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Here's Why Looking Great On Paper Isn't Necessary To Land Your Dream Job

Most of us have grown up knowing the plan: Go to school, get good grades, go to a good college and get a good job.

Even while we were in high school and trying to get into college, we were consumed with our resumes and the things we could put on a list so that some “good college” would recognize us as unique.

Then, in college, we would pack our resumes with internships and organizations so that someone would hire us for a “good job.”

But you won't get your dream job by just following the same plan everyone else is following. The truth is, your dream job is going to be the result of passion and hard work toward a goal that means something to you. This means you have to take your own path.

You'll never stand out if you look exactly the same as your competitors, on paper or otherwise.

Here are a few reasons looking great on paper isn't the road to your dream job:

1. Your degree doesn't mean anything.

This sounds kind of harsh, especially since many of us are in debt up to our ears after spending four years -- and maybe more time in grad school -- getting that degree. However, it's kind of the truth.

Years ago, having a college degree made you stand out in a sea of other candidates coming out of high school. Up until the last five years or so, having a graduate degree really made you pop among the college graduates. Now, everyone thinks it's what you're “supposed to have.” It isn't special anymore.

Furthermore, think about how many people in this country work in areas that have nothing to do with their degrees. In 2013, a study revealed that only 27 percent of college graduates were working in fields related to their degrees.

If you look at the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies today, a lot of them have degrees in fields that have nothing to do with where they ended up:

● Howard Schulz, CEO of Starbucks, has a degree in communications. ● Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, studied history and literature. ● Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO, majored in political science.

Many of the major players in business these days haven't even completed their degrees. They discover their passions and go for them right away.

2. There is a difference between goals and dreams.

Almost everyone has a dream, whether it's to write a book, start his or her own company or get to be CEO of a huge, international corporation. We think about these dreams all the time. We think that once the dream “comes true,” we'll finally have the life we want.

But there's a difference between having those dreams constantly occupy your mind and setting goals to make those dreams come true. Working hard for yourself and hitting each goal on the way to your dream are not always accompanied by the jobs on your resume.

You can work full time at your “good job” while simultaneously working toward your goals outside the office. It's difficult, yes. It's so time-consuming, you may feel like you'll never see your friends or family again.

But you can do both. It's worth it.

When you're able to see progress toward your personal goals, those resume-padding projects take a backseat. When you've written a bestselling novel, spun off the latest social media craze or learned Japanese for business fluency in your free time, no one is going to care that your resume says you've been in the same position with no movement for three years.

3. It won't be mapped out.

Eventually, your side hustles and passion projects become your dream job. Even if you have your goals in mind and are working toward them actively, know nothing will happen in the way you think it will. Very rarely has there been a story about someone massively successful who knew what he or she was going to do right away.

It's important to let your life and career evolve. That well-worn path everyone is following is only well-worn because no one thinks about following it: He or she just does. Your experiences contribute just as much to your goals and professional identity as anything else you do.

So, don't stress about things not going exactly as planned. The unexpected turns and missteps make you who you are.

The keys to having the life you want and the career you want are not in your credentials or the things you list on your resume. They're within you.