Throughout this series I’m going to take you step-by-step through the process of finding a job in a career that you will love, how to get that job, and how to make the most money possible in that field. In part 3, I’m going to show you step-by-step how to meet the requirements for your career.

How to Qualify for Your Dream Job and Career

How to Qualify for Your Dream Job and Career

We’re making some progress! If you’ve been following along in this career series, you now know what career path you want to take. You know it’s a good fit for you, there is money to be made, and jobs to be found in that career path.

Now, it’s time to get prepared for that career path.

Don’t let the qualifications required for that career path deter you. The most important thing you can do is find a career that will make you happy. Ignore the pay. As long as you make enough to meet your needs, happiness is more important than money.

For example, don’t become a doctor just because their salaries are high. Money doesn’t create happiness after a certain point.

You need to do what you enjoy and makes you happy.


Studies have shown that once you begin to make $75,000 per year (depends on your state), your happiness doesn’t increase as your income increases.

Income and Happiness by State

Income and Happiness by State

Huffington Post broke the study down into great detail here.

The old saying is true, money doesn’t buy happiness!

You know all those millionaires you see in the news, they’re not any happier than someone making $100,000 per year. Some will even admit it.

If fact, the more money you have, the more problems it can create. It’s not really all it’s cracked up to be.

Once you’ve met your basic needs, you’ve eliminated the stress of lack of money, and have what you need and even some things you want, that next big purchase won’t make you much happier.

Here is a breakdown by state:

Income and Happiness by State

Income and Happiness by State

I can vouch for this first hand. In my career, I was very motivated to become a C level executive. I wanted to reach that six figure salary.

Once I reached $75,000 in my career, I had more money than I needed. I’m not very materialistic and don’t aspire to buy things like Mercedes or designer clothes. I’m happy.

After I hit that point, I no longer wanted to go for that C level job and take on more stress and work hours simply because I’m happy where I’m at.

I’m not saying to not chase your dream if it will make you happy. If a high paying, high level job will make you happy, go for it!

Bottom line, focus on a career that will make you happy, over a career focused on making money.


So, getting back to Krista’s story…

She is looking at a career path in business. Possibly as a business analyst, auditor, maybe even marketing.

She knows after doing some research that these jobs are generally requiring a 4 year degree (bachelor’s degree in business), a couple years of experience preferably, and no certifications or licenses for an entry level job.

Luckily, she is already working on obtaining her 4 year degree in business (Bachelor’s of Business Administration). She is currently in her Junior year and inching closer to the end every day.

For experience she just happens to be in the perfect position to do an intern position. Intern positions are a great way to build up some experience in a career, while in college before even applying for that full time entry level job.

Here’s how you can do the same research on your own career path.


Unfortunately, there is no app that will let you type in a career name and find out exactly what you will need to be considered for a role in that career.

However, there is an app that will help. I’m going to pull up my trusty Indeed app again. You can bring up the website or the app.



With Indeed you can enter the career field and look at the list of jobs. Pull up at least 3 job listings for your career.

Take note of what the requirements are for the position. Most roles will require 3 things:

  • A certain level of education

  • A certain number of years of experience

  • A license(s) and / or certification(s)

After looking at 3 positions you should see a trend.

What level of education are they requiring? How many years of experience are needed? Do you need any licenses or certifications to do this?

Another aspect you need to research is the career path you need to take. For example, in IT a common career path is:

  • College

  • IT Help Desk

  • IT Speciality like Security, Servers, Networking

Basically, this just means you don’t immediately jump into a high level job. You will often have to start out as in intern or other entry level position in that career field and will begin to build up experience before entering the specialty position.


What kind of education does this career require? Here are some common education requirements:

  • High school diploma / GED

  • 2 Year Degree

  • 4 Year Degree

  • Master's Degree

  • PHD

As of right now, businesses put a lot of credibility into post high school education. If you’re career requires a 4 year degree and you don’t have one, get started!

I know it’s hard and it’s a pain, but it will be so worth it in the long run. You will live a more financially comfortable life and you will be happier.

I know it’s expensive, but there are a lot of options.

Sign up for FAFSA to get financial aid such as financial grants. Student loans are also available from FAFSA, but only use them as a last resort.


Experience is one of those requirements that can be hard to get if you don’t have any in the first place, but there are ways around this:


If you are in college, internships are one of the best ways to get experience and to test out that career you are interested in. If you search on Indeed, you’ll find lots of internship jobs available that require little to no experience to get started.

Definitely spend some time in your Junior and Senior year interning to begin building up your experience and gaining some contacts. It could even lead to a full time job at the company when you graduate.


If you are already out of college and working in a field you may be able to begin adding responsibilities related to the career you want to gain experience in.

For example, I was working in IT, but wanted to move into Security. I asked my boss at the time to allow me to work more on security related tasks and projects. She agreed and I was immediately beginning to build experience working with security.


If you are already working, but in a career totally unrelated. It may be time to jump ship and take a job in your new career field. From your research earlier, begin applying for the entry level job in that career.

Hopefully the salary change isn’t too much. If it is a drop in salary, it will most likely be worth it in the future as your salary grows and you become much happier and satisfied with your career.


If you’re new career path requires a license or certification, it’s time to start looking into it. How you go about getting that will require some research on your part, but I’ll give you a real life example of how I obtained my certification.

When I decided to go into the IT Security field, I found that the most common certification requirement was the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional).



After a little googling, I found out that the certification was distributed by an organization called ISC2 and they listed the requirements.

To get it, I need to:

  • Take and pass a test of 250 questions

  • Obtain 5 years of experience

I immediately starting studying for the test with a study guide and asked my work to give me responsibilities that would provide experience in security.

It was a long path, but it paid off in the end.


Ok, let’s wrap this up. Here’s what you need to do to begin preparing for your new career:

  • Research your ideal career path on Indeed to find out:

    • What level of education you will need

    • How many years of experience you will need

    • What licenses or certifications are needed

  • Google / Research what is the normal career path for your ideal career

  • Get started now on the education requirements

  • Get started now on the experience requirements

  • Get started now on the certification and / or license requirements

Get started today! Don’t wait until tomorrow. Take action or your dreams will never come true and you will regret it the rest of your life.

David Shepherd