When you were five years old, “What is your dream job?” might have been a really easy question to answer: firefighter, pop star, police officer, princess, footballer. You name, you wanted to be it!
Nowadays, it’s a question asked in an interview guaranteed to put you in a mild panic. You don’t want to appear over-ambitious, but also you don’t want to look like you’re happy settling in one role for the rest of your life.
Your dream job might still be the same one as when you were five, but if it’s got nothing to do with the job you’re applying for, it’s probably best not to mention that.
So, because this is a very difficult question to get right, I’ve come up with some tips to help you answer it properly.
1) Don’t Be Over-Ambitious
While it’s good to show confidence and a desire to progress in your career, going into a job interview and proclaiming that you want to run the company within three years probably won’t go down too well.
Pick a role with responsibilities that would be a natural progression from the role you’re applying for. That way, it puts the interviewer’s mind at rest that you won’t be unfulfilled in the current role.
2) Be Realistic
Yes it would be great to have a job with your own huge office, working three days a week for loads of money and having assistants you could delegate work to, but these aren’t the things the hiring manager wants to hear.
Instead, focus on job responsibilities and areas of work that you find enjoyable and show a willingness to work to the employer.
3) Keep It Relevant
While you’ve always dreamed of running a puppy sanctuary, that’s not the answer the hiring manager is looking for (unless you’re applying for a job with the RSPCA that is!).
Instead, keep your dream job relevant to the role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re going for a Digital Marketing Assistant role, say you’d love to have a larger input within the marketing team one day – this shows ambition and a willingness to stay within a particular profession.
4) Don’t Undersell Yourself
I know my first point focused on not being over-ambitious, but this one is about not selling yourself short.
Don’t say your dream job is the one you’re applying for, or even the one above that. While a business will want someone who’s happy doing the job they’re being hired for, they also want someone with drive and ambition – and this must be demonstrated in the interview.
5) Avoid Mentioning Job Titles
Saying you want to be CEO or Head of Department during an interview can automatically pigeon hole you in a hiring manager’s mind, so avoid this by steering well clear of talking about specific job titles.
To do this, focus on job responsibilities that you’d enjoy carrying out, skills you’d like to develop and passions you’d enjoy making the most of in day-to-day working life. This will show that you’ve really thought about the role in hand, your future and how you can apply your existing skills to the company.
So there we go, some tips on how to answer that dreaded “What’s your dream job?” interview question!
Do you have any more questions or any tips of your own? Let me know in the comments below.