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Written by Karl KahlerKarl Kahler

25 dream jobs – and how to find yours

33 min read
25 dream jobs – and how to find yours
Artwork by:Lizabeth Zaft
Dream jobs do come true! With the right combination of hard work and patience, you can actually be paid to do what you love. In this blog, we’ll list the top 25 most common dream jobs and offer resources on how to land them.

The phrase “dream job” is often used to describe a paid gig that’s almost too good to be true – it’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s rewarding and it pays well. The work is the kind of stuff you might be doing even if there was no money in it. Dream jobs may not be easy to find, but they’re certainly worth pursuing. As Wayne Gretzky famously said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

In this blog, we’ll explore the concept of the dream job through these topics:

  • What is a dream job?
  • What are the best dream jobs?
  • How to find a dream job and take your career in a new direction.

What is a dream job?

The definition of a “dream job” is quite subjective – after all, one person’s dream may be another’s nightmare. One person may long to be an MMA fighter, while trading blows in a ring may seem to another person like the worst possible job in the world. One person dreams of the freedom of working at home; another craves interaction with smart, interesting colleagues in a gleaming office building. 

But generally speaking, dream jobs have a few things in common:

  • They involve doing something you love.
  • They are challenging but they tap into your unique set of skills.
  • They allow you to create goods or services you are proud of.
  • The pay and benefits are great.
  • They allow you substantial freedom, flexibility and time off.
  • Both your management and your colleagues are a pleasure to work with.

Many would look at this list and say, “You’re dreaming!” But dreams do come true. People often say, “It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.” The same is true of dream jobs – someone has to do them.

So while any dream jobs list will be subjective, changing from person to person, here are some examples to get you dreaming, along with related content from Resume.io to help you land these jobs.

Top 25 dream job ideas

1. Writer/author/critic

If you’re a skilled wordsmith, just think of all the pleasurable ways you could earn a paycheck. Food critics get paid to eat at top-notch restaurants, and they’re reimbursed for the cost of the meals. Film critics get paid to go to the movies. Travel writers trot the globe visiting fascinating places and writing up their impressions. Sportswriters make a living attending sporting events – and their Super Bowl tickets or travel to the Olympics? All covered. And for entertainment writers, sitting down for a chat with Lady Gaga or George Clooney may be all in a day’s work.

If you love making up ghost stories, thrillers or romances, becoming an author may be the ticket to your dream life. If you want to write the next Avatar, screenwriting may be your dream job. Whatever your passion, someone somewhere is writing about it. It might as well be you.

Check out these related articles to get you started on the path to these dream jobs:

2. Actor/model/musician

If you yearn for fame, glamour and riches, these occupations could get you there. Of course, as the song says, “It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock ’n’ roll.” Or as another song says, “And all the stars that never were are parking cars and pumping gas.”

But if you love acting, modeling or thrashing on an electric guitar, you don’t need a mansion in Beverly Hills and your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Tens of thousands of people we’ve never heard of make a living in these fields, or at least supplement their income doing what they love. Community theater, commercials and soap operas employ plenty of unknowns. Many models appear in print, broadcast and online ads without ever appearing in the Victoria’s Secret catalog. And that guy strumming his guitar and singing “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” in your neighborhood bar? Also living the dream.

Check out these related articles if performing piques your interest:

3. Pro athlete

If you’re sensing a theme here, dream jobs can make you a wealthy celebrity – in this case, simply by playing a game you’re good at. Somebody has to be a starting pitcher in the World Series or an unstoppable quarterback in the Super Bowl. 

But again, you don’t have to be a star to play pro or semi-pro sports. If you’ve heard of teams that have a “deep bench,” remember that someone has to sit on those benches. Likewise, someone has to play in the minor leagues or fight on the undercard. But one home run, one knockout spinning roundhouse kick, one buzzer-beating three-pointer, and you could be on your way to glory. 

If sports are calling your name, check out these related articles:

4. Entrepreneur/inventor/CEO

Nobody knew we couldn’t live without Facebook, Amazon or iPhones until someone created them. And the next multi-billion idea is still out there waiting to be discovered. Technology moves at dizzying speeds, and creative individuals with a knack for innovation and some solid business skills will own the future.

Best of all, if you found your own company – and it gets off the ground in a big way – you get to be the CEO, the biggest stockholder and perhaps the next billionaire to fly to space.

If you’re next big invention is already brewing, check out these related articles:

5. Sommelier/food taster

A sommelier is an expert in fine wine, and how do you think they became such connoisseurs? By experience! Sommeliers, also known as wine stewards, typically work in high-end restaurants, helping to choose the wines that are served and specializing in advising diners on food and wine pairings.

Food tasters work for food manufacturers, and as the name implies, they get paid to taste food. They ensure quality and safety, help to uphold standards and identify problems to help food makers improve their products. And yes, there is such a thing as an ice cream taster, who evaluates the flavor, texture and smell of that next tub of Rocky Road before it hits the shelves.

