MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov. 15, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network with more than 187 million members, today released data about the most popular childhood dream jobs and the number of professionals on LinkedIn who have some of these cool careers.

As part of its "Dream Jobs" study, LinkedIn surveyed more than 8,000 professionals globally to find out the most common childhood career aspirations and how many professionals currently have their dream job.

The survey found that the top childhood dream jobs for men in the United States were:

1. Professional or Olympic athlete (8.2 percent)

2. Airplane or helicopter pilot (6.8 percent)

2. Scientist (6.8 percent)

4. Lawyer (5.9 percent)

5. Astronaut (5 percent)

Women in the U.S. said that their top childhood dream jobs were:

1. Teacher (11.4 percent)

2. Veterinarian (9 percent)

3. Writer, journalist or novelist (8.1 percent)

4. Doctor, nurse or emergency medical technician (7.1 percent)

4. Singer (7.1 percent)

Nearly one out of every three LinkedIn members surveyed around the world (30.3 percent) stated that they either currently have their childhood dream job or work in a career related to their childhood dream job. Professionals who said they don't have their childhood dream job were most likely to cite, "As I got older, I became interested in a different career path," as the primary reason they work in an unrelated field (43.5 percent).

"The dream jobs we aspire to as children are a window into our passions and talents," said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's career expert. "Identifying and understanding those passions are key to improving our performance and enjoyment of the jobs we currently do, even if they aren't specific to the careers we dreamed of as kids."

More than 70 percent of the global professionals surveyed said that the most important characteristic of a dream job is "taking pleasure in your work." In second place was, "Helping others" (eight percent) followed by "a high salary" which came in third place (with just over six percent of the survey takers selecting it as the most important feature of a dream job).

LinkedIn also took a look at the number of members who have some rather cool careers. For instance, there are currently over 500,000 LinkedIn members in the U.S. who are fashion stylists, more than 30,000 wine and/or beer specialists and over 400,000 members who are firefighters. In the U.S., there are 14 mermaids, over 150 astronauts and more than 30 racecar drivers who are LinkedIn members.

The following tips can help you get one step closer to landing your dream job:

  • Follow your dreams by following your dream employers on LinkedIn. There are more than 2.6 million LinkedIn Company Pages. When you start following a company on LinkedIn you'll get updates when people join the company, leave the company, when the company posts jobs on LinkedIn and other interesting insights.
  • Get a professional pep talk from high profile business leaders on your LinkedIn homepage. LinkedIn recently added the ability to follow thought leaders on LinkedIn. You can read original content written by business luminaries like Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and many more.
  • Add relevant LinkedIn Skills to your profile and join LinkedIn Groups that relate to your dream job. Even though you're not the professional athlete you fantasized about becoming back when you played Pop Warner football, your marketing skills combined with your love of sports could lead to a sports marketing position for a professional team. If you don't have those skills or groups listed on your profile, you could get kicked out of LinkedIn Advanced People Searches related to those terms.

Visit the LinkedIn Blog to learn more about LinkedIn's "Dream Jobs" study and to download the infographic.

About LinkedIn

Founded in 2003, LinkedIn connects the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. With more than 187 million members worldwide, including executives from every Fortune 500 company, LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the Internet. The company has a diversified business model with revenues coming from talent solutions, marketing solutions and premium subscriptions. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, LinkedIn has offices across the globe.

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