How to Answer, “What is your dream job?” in an Interview

Continuing with our series on how to answer interview questions, now we turn our attention toward “What is your dream job?”

This kind of question seems pretty straightforward, however, you can think strategically about every question an interviewer asks. This way you can make sure your answer lines up with your goals.  Your true dream may be to become a professional snowboarder, but if you’re applying for a corporate position that answer isn’t going to get you hired.

Answer What Your Dream Job with Three Key Components:

  • Consider: what skills are you focusing on?
  • Think about what is interesting to you within your career.
  • How do you want to reflect your values in your job?

What Skills Do You Want to Use in Your Dream Job?

In order to answer this question consider what skills you want to use, both in your ideal job and in the job you are interviewing for. If there is an intersection of those two lists, focus your answer on those skills.  When you’re looking at the list of skills and tasks that are required for the job, which ones are the most appealing? If there are not many intersections between your dream job skills and the skills that you will be using for this particular company, you can focus on the tasks that sound less onerous.  Focus on where you feel most involved and interested in the work that you will be doing.

Related: It’s not my dream job, but it’s worth it!

What Interests You in Your Career Field?

Why do you do what you do? What drew you to your career? What do you find valuable, fun, compelling, or meaningful in that work?  Your dream job answer should reflect all those questions.  Before you go into your interview, it’s time to think carefully about your past history and what you’ve liked about it.  Every job has a downside, likewise your job has upsides. Focus on what sparked your interest.  People are more productive and motivated when they do something they like.

Use past experience to shape your answer to the question, “What is your dream job?” If you honestly talk about a dream job that involves real tasks you enjoyed, that positivity will shine through in your interview. Genuine interest and excitement is a great sales technique.

What Do You Value?

We are getting meta with this one.  It’s easy to forget to consider how your values shape your career. What you value also interacts with the values of the company you are working for. At your best, when you are working a real dream job, your values match with your company values. Knowing what you believe to be important can help make this an easy question to answer.

In particular, evaluate your career values.  This involves the things you value about your workplace and how you fit into it. Do you value a tightly knit team working closely together or is independence more important to you?  Do you value efficiency, sustainability, profitability or something else?  It’s easy to say that you value all these things because they’re all valuable. However, it’s important to drill down and consider what is most important to you. Once you have that knowledge, you can apply it to the question at hand and the answer to, “What is your dream job.” becomes obvious.

Related: Don’t Say This in an Interview

No matter what your dream job is, make sure to stay focused on the job in front of you.  You’re interviewing with a specific person in a specific company. Tailor your answer to the circumstances and show them that you will be a good fit for the career path in front of you.

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