Life Experiences Can Help You Find Your Dream Career

by Tag Goulet

Most job-hunters know that it’s a good idea to have a record of their professional experience and education, but did you know that a record of your “life experiences” can be a valuable tool to find your dream career? By life experience we mean any significant experience that doesn’t fit into the categories of work skills or formal education.

For example, if you did missionary work, joined an expedition, or ran away with the circus – but didn’t do it “officially” – that qualifies as a life experience. Your own life experiences might be related to:

  • Family
  • Hobbies
  • Recreation
  • Travel
  • Self-study
  • Social activities
    • Pet care life experienceEach of these broad categories have a countless number of possible life experiences you might have participated in. To give you some ideas, we’ll list a few to get you started. For example, your family life experiences might include:

    • Child care
    • Closet organizing
    • Cooking
    • Decorating
    • Elder care
    • Event organizing (e.g. a family reunion)
    • Gardening and lawn care
    • Hiring contractors
    • Hosting guests
    • Household finances
    • Housekeeping
    • Pet care
    • Planning parties
    • Selling your home
    • Shopping
    • Vacation planning
      • Your life experiences can provide you with a wealth of information about what you love doing. Tapping into this resource can help you identify your dream career. Once you know the activities you truly enjoy or have a natural knack for, you can pursue training or a certificate program to give you a head start in a new profession.

        The first step is to start recording your life experiences so you can evaluate them and discover what they say about you. Instead of listing everything you have done, focus on the activities you found most impactful, either in a positive or negative way.

        Ask these 8 questions about your personal experiences to help you find your dream career:

        1. How do you feel when you do this activity? (anxious, bored, frustrated, joyful, peaceful, proud, etc.)
        2. Which activities do you care about doing well?
        3. Which activities are “want to” and which are “have to”?
        4. Which activities do you find most rewarding?
        5. Which activities do you wish you didn’t have to do?
        6. Which activities are you most passionate about?
        7. Which activities do you enjoy so much you would pay to do them?
        8. If money were no object, which activities would you prefer to pay someone to do for you?

        As you work through this inventory and recall your experiences, you will probably start to notice patterns in the types of activities you have found most rewarding. For example, you may discover that the experiences you loved most have involved working with people, or let you express your creativity, or challenged your intellect. Likewise, you will probably find patterns in the activities you have found to be most frustrating.

        By taking stock of your past experiences, you can lay the foundation for your future dream job. The International Association of Professions Career College (IAP Career College) offers certificate courses to help you get started in your dream job or business. For more information, visit