How to Find Your Dream Job (Plus, a Free Quiz!)

How to Find Your Dream Job (Plus, a Free Quiz!) was originally published on Forage.

Trying to find any job can be stressful and overwhelming, let alone your dream job. Especially if you’re graduating or early in your career, how are you supposed to answer “What is my dream job” without much experience? Luckily, you don’t need to have tons of (or any!) professional experience to figure out how to find your dream job.

>>MORE: How to Find a Job You Love: 3 Things to Do (and 4 to Avoid)

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to find your dream job — not only how to identify what you love, but also how to find opportunities that allow you to pursue your dream.

Jump to How to Find Your Dream Job Quiz

What Is My Dream Job?

A dream job might seem somewhat straightforward — it’s a job that engages you, motivates you, and that you enjoy doing. However, a job is much more than what you work on every day, and one person’s dream job might be another person’s nightmare. So, how can you figure out what your dream job is?

Your dream job can take into consideration:

  • Your interests: things you like to do and responsibilities you enjoy
  • Your skills: work you’re good at and excel in
  • Your preferred work environment: whether you want a remote job, hybrid work, or in-office work, as well as who you work with daily 
  • The company culture: the values, beliefs, and practices of the company you work for
  • Your goals: what you want out of work, whether that’s to fulfill a purpose, achieve a mission, or support a specific lifestyle
  • Your preferred benefits: this includes your salary, paid time off, retirement benefits, and other benefits (like mentorship or even a gym membership) that matter to you

Your dream job may also weigh some of the above aspects more than others. For example, I really care about a job where I can do what I love — writing! — and that has a good work-life balance. I have friends who also love writing but care deeply about working for companies that have specific missions or goals. Other friends care more about salaries; others really want to meet people in person and work in an office. Your dream job is dependent on your unique preferences.

How to Find Your Dream Job: 8 Steps

Ready to find your dream job? Here’s a step-by-step guide.

1. Take a How to Find Your Dream Job Quiz

If you have no idea what your dream job might be, taking a fun, low-stress career quiz can give you a great place to start. When I was trying to take career quizzes, I was frustrated by how many quizzes asked me questions I didn’t know how to answer — how could I pick between marketing and coding if I hadn’t tried either? That’s why we’ve written a career quiz that requires no prior knowledge but still measures critical aspects of your personality, strengths, preferences, and goals.

How to Find Your Dream Job Quiz

Ready to answer “What is my dream job?” You’ll have to sign up for your results, but it’s absolutely free. Let’s get started!

You’re planning a weekend activity with friends. You’re most likely to suggest a…

a. board game party

b. group dinner

c. escape room

d. rom-com marathon

e. craft night

2. You’re working on a group presentation at school. What role do you take on?

a. presenter

b. PowerPoint creator

c. team mediator

d. slide designer

e. team leader

3. A mysterious package arrives at your door. You open it and find an old book with symbols you don’t understand. What do you do first?

