We remain young until we dare to dream. Because life is an exciting adventure, and we shouldn’t spend it just going to school and job, without knowing why, without dreaming of something. Having said that, dreams and goals aren’t the same thing. When hiring managers inquire about your goals (and we cover several such question on InterviewPenguin.com), they are looking for tangible things, goals related to your professional career, goals with a clear time-frame. When asking about your dream in life, however, and you can face this question in both job interviews and school admission interviews, they want to hear something different.

A dream doesn’t have to be realistic, though it certainly can. It should be BIG, and it should somehow summarize the reason why you live, study, work, or whatever you do. Having said that, our dream in life always depends on our starting point. Someone born in a slum in Latin America perhaps dreams of nothing else than escaping the poverty and living a “normal” life, in a clean environment, with drinking water, and a job. On the contrary, someone born in a rich family with great education may dream of attaining the highest roles in society, or perhaps running their own business one day, earning millions of dollars each year.

What I try to convey here is that there’s nothing like an “unworthy” dream to mention in the interviews. As long as it is your dream, empowering you on your way, and as long as interviewers hear enthusiasm in your voice while you talk about the dream, you are good to go. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers, just for inspiration. I tried to include some variety on my list, and hopefully it will help you to come up with your own, authentic reply.


7 sample answers to “What is your dream in life?” interview question

  1. My dream is to make it really big in design one day. Perhaps running my own studio, or even having my own fashion brand. I have ideas, I can envision living this dream, with everything that belongs to it. Having said that, I try to stay humble, and I know that before it can happen, I have to gain experience, learn from other designers, work for great companies like yours. But I believe one day I will make it, and this conviction definitely helps me to overcome my fears and obstacles I may face on my way.
  2. My dream is to help build a better future for my country. We face so many problems here–corruption, lack of drinking water, recent civil war, unemployment. I know it is a long one, and one person cannot change the course of history, unless they are Gandhi or Einstein. But I also know that if I get a great education at your university, and start from there, I can eventually reach positions that will allow me to have some positive impact on my homeland. At the end of the day that’s the no. 1 reason I am here in this interview with you.
  3. Speaking honestly, my only dream is being healthy and happy. I’ve had my fair share of health troubles in life, and I do all I can to change my fortune. Changing my lifestyle, my diet, exercising more, trying to stress less. For many people my dream may seem insignificant, but believe me that a person who was sick for a long period of time would understand how valuable it is. When your healthy, you can do anything in life. When you are sick, you can hardly pursue any other goals or ambitions.
  4. My dream is to have a big and healthy family. To be a good mother, and at a same time a good employee. I know that people dream of all sorts of things, and lifestyles. But I am a simple person from a loving family, and I know from experience that life can be great once you have good relationship with your children and partner, once you enjoy the beauty of everyday life together. When it happens you do not dream about big money, winning the lottery, or whatever. Life is great when it is filled with love.
  5. I dream of publishing a book one day. But not just any book. I want to write a book that will change the way people think about environment and the planet, and then they will live differently, and stop killing the world around us. I know this is ambitious–and I am certainly not the only person in the world with such a dream. But I’d rather end up disappointed trying, than living without ever giving it a try. Having said that, I know I need more background and recognition in the field before I can write any book on the subject. That’s one of the reasons why I apply for a job with your institute. Basically I follow my dream, taking the necessary steps on my way.
  6. My dream in life is finally having an ability to dream. Up to this point, I just couldn’t afford it. I was too preoccupied with my problems, financial situation of my family, uncertainty in the country. But I know that once I start working for your corporation, earn regular salary, and give my days some structure, the burden will fall from my shoulders, and I will finally dare to dream again. Dream about life, family, better future. Just achieving this state of mind is my biggest dream in life at the moment. When it happens, no doubt I will come up with other goals and dreams.
  7. My biggest dream in life is to financially retire at the age of 35. I know it is an ambitious dream, but where else should I pursue it than on Wall Street? Retiring financially at 35, I can devote myself to traveling and philanthropy, and perhaps even give a shot to some sport professionally, such as golf. Not many people have made it, but some have. Why couldn’t I become another one? I can assure you that I am ready to work six days a week for 14 hours a day the next 5-10 years to make my dream come true. If you give me a chance in your company, you can witness my journey towards financial freedom.


Dream big and have a plan

Having a dream in life is one thing, knowing how you can attain it, or at least get closer to it, another. In an ideal case you should somehow connect your dream with the job (or place in a study program) you try to get. You can see the connection in almost all sample answers on my list. Of course, one cannot financially retire early without ever working anywhere (unless they are born in some super-rich family), or write a book that will “change the world” without having any background in the field. The connection is always there, you just have to help the hiring managers to see it.

Dreaming about family or good health is nothing to be ashamed of

We definitely live in materialistic society, but it doesn’t mean that you have to follow the madness. Maybe you dream of good health, happy and big family, better relationship with God, or something similar. At the end of the day, not everyone can become president of the United States, or next Roger Federer. And hiring managers should know it. It is okay talking about modest dreams, especially if they do not look modest in your eyes. What I try to say here is that “being healthy” means something completely different for a person who’s always been more-less healthy, and for someone who had been dealing with some health issue for a decade….

Ready to answer this question? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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