Hunting for that Dream Job

by John Goldberg and Anna Domek

An experiential activity that allows participants to plan an assertive job hunt.


  • To identify participants’ top skills and geographical and organizational preferences.
  • To identify organizations which meet participants’ criteria and the hiring authorities in them.
  • To plan how to contact the hiring authorities and develop proposals to meet their needs.

Group Size

5 to 40.

Time Required

Two hours.


  • A copy of the Some Things to Remember When Hunting for That Dream Job handout for each participant.
  • A copy of the Hunting for That Dream Job handout for each participant.
  • Writing media for each participant.
  • Internet access for each participant.


1.  Introduce yourself briefly and ask participants to do the same. If there are more than eight participants have them introduce themselves in groups of about five members each. (5 minutes)

2.  Deliver a lecturette about assertive job hunting based on the Some Things to Remember When Hunting for That Dream Job handout. (10 minutes)

3.  Ask participants to complete side one of the Hunting for That Dream Job handout. (20 minutes)

4.  Divide participants into groups of about five members each. If small groups were used in step 1, use the same groups here. Ask participants to take turns sharing their skills and their geographical and organizational preferences with the rest of their small group. (10 minutes)

5.  Ask participants to conduct online research about organizations that meet their criteria and identify the individuals in those organizations with the power to hire them. Ask participants to complete questions 4 and 5 of the Hunting for That Dream Job handout. (25 minutes)

6. Based on the research done so far, ask participants to identify the needs of those organizations. (5 minutes)

7.  Divide participants into the small groups they were in during step 4. Ask participants to take turns discussing with others in their group how they can use their skills to meet the needs of the organizations they chose. (25 minutes)

8. Reconvene the entire group. Ask for volunteers to take turns sharing one organization they chose and how they would meet that organization’s needs. (10 minutes)

9. Debrief the activity with the following questions:

  • How did you feel about identifying your skills and your geographical and organizational preferences?
  • How do you feel about the organizations you chose and the proposals you developed to meet their needs?
  • What are the next steps in your job hunt?
  • How can you use what your learned today?

(10 minutes)

About the Authors

John Goldberg


John Goldberg, MBA

442 T Street

Sacramento, CA 95818-2122

(916) 444-3353


Anna Domek is a career project specialist at Elsdon Organizational Renewal. She teaches work experience at American River College and for the counselor education graduate program at Sacramento State University.  Anna has experience working with a variety of clients and students in multiple universities, private, and nonprofit organizations. She holds an MS in Counseling, emphasis in Career Counseling, from Sacramento State University, and a BA in Psychology and History from the University of California-Davis. 


Anna Domek, M.S.

1447 Redding Road

West Sacramento, CA 95691

(916) 595-2377

Some Things to Remember When Hunting for That Dream Job

Many people are worried about finding a job these days. Although there is a great quantity of advice available to help the would-be employed in his/her job search from employment agencies and the like, the quality of much of it is poor. One way to evaluate any job hunting advice is to look at who would be in charge if it were followed – the job seeker or the employer.

In deciding what job will be done, the job hunter must ask him/herself at least two questions: first, what skills will s/he use? And second, what will s/he accomplish with those skills? A passive job hunter will leave the employer in charge of answering both of these questions. The answer to the first one will be whatever skills the employer is willing to pay for and the answer to the second will be whatever the employer wants done. An assertive job seeker (one who’s in charge) will answer the same two questions by specifying the skills s/he most enjoys using and probably uses best and by deciding what s/he thinks/feels it is important to do.

Where the work will be done is also a two part question; geographical and organizational. A passive job seeker will go “wherever the jobs are” and will work for whichever organization “has an opening.” Someone using an assertive approach will go where s/he wants to live and will work with the kind of organization s/he finds compatible with him/herself. Which method would you rather use?

If the passive approach seems like the only practical alternative so far, that is probably because it is based on some widely help myths. Many of us believe in an employer’s market – one in which there are only a limited number of jobs and since that number is less than the number of people who want them that we must compete for those jobs on the employer’s terms.

However, there is much reason to believe that the number of jobs is not limited and that competition for them in the usual sense is therefore not necessary. What we have failed to see is that everywhere there is a social need there is the potential for a job. Wherever there is an unmet need in society (which is everywhere), a person exists who is willing to pay someone – with the necessary skills – to meet that need. Why do what someone else wants you to do if you don’t want to do it when you can do exactly what you want to do once you find someone willing to pay you for it?

The same thing can be asked about where you want to work. Besides, the closer a job is to what you want to do, where you want to do it the more uniquely suited it willbe for you and the less likely it is to be what someone else wants or is qualified to do. Furthermore, if you create a job yourself there probably won’t be any competition at all. Who is likely to be more suited to do a job than the person who created it?

The only stage left in this process (the one you’re probably reading this article for) is how you get the job you want once you have decided the what and where of it. The answers the passive job seeker would give for the questions of how to reach the person who has the power to hire and how to get hired by that person would be to send resumes (with or without cover letters), fill out applications, take tests and go to interviews hoping to somehow survive this thorough screening-out process.

Many people think there is no alternative to going through this grueling process – but there is an alternative.

An assertive method would enable you to meet the person with the power to hire you without all that very risky screening-out. You can meet him/her through mutual acquaintances (“… it’s who you know” – but it doesn’t have to be bigshots), a direct appointment, a letter (if s/he is far away) or by meeting this person socially. However, none of these approaches will work if you go to him/her “looking for a job” (please don’t tear this up just yet).

This will only work if you are coming to this person with something to offer him/her. You must first find out what the employer’s needs are and design a proposal that can meet those needs with your skills. If you approach two or three organizations with this kind of proposal the chances are great that you will get exactly the job you are “not looking” for. Being assertive requires a lot of effort but the results are well worth it. If you are interested in learning more about the assertive approach to career planning and job finding these two books might be valuable to you: “What Color If Your Parachute?” by Richard Bolles and “Where Do I Go From Here With My Life?” by John Crystal and Richard Bolles. Happy assertive job hunting and remember who’s in charge.

Goldberg, J.S. (1975). Some Things to Remember When Hunting for That Dream Job. Santa Barbara, CA; The Daily Nexus

Hunting for That Dream Job

1. What are your top skills (think of a few of your proudest accomplishments and list the skills you used in the process)?

2. Where geographically do you want to live and work?

3. Describe the kind of organization you want to work in:

4. Which organizations most meet your criteria in the geographical area you want to live and work in?

5. Which individuals in those organizations have the power to hire you to do what you want to do?

6. How can you best contact those individuals (e.g., through mutual connections)?

7. How can you meet those individuals’ needs with your skills (put it in the form of a proposal)?