Most Americans don't enjoy what they do for a living. In fact, some polls have shown that over 70% of people are actively disengaged at work.

That's pretty staggering when you think about it. It's also a little depressing.

We as a society spend nearly 40% of our waking hours working on projects we don't care about, just so we can spend the rest of our time trying to relax and forget about going back to work the next day!

I don't know about you, but that sounds like a terrible tradeoff.

And, unlike most people, I believe that you can have your cake and eat it too. I believe that you can spend your days working at a job that you love and come home every day with a smile on your face.

Let me show you how.

1. Know Yourself

The first step to landing your dream job is to first figure out what it is you would like to do in the first place.

Before you can go about applying and interviewing for your ideal career, you first have to know yourself well enough to know what that career is.

Start with your personality. Take the Myers-Briggs test and examine the results. The test is usually pretty accurate, and will give you a good place to start.

Once you understand your personality, look at your interests.

What are things that you could do day in and day out for 8 hours a day without getting bored?

For example, if you are an extroverted person who enjoys talking to people, and facing exciting new challenges then sales would probably be a fantastic opportunity for you, but working in IT would bore you to tears.

Conversely, if you're an introvert with a penchant for technology, sales would probably leave you fatally exhausted after the first day, whereas an IT job may be an enjoyable and fulfilling role.

2. Master the Art of Networking

I cannot tell you how many times myself or someone I knew was offered a job without even applying because of someone we met.

The quickest way to land in your dream career is to master the art of networking.

Go out there and meet people, be genuinely interested in them, and have an interesting enough life that they are interested in you.

You never know who someone knows, and that chance encounter you had chatting up that older gentleman in a suit over at Starbucks may be the reason that you land the job of your dreams.

3. Skillset Trumps Everything

While it is more than possible for you to get a job in a field where you have no experience, odds are, you are not going to land your dream job in a field with no experience.

For example, let's say you want pursue a career in copywriting.

There are hundreds of firms out there and tons of clients looking for a freelance copywriter to write content for their blog. The market is there and the jobs are available.

But here is the catch.

You can definitely get an entry level job at a lower tier copywriting firm without much experience. Starting out at the bottom and working your way up can be a great way to eventually land your dream job (especially if you are young).

But, if you want to be playing in the big leagues anytime soon, you have to have the copywriting skills to back up your desire.

It may take time for you to develop the skills that you need, but remember, 18 months from now, you will most certainly arrive.

Either you will arrive in the same place you are right now with the same skills, or having mastered a necessary skillset and shaking hands with your new boss.

4. Focus on Passion, Not Money

If you are talented, you will not spend very much time with only a starting salary.

It's ok to earn a little bit less for a while so that you can do work you find fulfilling.

Ultimately, it is the experiences in life that we look back on and remember, not the junk that we bought or the subscriptions that we had.

If you have to take a pay cut, cancel your Netflix subscription, quit going out for a few months, and trade in that new Mustang for an older model.

The world will not end.

5. Keep Your Current Job

There are no guarantees in life.

Just like many entrepreneurs recommend that you build up your business as a side hustle while you keep your day job, I strongly suggest that you keep your current job until you have signed the new employee contract at your new job.

If nothing else, it will eliminate a lot of stress from your life and give you more disposable income while you participate in the "side hustle" of job hunting.

6. Don't Give Up

As Winston Churchill said,

Never, never, never, never give up.

Odds are, if you are reading this now, you do not have your dream job. Quitting the search because you got frustrated will not land you that job any quicker.

Keep your head up high and keep going. If you work hard enough, meet enough people, and develop the right skills, you will eventually get the job that you deserve.

Conclusion

Work should not be something you dread when you wake up in the morning. It should be something that you enjoy, if not downright love doing.

So get out there and get searching for your dream job. It may take some time, but it will be well worth it in the end.

Life is too short to do things that you dislike for a living. Most of us are privileged enough to live in a country where pursuing our dreams is not only possible, but encouraged.

What's your dream job? Now, what's the first thing you're going to do to get it?

Published on: Jul 28, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.