3 Steps to Navigating the Path to Your Dream Job
Planning for the future often includes a career to be excited about. With the day to day grind many people learn to live with, dreams for a more fulfilling job often remain just that – dreams.
Fear, doubt, financial worries, and other commitments make following that dream more of a nightmare. But it's really not that scary. With the right tools to navigate the path to a job that you've only dreamed of, a bright tomorrow awaits just like the one that follows even the worst nightmare.
Three steps to a job that is right up your alley can be yours if you really want it. It's time to wake up and make your dream job a reality.
If you have a dream job, it's time to take your life by the reins and make it come true as soon as you can. That means making the move starting now. Yes, now. Not after you've put in another year at your current company. Not after you've landed your Master's. Not next Monday. The longer you prolong the kickoff to the new you, the more reasons you'll come up with that you're not quite ready.
But starting now doesn't mean "poof," you'll have a new job. Starting now means putting forth a genuine effort to make it eventually happen. This can mean updating your resume, giving yourself a timeline, creating a blog or website, or even getting a new wardrobe that better suits (no pun intended) your new endeavor.
Take courses or seminars that will improve your education and offer to intern or be mentored in the field. Learn all you can about this job and create a path to direct you there. Even if you only have an hour a day to put towards this goal, it's better than doing nothing at all. It may take time, but the sooner you get going, the sooner you'll get there.
As per Monster, "Don't be deterred by a lack of experience. Twenty- and thirty-somethings have more flexibility when it comes to test-driving different careers. The process of self-discovery is much easier when you're unencumbered by family responsibilities and substantial financial burdens, and when you haven't yet reached a level in a career where it's tougher to turn back. That said, it's never too late to pursue your passion."
Have a Clear Objective
In order to land your dream job, you need to know what it is. If you aren't able to pinpoint your goal, you may not ever be able to score. For instance, if you're currently working in finance but dream to do something more creative, that's a good start, but there are many jobs that require creative skills – a baker, a jazz musician, a digital artist, even a dog groomer. Where do you fit in?
According to Fortune, "Before you network, and certainly before you step into an interview, know your goals and what you're dreaming to do. That sounds like a no-brainer, but our experts say the No. 1 mistake job seekers make is not being able to articulate what kind of job they want."
Asses your talents and interests carefully and honestly. If your dream job is to become a marriage counselor, are you willing and able to put in the years of work required? Do you have a well-suited personality and proper schooling necessary for this career? As per The Muse, "Once you figure out what you want, it's time to string that together with your skills and past experience in a way that makes sense for your next position. Knowing your story well enough to tell it forward and backward won't just help you in the interview, it'll help you with your application materials and networking efforts."
Monster adds, "Take time to do a self-assessment of your values, how you like to work and what you'd be compelled to do even if you never got paid. Research careers and industries that map to your skills and interests."
Once you've honed in on a career that fits your requirements, you'll be better able to take the appropriate steps to make it there. A clear objective will yield a clear mind - one that will be able to focus on the prize – your dream job.
As per Business News Daily, "Realizing what you want is a major step, but you should keep the momentum going by reaching out to the right people who can help you, said Courtney Kirschbaum, a career and life coach and founder of online training company Original Experience."
People who are excited about their jobs are eager to share their passion and knowledge with like-minded and enthusiastic people. Talk to as many people you can in the field. There is so much to learn and every person has something unique to bring to the table. And get out there and actually meet people – in person – whenever possible. Robert Walters Career Advice advises, "As much as social media and the ease of email make it tempting to network from home in your sweats, nothing replaces the connection of a good old fashioned face-to-face. Find out about industry events, Meetups and social opportunities to mingle with those who already run in the professional crowds you're trying to break into."
While you may not be quite ready to get to work yet, these connections will be of great value once you're prepared to apply for jobs in the field. Always stay in contact with the people who've impressed you the most and be willing to go the extra mile to show them you're a hard and dedicated worker. Stand out and you'll be memorable and taken seriously. Those who've already realized their dream can be your stepping stone to reaching yours.
Work can be purposeful and exhilarating. It's time to make your dreams come true.
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!