From the mind of Sarah...
My Dream Job: A Job Description
June 03, 2019
Last week I spent some time reflecting on myself and my career and figuring out what my dream job to look like. Based on that, I wrote myself a "dream job" job description. This is by no means a comprehensive job listing, it's just some things I want to see in each part of the job descriptions I read to see if they will be good fits. I don't expect any job to have everything listed here (especially not this early in my career), but if a job doesn't seem to fit at least part of what I have written here, I don't think it would be a good match for me.
Based on the preferences I discovered last week, I know I want to focus on front-end work, specifically working with React. With that in mind, here are some of the job titles I'm looking for:
- Front-End Developer/Engineer
- React Engineer/Developer
- Full Stack Engineer/Developer, Front-End Focus
I'm not limiting myself to these titles, but these are the titles I will be putting into searches, and hopefully these will get me results similar to my dream job.
One of the things I realized when I was doing my dream job exercises last week is that I'm not particularly picky about the company, other than wanting it to be something I have a connection to. But here are some thoughts I have had:
- Small to mid-size (or larger but operates like a smaller company)
- Flexible hours/remote work options
- Working to solve real-world problems
- Focus on mentorship and career development
This is by no means a comprehensive list of every responsibility I expect to have at my dream job, but here are some of the things I want to be doing on a regular basis:
- Create/modify React components
- Work with some HTML/CSS
- Build new features for a customer-facing app
- Troubleshoot bug reports and fix bugs
- Write documentation
- Occasionally jump into the backend or on to a mobile app
I'm not going to write out a full list of qualifications, because the qualifications that fit me best will differ based on at what point in my career I'm looking for this dream job. I do know that I want it to be a short list - I want to work for a company that knows what they want, not a company that throws every single industry term out there in this interest of getting as many possible candidates.
Benefits are not a huge deal for me, and I'm not looking for specific benefits from my dream job. Health insurance would be ideal. A decent number of vacation days is a must, since I need them for religious holidays and for vacations. But other than that, there's no "dream" benefit that I'm particularly looking for.
One thing I am specifically not looking for is companies that use good benefits as an excuse to pay their employees lower salaries. Pay your people fairly. Benefits should be on top of proper compensation. If a company says they pay less than other companies because their benefits are worth the difference, that's a red flag for me and shows me that they don't care about compensating their employees fairly. Providing benefits that not everyone will use (for example, I likely can't take advantage of company-provided meals, and I've spoken with people who are on a spouse's health insurance) instead of salary means that you're trying to get out of paying people as much as you should by making part of the compensation something that you won't have to pay for for everyone.
Where Do I Go From Here?
The whole point of me writing out a dream job description was to help me determine whether a particular job is right for me. If I see a job where the description matches some or all of the things on this list, I'll do more research into the company and see if it's worth applying to. If a job description doesn't match anything on my list, it may be a great job at a great company, but it's just not the right fit for me. And while I know that some people advise applying to jobs that may not be a perfect fit, especially earlier in a career, I've done that and I'm not willing to do it again - so I don't want to waste my time or the company's time by going through the application/interview process for a job that I won't want to take.
I may not have a dream title at a dream company defined quite yet, but with some thoughts about the work I want to do and what I'm looking for in a job description clearly written out, I think I'm on my way to being on my way to my dream job!
(Just a note: If you're someone who has a specific list of companies you're interested in, this "dream job description" method may not work for you - but that's okay, job searching is not a "one size fits all" type of experience, so do whatever gets you to the job you want. If that means applying to a myriad of not-necessarily-related jobs at a few specific companies, that can work out too!)