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6 steps for landing your dream job

Doctors go to medical school. Lawyers need law school. Professors pursue Ph.D.s.

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You, however, want to design engines for NASCAR, or read the news as a top TV anchor, or host your own TV series.

Your career path forecast: cloudy, with isolated dust storms.

While there's no one way to go about landing your dream job, it helps to know how to make sense of a vague career path, where to conduct your research, how to get experience, and how to make the best industry contacts.

Landing your dream job
We dug up surprisingly simple advice from career experts to help you develop a low-risk, high-gain plan to land your dream job.
 
6 steps to land your dream job
1. Harness the clarity of the pen.
2. Test the waters before you jump in.
3. Reach out and call someone.
4. Clear up insufficiencies before the interview.
5. Not a local? Act like one.
6. Infuse interview with passion and truth.

1. Harness the clarity of the pen.
Begin with a short writing exercise to help you clarify this dream career you are seeking. Write down any answers that come to mind when you ask yourself "When am I happiest?" says Les McKeown, president, CEO and author of "How to Succeed At Work." As goofy as the process might sound, it helps you pinpoint whether you're happiest with people, animals, difficult tasks or easy tasks -- saving you years wasted at unfulfilling jobs.

McKeown says that doing this should produce between three and seven clear, career desires, such as "I want to be able to travel" or "I want to be outdoors." Simply match the job to those desires as best you can.

Another way to home in on your ideal job is to create three lists: what you're good at, what you like to do and what's important to you, says Steven Rothberg, president of CollegeRecruiter.com, a resource for students and recent graduates seeking information on jobs, education and business opportunities. You should start to see some similarities between these statements fairly quickly, he says.

2. Test the waters before you jump in.
"You don't want to quit your job after deciding to become a fireman and go become a fireman," says Margot Carmichael Lester, author of "The Real Life Guide to Starting Your Career" and monthly contributor to Monster.com. "That's not a good idea."

Delve in to a new career in a low-risk way by job shadowing for a week. Or, get an internship at a place you'd like to work and ask to do real assignments. You can volunteer on the weekends if you work full time. Not only will you build skills that can help you if you follow your dream, but you will learn whether you want to make the career jump.

Go online to do research. Read blogs from people in the industry for great insight into the daily grind, says Lester. Read all about available positions, job descriptions and statistics.

Suggested sites from the experts:

3. Reach out and call someone.
If you liked what you tasted so far, dig a little deeper for the inside scoop on the realities of the job and how to reach that coveted position.

 
 
Next: "People generally love to hear themselves talk."
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