goals.
Everything in your career will build on itself. So make sure to avoid positions that won’t give you the skills and experience you need to get where you want to be.
Avoid bad reputations.
Unfortunately, if your career is linked to every job you do, then a bad reputation can follow you around. Did you leave your previous employer in the lurch without putting in your two weeks? Or did you have a bad attitude when patients looked to you for help?
Once you build a reputation as a bad employee, it can be hard to break. To avoid this, take your position seriously and do the work that’s required of you—and go above and beyond when necessary. Even if you’re not exactly where you want to be, give this job your all.
You need good recommendations from your supervisors when you move forward—not warnings.
Move up—or move on.
Sometimes even awesome jobs stop serving your dream career. And that’s okay—it happens. What was an incredible learning experience three years ago might be a repetitive role for you now. It’s important to know when to search for new opportunities. You want to keep your career bright and alive.
A good rule to follow: if you’re not learning anything new, it might be time to move on. Other signs include feeling bored at your job and reaching a plateau in your advancement.
The more skills you learn, the more valuable you’ll be, and the more you’ll advance your career. So never be afraid to pursue a promotion, or to find a new opportunity.
What do you think? What steps have you taken to pursue your dream career? Let us know in the comments!