What's better -- dream job, or dream company?

  • Article by: MATT KRUMRIE , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: August 15, 2011 - 11:13 AM

Dear Matt: I read that job seekers shouldn't worry about the title or the position of a job, but instead should look to work for companies they believe in and would like to work for. I tend to disagree -- I look for jobs in my career path and of interest to me first, company second. What is the best approach?

Matt says: I remember growing up and hearing my elders talk about someone's job. They would say, "Oh, she works for the state." To me that meant she had a great job, no matter what job she had. It's the same with people who work at many of the well-known companies in the Twin Cities. Once people hear someone works at 3M or General Mills, for example, they don't seem to care what their job is, they just assume that person has a good job because of the strong reputation of those companies.

What it really comes down to, though, is what will eventually make you happy and keep you motivated to go to work every day. That differs for everyone. Some people love their work and have a passion for what they do, even though their salary or benefits may not be what they hoped for. Others may not be passionate about their work, but understand at the end of the day, they make a good living, have benefits and are on track to retire some day.

"You could go to work every day to do a job that you dislike or not in your field but make it worthwhile because it's for a company you admire," says Danielle Micek, a recruiter with Top Career Solutions/Doherty Employment Group in Edina (toptalentmn.com). "Or you could find a position in your field that you enjoy doing but maybe it's with a company you don't enjoy doing it for. Ultimately, which is more important to you?"

It's great to chase the heavily publicized and sought after companies, but you still need to put together a targeted job search that shows you have the skills and talent that particular company would want. Because if you know it's a good company to work for, then so does everyone else -- and those well-known companies probably have even more people applying to work for them than other businesses.

"It's more effective to search for the opportunity that closely fits your credentials than to throw your name in the hat and apply for every job with a company just because you want to work there," said Micek. "But there is nothing wrong with seeking out certain companies that you have strong interest in, or strive to work for one day. Everyone should have a dream gig or company. Follow them closely and wait for the appropriate opportunity to make it happen."

Matt Krumrie is a Twin Cities freelance writer specializing in career advice.

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