If being paid to drink wine and eat ice cream sounds like a fantasy, check out these related articles:

6. Doctor/lawyer

These two jobs have nothing in common except years of study, lots of hard work, fat paychecks and tons of prestige. A job as a doctor or lawyer is often cited as a top career aspiration for any young person (not to mention suggesting great marriage material).

Both careers require years of postgraduate study, in addition to internships or residencies. But unlike becoming a pop star, they don’t require a lot of luck, connections or uncanny natural talent. What they mainly require is years of study, dedication and commitment.

If these hard-working professions are calling your name, check out our related articles:

The highest-paying jobs and how to land them
Related article
The highest-paying jobs and how to land them

If you’re looking for the highest-paying jobs out there, it helps to have a “Dr.” in front of your name. But top-paying jobs abound, and with the right education, training and experience, one of them could be yours.

7. Police officer

A study by CenturyLink analyzed the most-searched jobs in each state of the U.S. and found one that popped up most in Arkansas, Maine and Wisconsin: police officer. Being a cop comes with a lot of risks, but also with a lot of power. (And as Spider-Man’s uncle would say, with great responsibility.) 

You may spend a lot of time driving around in a car, but excitement is never far away, whether it’s a domestic disturbance, a drunk driver, a bank robbery, or stopping traffic so that ducklings can cross the road.

Check out our police officer-related content:

8. Artist/illustrator

“Artist” appears on many lists of dream jobs, and that’s no surprise, as creating artwork is something many people do for fun as a hobby. 

Artists may work in fine arts, creating paintings or sculptures for sale to the public, or they may be commercial artists/illustrators/graphic artists/graphic designers creating visual elements for advertisements, books, magazines, newspapers, video games and more.

If you’re ready to make art and get paid to do it, here are some related articles:

9. Pilot 

As a pilot, all you have to do is sit around all the time – oh, and land the plane safely. (And nowadays, deal with unruly passengers.) But you get a cool uniform, you do lots of traveling and the airplane food is included. 

Commercial pilots are a highly respected breed, as we put our lives in their hands every time we board a flight. And private pilots are also needed to fly the private jets of all those CEOs we mentioned earlier. 

If you’re ready to take to the skies, check out these related articles:

Expert tip

If you are at a job search crossroad, also check out our Top 12 Career Aptitude Tests to get you back on the right career track. 

10. Teacher

They say those who can’t do, teach, and those who can’t teach, teach P.E. But jokes aside, teaching is an honorable, rewarding and accessible profession that makes a huge impact on young minds. 

There are many kinds of teachers, from primary school to university, in public and private schools. But in general, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate, which shouldn’t be a heavy lift if you already love academia. Added bonus: You may even get summers off.

Here are some related articles to get you started in education:

11. Photographer

Photographers capture images using cameras, showcasing their creativity and technical skills. They work in various fields, from portrait and wedding photography to fashion, nature, and journalism. 

To become a photographer, master your camera, hone your eye for detail, build a portfolio, and network to secure clients and opportunities.

To become a snapper, check out these guides:

12. Yoga Instructor

Yoga instructors guide individuals and groups through yoga practices to improve physical and mental well-being. They lead classes, demonstrate poses, and provide alignment cues. 

To become a yoga instructor, complete a certified training program, deepen your practice, and gain teaching experience. Cultivate compassion, patience, and effective communication skills. Empower others to find balance, flexibility, and inner peace through yoga.

Take a break from a busy life and follow these articles:

13. Software Developer

Software developers create computer programs and applications to solve problems or meet specific needs. They write, test, and maintain code, collaborating with teams to develop software. 

To become a software developer, learn programming languages, gain problem-solving skills, and pursue a computer science degree or coding bootcamp. Embrace creativity, adaptability, and a passion for innovation. Join a dynamic field that drives technological advancements and offers diverse career opportunities.

Crack the code with these software developer guides:

14. Nurse

Nurses provide essential healthcare services, assisting in patient care, administering medications, and offering emotional support. They work in hospitals, clinics, and various healthcare settings. 

To become a nurse, pursue a nursing degree, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and obtain required licenses. Cultivate empathy, strong communication skills, and adaptability. Join a rewarding profession dedicated to improving lives and making a meaningful impact on healthcare.

Look after yourself by reading these related articles:

15. Flight Attendant

Flight attendants ensure passenger safety and comfort during air travel. They provide inflight services, manage emergencies, and ensure adherence to safety protocols. 

To become a flight attendant, complete required training and certifications. Develop excellent communication, customer service, and problem-solving skills. Embrace diversity, flexibility, and a passion for travel. Embark on a career that offers the opportunity to explore the world while ensuring passengers have a pleasant journey.

Is the high life for you? Check out these related guides:

16. Chef

Chefs create culinary masterpieces by preparing, cooking, and presenting dishes in restaurants, hotels, or catering services. They craft menus, manage kitchen staff, and maintain food quality and safety standards. 

To become a chef, attend culinary school, gain experience in various kitchen roles, and nurture creativity, attention to detail, and time management skills. Enter a dynamic culinary world where innovation and passion for food shine.

