When my LYJ (Love Your Job) Search class starts on Monday, I will be asking participants to draft a description of their ideal job. The clarity that results from this exercise can be extremely helpful. It allows people to better articulate what they are looking for and creates a level of focus for their searches.

If you would like to try this exercise, know that you can tear it up and re-write the whole thing at any moment. Understand that nothing you’re writing is set in stone and just allow yourself to freely imagine a variety of possibilities. Include a list of 10 possible dream companies after you have written your description. This is a key part of the exercise especially as you begin to share what you’re looking for with others. Here is the assignment with a sample from an LYJ alumna to get you started:

Write a one-page proposal of your ideal work setting. Title the document, YourName’s Dream Job, Inc. This should include location, lighting, space, hours, people, boss, leadership, types of projects you get to work on, subject matter, types of activities. At the bottom, list 10 potential companies/organizations that would be a dream to work at.



Write everyday. Research latest news topics and developments in my field, including news sources, medical and health journals, blogs. Analyze policy developments for their potential impact in my field. Speak about the mission and activities of my organization/company to potential investors or media.


Responsible, progressive national and state policy. Social justice. Environmental justice. Promoting health. Evaluating areas for improvement in health programming. Advancing health technology and/or access.


Work closely with one main mentor/supervisor under minimal supervision. Weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss progress, suggestions, questions, next steps. Mentor/supervisor offers constructive criticism and praise freely and simply. Daily working environment does not include check-ins or micromanaging, but rather is a relationship of mutual trust to work simultaneously and separately in a coordinated fashion. Independence.


New York, NY. Beautiful section of the city with healthy, affordable lunch spots and nearby green space. Reasonably close to where I live / reasonable commute. Clean, open, modern building with plants, lots of natural light, and sustainable materials. Office with a door and big desk. Gym onsite!


Although in a “dream” type situation, the sky is the limit, salary for this description would be enough for me to comfortably pay back my monthly student loan payments, have a nice one-bedroom apartment, maintain my current lifestyle (buying good food, traveling occasionally, updating wardrobe, not panicking at Christmas time), investing in my retirement fund, and salary for upward mobility in my field.


About 9 to 5, give or take some flexibility. Option to work from home. Shorter summertime hours, longer winter hours. Hours may change to avoid monotony. Work days vary in intensity and tasks.


Motivated, educated colleagues with high drive and excellent interpersonal communication skills. Organized, timely people who also laugh and see the lighter side of things. People who are healthy and have active lives outside of work, but who also give their all for their positions which they believe in. Equal mix of men and women.


Team-oriented environment, with weekly team meetings but otherwise independent working environment. Culture of the organization: goal and social change oriented, forward thinking, streamlined efficiency.


Organization will place a high level of commitment to employees maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Generous vacation time and personal days, which can be taken without fear or feeling of reprimand.


Planned Parenthood
World Health Organization
Lululemon Athletica (higher position or creative team)
Reproductive Health Technologies Project
President Obama
Global Health Strategies

Like this exercise? See Love Your Job Search Class for additional job search support and mentoring. Sign up to receive our blog posts delivered to your inbox by Subscribing to Love Your Job.