What does it mean to land your dream job? How can you derive satisfaction from your work? Believe it or not, landing your dream starts with learning about yourself and identifying occupations that interest you followed up with appropriate training and education.

Landing your dream job begins with the basics. It’s essential to explore your degree of confidence in your current skills as well as your degree of confidence in learning new ones. It’s also essential to balance both your interests and skills with your personal work values, which are the foundational principles or standards that you consider important to help you choose an appropriate workplace. Let’s explore three approaches to finding the dream job that’s right for you.

Explore your interests – what do you like to do?

By taking an interest assessment like the Kuder Career Interests Assessment®, you can learn about activities that interest you because it measures personality traits that relate to careers and occupations.

John Holland, a famous career development psychologist, identified that if you match your occupation to your personality traits, you will feel more satisfied and fulfilled in your career (Weinrach, 1996). A career interest assessment allows you to understand how your interests tie into available occupations and careers. In addition, you can then compare those occupations by tasks and conditions, education and experience, and their potential salary and future outlook. This comparison will help you discover information about your dream so you can make informed decisions about landing it.

Identify your skills confidence – what do you believe you’re good at doing?

In addition to identifying occupations that you’re interested in pursuing, you should explore how confident you are in accomplishing the tasks and activities that you would perform in your dream job. The Kuder Skills Confidence Assessment® helps you determine which tasks you have experience doing and how confident you are in accomplishing those tasks.

Identifying your confidence in learning new skills helps you determine whether you believe you can learn new tasks as well. You can then compare your confidence to your interests to better understand the types of education and experience that will help you improve and strengthen your confidence in performing the tasks of your dream job.

Learn about your work values – what is most important to you in your work?

Learning about your work values will help you determine what’s important to you in an occupation. It’s a relative value system that helps with choices like the Super’s Work Values Inventory-revised. Would you rather have job security or high income? Is it important to work with friendly people or be recognized for what you? Is working alone more important than working with a group? Do you want to walk away feeling like you made a contribution or have a variety of work?

Work values are best developed by learning about different work environments. You can do this by job shadowing, reading occupational descriptions, and interviewing individuals in work that you’re interested in doing.

Work values develop over time, so although income might feel like it’s the most important, you might find that you would prefer a workplace or occupation where you can be challenged and contribute ideas over making more money.

When landing your dream job, you land in a career where your interests are fulfilled, your confidence is improved, and your work values are balanced. Doing the work to learn about yourself and having realistic expectations will help you land a career where you are happy, fulfilled, and satisfied about what you do, where you work, and how you do your job.

Landing your dream job requires goal setting. Click here to learn how to set sensible goals to achieve success in your career.

Source: Weinrach, S. G. (1996). The psychological and vocational interest patterns of Donald Super and John Holland. Journal of Counseling & Development, 75(1), 5-16. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6676.1996.tb02309.x
This article originally appeared in the Kuder Blog September 17, 2015