Most dream jobs, provided your dreams are grounded in a touch of reality, can be attained.
For example, if you're a 44-year-old man who has never played baseball, then playing shortstop for the Boston Red Sox is out of reach no matter how much you apply the advice you'll read here. Working for the Red Sox in another meaningful capacity, though, is within reach if you make the right moves.
Nobody is going to hand you your dream job. If, however, you're willing to work your way to where you want to go, anything is possible. Here's what some of our Foolish investors had to say.
Figure out what your dream job actually is
Selena Maranjian: Before you start thinking about how to land your dream job, take some time to figure out what that dream job really is. Don't just assume it's the job one or two or three levels above where you are today, or that it's a job you're somewhat familiar with that pays a lot more than you make today. Instead, try to find the best fit for yourself.
One step is taking a career aptitude test or two, as they might identify some jobs that you never thought of. They might also help you notice some traits in yourself that make you particularly well or poorly suited for certain jobs -- traits such as preferring to work alone or enjoying deadline-driven work or persuading people.
Next, jot down things that you enjoy doing, subjects that greatly interest you, and skills you're good at. Keeping those in mind, do some brainstorming and come up with a bunch of dream jobs. Think creatively, without assuming that any particular job doesn't exist. (You might be able to make it exist, after all.) For example, if you're very interested in nutrition and you love animals, you might love being a dietitian at a zoo. If you love investing and writing, you might become a writer for The Motley Fool.
Once you identify a true dream job or two, look into how you might land it. You might need a particular degree or certain experience or to make connections with certain people. One edge that you'll have is a clear passion for the job, which many applicants won't have.
Network your way into it
Maurie Backman: While boosting your skills and putting together a solid resume are a couple of good ways to land your dream job, often, it's the people you know who will umake or break your next big opportunity. If there's a specific job out there you're vying for, it pays to reach out to those people who are in a position to help you snag it. And that doesn't necessarily mean you need to know someone at the company you're applying to -- though it would certainly help. Rather, it's often the case that knowing someone who knows someone is enough to get your foot in the door.
If you're convinced you've found your dream job, then don't just apply. Rather, reach out to everyone in your network who might in some way improve your chances of getting hired.
You may come to find that someone you impressed at a business conference knows someone who knows the hiring manager, and all it takes is a glowing recommendation for you to score an interview. And if you haven't found your dream opportunity yet, keep searching, but also keep reaching out to those contacts and reminding them what it is you're looking for. This way, if an opening does arise, your name could be the first that comes to mind.
Never stop trying
Daniel B. Kline: Just because a door slams in your face, that doesn't mean you should stop knocking. I've had a lot of so-called dream jobs in my career. I ran a toy store, I served as editor of a top-25 website that created online games, and I worked at The Boston Globe, the paper I got up early to read each day from pretty much the point I could read until I moved away from Massachusetts.
Once I became a professional writer/editor at age 20, working at The Globe was never far out of my mind. I applied a lot of times for everything from reporter jobs to part-time overnight Web producer when that became a thing.
It wasn't until my career had taken a turn into business journalism that I got a response to one of my applications. I was brought in to interview for a position as senior business producer for Boston.com.
Once I got the interview, I kicked the door down. I prepared a detailed plan on what would happen in my first 100 days and showed exactly why my unique mix of experience qualified me for the job.
It took, I believe, four separate interviews and a lot of nail-biting, but I got the job. It didn't turn out to be quite the dream job I expected, but it did hone my writing to the point that I eventually found my way to my current dream job -- as a contract writer for The Motley Fool.