Rustle up a tasty morsel or two with these related articles:

17. Financial Analyst

Financial analysts assess financial data, trends, and investments to help individuals and organizations make informed financial decisions. They analyze stocks, bonds, and economic indicators, preparing reports and recommendations. 

To become a financial analyst, pursue a degree in finance or economics, and gain proficiency in financial modeling and data analysis. Cultivate critical thinking, attention to detail, and a knack for forecasting. Join a dynamic field with opportunities in finance, investment, and more.

Numbers might be your thing, but these words will help you, too:

18. Social Media Manager

Social media managers oversee an organization's online presence, creating and curating content, engaging with the audience, and analyzing performance metrics. 

To become a social media manager, build a strong online presence, understand various platforms, and stay updated on trends. Develop content creation and analytics skills, along with effective communication. Step into a dynamic role where creativity and digital strategy thrive, shaping brand narratives in the digital landscape.

Get the inside track to social media stardom here:

19. Operations Director

Operations Directors are responsible for managing an organization's day-to-day activities to achieve strategic goals. They oversee departments, optimize processes, and ensure efficient resource allocation. 

To become an Operations Director, gain experience in management and leadership roles, develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and foster effective communication. Join a high-impact profession where you can drive operational excellence and shape an organization's success.

Operations careers start with a solid framework - find your direction here:

20. Sales Manager

Sales managers lead sales teams to meet revenue targets by setting goals, coaching, and monitoring performance. They develop sales strategies, analyze market trends, and build client relationships. 

To become a sales manager, gain sales experience, develop leadership skills, and pursue relevant education or certifications. Embrace strategic thinking, communication, and resilience. Step into a dynamic role with high earning potential and opportunities for career growth.

Sales gurus need to start somewhere. These guides might assist:

21. Architect

Architects design and plan the construction of buildings and structures. They create blueprints, consider functionality and aesthetics, and ensure compliance with building codes. 

To become an architect, complete a bachelor's degree in architecture, gain experience through internships, and obtain licensure. Develop creativity, attention to detail, and strong technical skills. Embark on a rewarding career where innovation and design come to life in the built environment.

Budding architects need look no further than these guides:

22. Chief Happiness Officer

Chief Happiness Officers (CHOs) focus on employee well-being, job satisfaction, and overall happiness within organizations. They design and implement programs to boost morale, foster a positive work culture, and improve employee engagement. 

To become a CHO, gain experience in HR or organizational development, develop empathy and communication skills, and prioritize employee happiness. Join a unique role where you can make workplaces happier and more productive.

Yes, CHO really is a job. Is it for you? Read our guide:

23. Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants provide remote administrative support to individuals or businesses. They handle tasks like scheduling, email management, data entry, and more. 

To become a virtual assistant, acquire relevant skills such as organization, communication, and proficiency in digital tools. Build a portfolio and market your services online. Enter a flexible profession that allows you to work from anywhere and serve diverse clients.

You might be working virtually, but your work is real. Check out more here:

24. Antique Dealer

Antique dealers buy, sell, and appraise valuable collectibles and antiques. They research items, negotiate prices, and build networks with collectors and auction houses. 

To become an antique dealer, study art and antiques, gain hands-on experience, and develop negotiation skills. Cultivate a passion for history and aesthetics. Step into a world where you uncover hidden treasures and preserve the beauty of the past while creating a rewarding career.

You might know your antiques, but how do you break into the industry?

25. Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers design, develop, and test electrical systems and devices. They work on everything from power generation to consumer electronics. 

To become an electrical engineer, earn a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, gain practical experience, and stay current with technological advancements. Develop problem-solving skills, creativity, and attention to detail. Enter a dynamic field where innovation powers the future of technology and infrastructure.

Engineers make the world go round. Is the electrical engineer career for you?

How to find your dream job

Most dream jobs are so attractive because they require a skill we already possess or even do for fun. The trick to finding your dream job is doing some soul-searching about your interests and strengths and looking for careers or roles that lay at the intersection. 

Once you’ve narrowed down a potential position or field that may be your dream job, make sure to reach out to people who work in the industry already. Ask questions about their everyday routine and workload. Nothing’s worse than investing substantial time and money to pivot into your dream job and then finding out it’s not at all what you expected.

Here are some tips for making a career change:

  • Rely on transferable skills: The places where your previous experience lines up with the new job are the areas where you can demonstrate that you’d be effective. Focus on these while writing your resume and cover letter.
  • Take initiative: When you’re playing catch-up to other candidates who have more years of experience, initiative and personal development can go a long way. If writing is your passion, build a following for your personal blog. Want to get paid to make art? Boost your portfolio in your freetime.
  • Show passion and motivation: Soft skills like determination, patience and perseverance can convince an employer that you’d be a pleasure to work with and train in the role.

Key takeaways:

  • Dream jobs are generally considered to be paid positions that align with one’s interests, skillset and workstyle – making them the ideal form of employment.
  • Pro athlete, writer, actor, sommelier and doctor are considered some of the most common dream jobs.
  • To land into your dream job after working in a different field, consider focusing on your transferable skills and personal projects that show passion and motivation.
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