Is your dream job really out there?
Editor's Note: CNN.com has a business partnership with CareerBuilder.com, which serves as the exclusive provider of job listings and services to CNN.com.
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What is your dream job? Lying on the beach in some tropical paradise while a generous paycheck is automatically deposited into your account? Well now, that's just pure fantasy. Having a dream job doesn't necessarily mean not working hard. But it may not be as elusive as you think.
So what makes a job a dream? It generally embodies one or more elements that makes doing your job easier or better and can mean different things to different people. Here are some qualities to look for to help you find your dream job.
Follow your dream: Some people are lucky enough to work in a profession that actually follows their lifelong desire. Have you always wanted to help people? Your dream job could be working for a social service organization or hospital.
Always had a flair for the dramatic? Join up with a local theater troupe. George loved architecture and photography since he was little. He's now a successful photographer known for capturing the perfect angle of some of the most spectacular buildings in the world.
Variety: A dream job has built-in diversity. You don't want to have to perform the same repetitive actions all day, every day. Instead, you want a variety of tasks to keep your mind sharp and keep you interested. Look for a job with a consulting firm where you are always taking on new projects for different clients.
Work/life balance: For Tracey, an underwriter for a national insurance company, it means telecommuting. As a new mom, the option to telecommute meant that she was able to return to work after having her baby without leaving home. "The time I save commuting means more time with my beautiful new daughter." It also eliminates the stress of rushing out of the house to drop the kids off at daycare and get to work on time.
A place to grow: A true dream job would be one in which your position, responsibilities and salary grew with you. You would never be forced to look elsewhere to find fulfillment in your profession. Look for companies that are committed to helping employees further their careers through educational opportunities and internal promotion policies.
Using vacation time is applauded: For Dan, a senior project manger for a national permitting company, it means adhering to a strictly enforced policy on using vacation time. Employees are strongly encouraged to use their vacation time. "In such a deadline-driven industry, taking time off is necessary to relieve stress."
Part-time flexibility: For Joan, a retired professional who now works part-time for a local retail store, "getting paid basically to shop all day (even if it's helping someone else buy their clothes) is a dream come true for me." And the part-time hours are just enough to keep her busy, without interfering with her much anticipated lunch dates with her husband or visits with her precious grandchildren.
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