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The Secret Formula to Answering "What's Your Dream Job?" in an Interview

It’s important to be able to articulate your dream job. Not just for personal reasons, but also for when you’re asked about it in interviews.

But, how can you even begin to describe your ideal job, especially to someone who’s clearly going to be judging your response? Just picking a place to start is a head-scratcher.

Here’s a hint: Career counselors like to think about good jobs as the intersection of your skills, interests, and values. That’s a good way for you to approach it as well. Talking about your skills will give you an opportunity to sell them a bit—after all, it is an interview. Your interests will show your investment, and your values can help illustrate your fit with the company.

Break it down into three parts, like this:

1. What Skills Do You Want to Use?

First, let’s talk about what you’re good at doing, or your strengths. It’s likely you’ve already had the chance to talk about this topic a bit during the interview, so it makes for a nice transition.

Highlight the skills that you enjoy using most, not just the ones you’re a superstar at. This is about your dream job, so don’t shy away from mentioning any that you want to grow as well.

Here are a couple of ways you can begin your response:

  • I’ve mentioned my experience with __. My dream job would definitely have to relate to that. I’d also love to grow my skills in __.

  • I’ve thought about this before, and I know I would want to keep honing my skills in __ as well as learn more about __.

2. What Interests You?

Next, it’s time to talk about what interests you.

Think big picture for this. What drew you to your industry? What’s something you did as a kid that’s actually found its way into your work? What is it about your career that keeps you engaged? Weave that in.

Build on your answer like this:

  • I’ve been interested in the __ industry ever since I first discovered __. That, combined with my interest in __ and __, means I’ve been hooked ever since.

  • In terms of job content, I’m interested in work that involves __ and __. I’ve been curious about things like this ever since __, so I would definitely want that to be part of my dream job.