a. research ancient symbols to see if there’s a match

b. look for the sender or return address

c. sketch the symbols in a notebook to see what they might represent

d. try to crack the symbols’ code

e. share the photo online and ask for help

4. Your favorite phone app is…

a. Twitter

b. Spotify

c. New York Times Games

d. TikTok

e. Duolingo

5. You’re cleaning your closet and going through old clothes. You…

a. make old shirts into a giant blanket

b. make a plan to sell them online

c. post a throwback pic wearing them

d. restitch them to make totally new outfits

e. donate them

6. Pick a lecture to attend.

a. To Infinity and Beyond: The Next Big Innovation in Space Technology

b. You’ve Got My Vote: Mapping Voter Participation in 30 Rural Communities

c. Close Friends: The Impact of Instagram DMs on Real-Life Relationships

d. I Knew You Were Treble: Understanding Taylor Swift’s Songwriting Process

e. Elementary!: Unraveling Sherlock Holmes’ Most Mysterious Cases

7. You’re chilling at the beach with friends when you spot a lost puppy. How do you react?

a. snap a picture of the puppy and post it on social media

b. look around for clues and see if the puppy is wearing a collar

c. make a lost puppy flier

d. take the puppy to a nearby animal shelter

e. check for a microchip

8. You’re stuck in an airport at the end of a trip with friends and have a long delay. How do you pass the time?

a. offering to get everyone their favorite snack

b. starting a virtual game competition with your friends

c. striking up a conversation with your friends

d. reading one of the many books you’ve packed

e. sketching in your notebook

9. One of your biggest weaknesses is…

a. getting caught up in details and missing the bigger picture

b. chasing trends instead of focusing on what you’re interested in

c. getting over-excited by what’s new and quickly abandoning anything else

d. getting stuck in your head and not taking feedback well

e. taking on other people’s problems so much it affects your well-being

10. You’re brainstorming a new app feature with a team. What do you contribute?

a. talking about technical feasibility and potential new elements

b. figuring out what users will want and need from the new feature

c. visualizing what the new feature will look like

d. analyzing the potential audience and who the app feature will target

e. sharing a catchy name and slogan ideas

11. When studying for a quiz, you absorb information best when…

a. trying to teach a friend the subjects you’re studying

b. trying to creatively express concepts, like drawing a diagram or coming up with a memorable tune

c. going through every note you’ve taken and re-reading the textbook

d. building your own flashcards or interactive study guide

e. creating a study group to share information collaboratively

12. What’s a subject you find easy that other people find hard?

a. history

b. language

c. science

d. English

e. art

13. Your nightmare at work would be…

a. getting your ideas totally rejected

b. sharing a project publicly that doesn’t function as you intended

c. having to argue with someone who disagrees with you

d. something is going wrong because of a small detail you missed

e. having to work completely independently on a project


This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


2. Get Specific With Your Interests…

Your interests are one of the most critical parts of figuring out your dream job; however, it’s hard to narrow down if you’re interested in financial modeling or programming if you’re unsure what those interests are. 

Start by asking yourself more straightforward questions like:

  • What subjects am I naturally drawn to?
  • What hobbies do I enjoy?
  • What makes me lose track of time?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What clubs or activities do I enjoy?
  • What problems or issues make me want to learn more?

Daniel Space, senior HR business partner director, recommends getting savvy with LinkedIn searches to uncover how your natural interests relate to jobs.

“Go onto LinkedIn and type in a word you like — ‘money, shoes, music, numbers, food.’ Look at the results and start to come up with the common identifiers that seem to gain interest. When you read job descriptions, do you like the ones that seem to be focused more on data? Move toward analytics, insights, and research roles. Do you like storytelling and social media? Move toward marketing and brand roles.” 

Once you’ve identified the types of roles you might like, Space recommends looking at their larger career path. 

“Play with different variations of job title and industry, and locate and identify the types of roles you resonate with — and then create a path to get there by connecting with people who are ahead of you already,” he says. “Five years before I got my job at EA Games, I reached out to five VPs of HR at various video game companies, and they gave me incredible advice and remained mentors for years to help me achieve my goal.”

3. …and Your Strengths

Your strengths are the second part of the equation for finding your dream job. Your strengths are both what you’re naturally good at and what you’ve learned to do well. To uncover your strengths, ask yourself questions like:

  • What subjects or activities come easily to me, even if they seem hard for others?
  • If I were teaching a class, what subject would I be most excited to teach?
  • What do people compliment me on the most?
  • What skills do I tend to use when overcoming a challenge?
  • What tasks or projects are satisfying for me to complete?

While these strengths might be more common ideas like math or science, English or art, remember other strengths that can come in handy in the workplace in the form of soft skills. For example, are you great at negotiating with people to get what you want? Are you highly organized with impeccable time management skills

>>MORE: Learn more about your strengths by taking our career aptitude test.

4. Consider What You Value

Your values are critical to understanding what you want out of your dream job. These can be some of the most challenging aspects to consider if you’ve never stepped into an office (or worked virtually), but you can use your experience from working with others at school to help you out! 

Ask yourself:

  • Do I prefer to work independently or as part of a team?
  • How important is work-life balance to me?
  • Would I prefer to work on projects I love or for a company I love?
  • What’s a class project I enjoyed and what did I like about the experience?
  • Do I prefer a steady routine or variety?
  • What work environments do I find stressful?
  • Are there causes or issues I feel strongly about?
  • What would be a dealbreaker for me in a job offer?

