How To Answer: What Is Your Dream Job?

February 10, 2022 Catherine Tacopina

“What is your dream job?”

Chances are, you’ve been asked this question before in an interview. However, it certainly isn’t an easy one to answer! With so many potential options, how can you possibly get started?

The key to preparing a successful answer is to understand why an employer is asking it in the first place. They want to understand your skillset, level of motivation, values, and overall interests. The hiring manager doesn’t need you to repeat their job description back to them, but they’d like to see that you are the right fit.

So, what’s the best way to answer “what is your dream job?” Here’s how you should approach it:

Tailor your answer to apply to the current job

A key strategy to use during your job search is to customize your resume based on the role you’re applying to in order to stand out. The same should apply when coming up with an answer about what your dream job is. As you start to put an answer together, go over the responsibilities and qualifications in the job listing and see how they compare to what you’re looking for. Additionally, you can also do some company research and include how the company’s culture and values align with your own in your answer. Read also: The Complete Guide To Company Research

Don’t limit yourself to a specific job title

When you’re asked about what your dream job is, you may be tempted to make a joke and say something completely unrelated to the actual job like ‘zoologist’ or ‘professional video game player.’ While the hiring manager may get a kick out of a response like that, it’s not really what they want you to answer with. At the same time, you want to be careful about being too literal. Instead of simply repeating their job description back to them, they’re expecting you to talk about what elements of a job are most meaningful to you. This is exactly when you’d want to utilize the strategies outlined in the previous point to craft your response.

You can break this down in a couple of ways:

Your interests:

To show you’d be motivated in the role, incorporate your interests into your answer. For example, if the job requires a significant amount of teamwork and cross-departmental collaboration, you’d want to say something like:

  • “A dream job for me involves a lot of collaboration with not only my team, but other departments within the company as well. While I do enjoy working independently, I find that I do some of my best work when working as part of a group to achieve team-wide or company goals.”

Your current strengths:

It’s normal to feel stumped by an open-ended question like ‘what is your dream job.’ If you’re struggling to come up with an answer, another good place to start is by thinking about your previous roles and how you excelled in them. For example, if you did a lot of trouble-shooting and problem-solving in a previous role, you can talk about this in your answer. For example:

  • “In the past, I’ve been commended by previous employers for my ability to troubleshoot issues that arose and resolve them quickly. I noticed in the job description that this is something I would be required to do in this role, so I’m very excited to have the opportunity to put this strength to use.”

Create a job profile before your interview

‘What is your dream job’ is a fairly common interview question that you’ll likely be asked by multiple employers. In order to stay organized and consistent, consider creating a job profile before you go out on interviews. This should include your ideal responsibilities, the impact you’d like to make, and the values that are important to you in an employer. As you begin your job search, this activity can help keep you focused on applying to the most relevant job opportunities for you. Then, when faced with this interview question, the answer will come easily!

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