How to Get Your Dream Job Today

14 Jul 2011

Wave bye-bye to boring photocopying and say ‘see-ya’ to endless tea runs

If the most exhilarating thing about your workday is the 3pm chocolate run, don’t sell yourself short. Your dream job is there for the taking – you just need to go and get it. Yeah, yeah, yeah… we know you’re terrified of everything from starting at the bottom, to leaving behind your water cooler buddies, but the good news is, we’ve got it covered. VIVA has tracked down a team of experts to answer all of your work worries. So, by the time you’ve finished reading, the only question you’ll have left is, ‘how much notice do I need to give?’

I don’t want to start at the bottom...
Work woe:
Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. A phrase that’s rolled off the lips of every career-savvy girl who has ever picked up a self-help book, or tuned into Dr Phil. However, what if you’re in the wrong job? Scrap that. What if you’re in the wrong field? Climbing the corporate ladder doesn’t seem so appealing when all you’re thinking about is teaching in China or going to culinary school in France. It’s a nice dream, but changing careers means starting at the bottom and, more importantly, taking a pay cut. There goes that Chanel 2.55 you’ve had your eye on – not to mention the rent for your swanky two-bed. Suddenly, chasing your dreams doesn’t seem so appealing.

Go, go, go! Admittedly, your finances might take a hit, but you’ll finally be able to banish the phrase, ‘Thank God it’s Thursday’ from your vocabulary. It’s a fair trade, wouldn’t you say? According to Mark Garrod, a life coach at Mudfish Corporate & Life Coaching (, changing fields doesn’t need to be traumatic. “Change is never easy, but rather than thinking about being at the bottom of the ladder, think about how you’re going to rise in your new career. When you’re in a job that’s right for you, there are no limits to how high you can rise.” This is an opinion echoed by Mamta Bhatia, a psychologist at Think Spa in London ( “Ultimately, if you want a career change you have to move out of your comfort zone,” she says. “Put together a budget, detailing the minimum you can live on. Once you’ve taken the financial stress out of the equation, the rest is quite straight forward.”

All my friends are at my current job…
Work woe:
Forget Facebook and Twitter, you’re all about LinkedIn, because your social life revolves around work buddies. When you’re not catching up with colleagues for lunch, you’re planning after-work drinks for your team. Sound familiar? If you’re nodding your head, we’re guessing the biggest hurdle between you and your dream job, is leaving behind your work mates. Granted, it is a valid concern. If you change jobs, who are you going to get man advice from when you don’t have Sinitta from sales on speed dial? Likewise, you might actually have to come up with a conversation opener that doesn’t start with, ‘so how long have you been working here?’ Gulp!

Go, go, go! Granted, moving jobs can be a rather scary experience, but since when did leaving your job mean losing all your friends? According to Janet Davies, career expert and editor of, you should see this as an opportunity to watch your friendship group swell. “These days it’s very easy to stay in touch with people, whether you work with them or not,” says Janet. “Look at it this way, not only are you forwarding your career, but you also have the chance to make lots of new friends.” On top of seeing the postive, you also need to weigh up your priorities. “Ask yourself, what’s more important. Is it your friends or your career?” says Dr Howard Kahn, career advisor and researcher at Kampala University in Uganda. “If your social life takes precedence over your work life, that’s up to you, but in all honesty, you’ll never rise in your field with that philosophy.” So relax! Moving jobs doesn’t need to leave you in Billy no-mates territory – in fact you could more popular and more successful than ever. Get in!

I don’t know if I’ll be up to the task...
Work woe:
From The Power, to 50 Self Help Classics, your Kindle 3G is jam-packed with work-life words of wisdom. Added to that, you have a cracking CV and enough experience to run the Pentagon. So why are you still pushing paper in a job you hate? Answer: You’re crippled with self-doubt and insecurity about your own ability. If questions like: ‘What if I’m not up to the job?’ are keeping you in a teeny, tiny cubicle (right under the air con – brrr), when you should be living it large in the corner office, it’s time to do something about it. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Go, go, go! “Stop thinking so much,” says careers psychologist, Mamta. “If you are passionate, talented and enthusiastic, you will race up the career ladder, whichever job you apply for.” According to Mamta, a good way to tackle self-doubt is to list the strengths and skills you will take to a new role and put down in words how each one will benefit your new company. “Take this along to an interview. It will show your potential employer that you are focused on your own development within the company.” And if there is a gap in your experience that might reduce your chances of bagging the role, career skills trainer, Gwenllian Williams suggests that, rather than faking it, be open and honest. “When I speak to employers, one of the complaints I hear most is about interviewees trying to wing it. If there is a gap in your knowledge, don’t try to cover it up. Be honest, but proactive.” Do a ‘gap analysis’. This is simply a list with three columns: one with the experience you have, one with the experience you lack and one with a solution to how you will fill the gap. It could be anything from training courses, to shadowing a colleague for a length of time. If you can show a potential employer that you have a plan of action, it will earn you major brownie points and probably even get you the job.”

I’m stuck in a rut...
Work woe:
9.15: Refresh emails. 9.20: Refresh emails – again. 9.25: Coffee break and mandatory discussion with your co-worker about how you haven’t received an email since, um, 2008. If clock-watching and shopping on is all that’s dragging you from 9 to 5, wise up. Counting minutes isn’t going to keep you occupied for the next 20 years. Oh, and while shopping online is fun, your credit card’s definitely going to feel the burn.

Go, go, go! Ever worked with one of those annoying so-and-sos who seem to race up the career ladder? Responsibility seems to gravitate towards them, right? Wrong. They gravitate towards responsibility and, as a result, snap up the promotions you’ve had your eye on. Here’s the trick. “Be proactive and don’t wait for your career to happen to you,” says Janet. “If you’re stuck in a rut and feel as if you’ve become a piece of the furniture, make some noise.” Janet suggests speaking to your manager about training courses and possible promotions. “It’s important to put yourself on your boss’s radar,” she explains. “If you think they’re not going to help you rise in your career, approach another head of department and get involved in other aspects of the company. Showing that you’re proactive will endear you to other managers and will help you with future promotions.”

My dream job means moving abroad...
Work woe:
While Eat, Pray, Love made jacking it in look like a piece of cake, we’re guessing that the reality is a little different. For a start, you probably won’t have a hunky Javier Bardem lookalike to meet you at the airport and, despite what Jules said about piling on weight during that movie, most women do not like a muffin top. Then you add work visas, shipping costs, time differences, homesickness and a couple of episodes of Banged Up Abroad into the equation, and that dream job suddenly seems more like a nightmare.

Go, go, go! The good news is, the GCC is an expatriate hub, so the vast majority of you have been through this before. For those of you who have never upped sticks, “the best medicine is passion”, says Rawan Albina, life coach for Leap Life Coaching ( “If you’re passionate about the job, you will find the motivation to follow through, no matter how scary it is,” she explains. On a practical level, Dr Kahn suggests seeking advice from the organisation you’re thinking of joining. “Chat to your prospective employer about what the support network is like for new employees. Will you be given accommodation when you arrive in the country? How long is your notice period if you should decide the move was a bad decision?” he says. If you really can’t decide whether to go for it, ask yourself one simple question: if you stay where you are, will you regret your decision three months down the line? If the answer is yes, start packing that suitcase now!