A job is much more than what you do on a day-to-day basis — it’s who you interact with, who you work for, how much you work, and how you work on your tasks. Thinking big-picture about these values can help you distinguish between roles with similar titles and responsibilities as you start your dream job search.

5. Talk to People

Asking others about their roles and talking to people about different opportunities is one of the best ways to get an inside view of a role or career path.

“Embrace the art of cold calling or reaching out directly to recruiters and industry professionals, even if there isn’t an open position advertised,” says Justin Marcus, co-founder and CEO of Big 4 Talent. “This proactive approach can uncover hidden opportunities and allow students to make a strong impression by showcasing their initiative and enthusiasm. You can even approach the call to learn more about their field and interview them as the ‘expert.’”

>>MORE: Learn who to ask for an informational interview and what questions to ask.

6. Try it Out

“I often encourage students to embrace what I call ‘intentional experimentation,’” says Zelle DeVilbiss, founder, CEO, and transformational coach at Narra Coaching LLC. “This involves stepping outside traditional job search methods and actively seeking out experiences that expose them to different roles and industries.”

There are tons of ways to “try out” a career without starting a full-time role, including:

  • Internships: work-based learning experience where you do entry-level tasks, usually lasting a few months
  • Externships: observing a day in the life of someone else’s work and helping them with entry-level tasks, usually for a day to a few weeks
  • Job shadowing: observing a day in the life of someone else’s work, usually for a day
  • Job simulations: virtual work-based learning experiences where you learn what it’s like to work in a specific role at a particular company
  • Volunteering: helping contribute to an organization without pay
  • Independent projects: Working on projects to build or expand specific skills, like writing articles if you’re hoping to work in journalism or coding if you want to become a software engineer

“By actively exploring and experimenting, students can gain a clearer understanding of what truly resonates with them, opening doors to unexpected career paths they may never have considered,” DeVilbiss says.

7. Get Savvy With Your Searching (and Applying)

After considering your interests, strengths, and values, talking to people, and trying out different paths, you may be ready to begin your dream job search. So, how do you find roles that match what you’re looking for? You’ll need to be savvy with your search and your applications.

Look at Specific Job Search Sites

While general job search sites like LinkedIn and Indeed can have great job opportunities, you can also use more specific sites to help you find roles that align with your dream job interests.

For example, if you’re interested in working for a nonprofit, startup, or company with a four-day workweek, there are job boards that showcase roles matching those specifications.

>>MORE: Learn about The 85 Best Job Search Sites and Apps in 2024.

Look at Companies You’re Interested In

Another great way to find open roles is to go straight to the source: a company’s career page. If you’re interested in a specific company, you can sort through its open roles and even sign up for notifications when roles you want become available (this is often true for bigger companies).

If you’re unsure what companies you’re interested in but know you want a company that supports a specific mission, career type, or identity group, there are tons of “best companies” lists online that can spark inspiration.

For example:

Network, Network, Network

While getting savvy with where you’re searching for roles online is important, there are many open opportunities you may only know about once you talk to someone in the field. Attend alumni events, reach out to people on LinkedIn, and even start conversations with people in your personal network — who knows what your cousin’s hairdresser’s friend might have in store! 

Don’t ‘Spray and Pray’

Applying to jobs is challenging; it takes time and effort to customize your applications to each role! Instead of “spraying and praying,” or applying to anything you might be a fit for, only apply to roles that fit what you’re looking for and what you would accept. 

This saves you precious time and energy and ensures you’re focusing on the applications that matter.

8. Know It’s OK to Change Your Dream Job Definition

What you consider your dream job now might not be your dream job forever, and that’s OK. 

“Students should avoid the mistake of limiting themselves to a narrow career path based solely on their major or initial interests,” Marcus says. “It’s essential to remain open-minded and explore different roles and industries. Sometimes, the job you never considered might turn out to be your true passion. Also, often people don’t land their dream job as their first position. It can take a few positions or companies to realize what is important to them in their careers.”

The journey to your dream job might have some twists and turns, but by checking in with yourself and getting clear on what you want, you’ll never go wrong.

Image credit: Canva

The post How to Find Your Dream Job (Plus, a Free Quiz!) appeared first on Forage.