Having a rewarding career depends upon pursuing your vision of professional success. Otherwise, you are likely to spend your days trying to live up to the expectations of others or mindlessly drifting from one job to the next.
Of course, success itself means different things to different people. For some, earning more money and climbing the corporate ladder is a matter. For others, it is more about stretching their skills and contributing to society.
Make your work life more satisfying and build accomplishments you can be proud of. Use this checklist to plan your future and put your plans into action.
Planning for Career Success:
- Identify your strengths. For example, think about your talents and how you can apply them. Do you like working with numbers or have a passion for design? Browse online for aptitude tests that will suggest careers that suit your personality.
- Set specific goals. Create objectives that will motivate you and allow you to evaluate your progress. Furthermore, give yourself realistic short- and long-term targets that are challenging but feasible.
- Address obstacles. You may find that you need some additional resources to complete your goals. What’s more, figure out what’s holding you back and how you will overcome it.
- Consider your brand. What makes you unique? Understanding your brand will help you to market yourself. In any case, you will know what you stand for and the audience that you are trying to reach.
- Think ahead. Career planning is an ongoing process that requires more than keeping your resume updated. For instance, review your job status regularly to decide if it is time to change.
- Write it down. Put your career plan down on paper to help you. You will be more likely to remember your strategy instead of letting it get buried under daily events.
Implementing Your Career Plan:
- Manage your time. Block out space in your calendar for activities essential to your goals. Besides, you may need to reduce distractions like watching TV or shopping online.
- Maximize your network. Build a strong network where you can share practical and moral support. Ask others for help when you need it. Additionally, be generous with sharing information and referrals.
- Learn from others. Benefit from the experience of others. Find a mentor or shadow a star employee at your company.
- Build your qualifications. Seek opportunities for education and training. Take certification courses online and check out the adult education catalog at your nearest community college.
- Increase your visibility. Promote yourself by volunteering for committees at the local chapter of your professional association. Write articles for your company website or publish your industry blog.
- Negotiate compensation— research current salary data when exploring a new line of work or expecting a job offer. Equally important, talk with your employer about fringe benefits that are important to you, such as childcare or flexible hours.
- Take risks. To excel at work, you must move beyond your comfort zone. However, focus on gradual growth you can sustain, and the small victories will add up. Deliver a presentation at a staff meeting to prepare for addressing the crowd at your annual convention.
- Stay positive. Your professional career may last 50 years or more, so a cheerful attitude will help you to persevere. Look at the bright side of difficult situations and learn to laugh at yourself.
Lastly, create a career that enables you to do what you love and achieve balance in your personal and professional life. Start planning today to make decisions based on your values and goals.