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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Reinersman

Dreams: Exploring Career Aspirations

As opposed to being fulfilled in sleep, career dreams or aspirations may reveal or influence career decisions or journeys. Practitioners need various theories and tools at their fingertips when considering clients' dreams while providing career related services. Yes, it would be interesting to explore the meaning behind a client's nighttime dreams about work, and it may be even more productive to explore career aspirations. ~ Melanie Reinersman,

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FOCUS ON: Attaining Intrinsic and Extrinsic Aspirations

Aspirations may direct behavior over extended periods of time, such as one's post-college career. One's psychological health seems to be related to the attainment of intrinsic versus extrinsic aspirations. A look at adults' pursuit of aspirations in relation to self-determination theory shows the value of aiming for personal growth, community involvement, etc, rather than money or fame. Read the full study.

FOR THE PRACTITIONER: The SDS and Coherence of Aspirations

One of the first pages of the Self-Directed Search assessment booklet asks about occupational dreams. Putting in writing tentative choices and daydreams is followed by the list of matching occupational codes. The practitioner may want to look at the “coherence of aspirations” or the “degree to which codes of a person's set of occupational daydreams belong in the same Holland category.” Why is this important? “High coherence may indicate a future persistence in occupations with the same first letter code as that of the first aspiration.” Read more.

JOB SEARCH: How to Talk About Career Aspirations in the Interview

Showing a tendency to be goal-oriented, focused on the company for the long-term, and striving to grow with the position, the interview questions about career aspirations should be prepared for. Help clients show they have put thought into it by brainstorming, doing research, and writing with the client. Read more from Clever Girl Finance.

TOP TEN: Dreams Jobs You Never Heard Of

While some people might aspire to be a Professional Stand-in (i.e., the substitute for an actor before filming), sharing physical characteristics with stars may limit this dream. A Chocolatier definitely sounds wonderful to some people, while others may dream of being a Gumologist (yes, you taste-test chewing gum)! Read all 10 dream jobs.


“Having and pursuing realistic dreams is important to a fulfilling life” according to Dave Gallison, of Gallison Consulting. Reminding clients that there are both positive and negative sides to every job, even dream jobs, helps when trying to focus on the realistic aspects. Read more advice and examples of people who made their dreams come alive in Gallison's blog.


“If you can dream it, you can do it.” ~ Walt Disney
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” ~ Anatole France


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