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How to find job that's no pipe dream
update on Friday, March 4, 2011

Most people talk about their dream job, but often have no clear idea how to go about finding it. There are no quick and easy answers, but a few simple steps will definitely help.

Firstly, list your skills. Consider more than work-related experience and academic qualifications. You should also think about other talents, hobbies, interests and achievements, and the kind of jobs people have in those areas.

Secondly, describe your personality. This helps bring a touch of realism to various career ambitions. For example, if you have an eye for detail or generally prefer to work on your own, that automatically tells you certain roles just won't feel right.

Thirdly, set out your main priorities for the next few years. Many people feel obliged to say the important things are money, promotions, and constant new challenges, but that can be a delusion if pursuing those means too little time with family or friends, and health problems due to overwork.

The final step usually helps define what your dream job isn't. This might relate to personal values and strongly-held principles that you deem non-negotiable.

For instance, some jobs require regular travel and certain companies expect staff to "bend the rules" a little. If that's not for you, then look elsewhere.

After doing all these, you may already have a loose description of your potential dream job. With that, you are ready to take the next step.

Emma Charnock, regional director, Hays Hong Kong & China

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