Think about the last time you played a game or a sport. If you tried to score points or achieve a goal and failed, you almost always got another opportunity to try again. Attaining a career goal is the same concept. Just like you have a strategic plan to win a game or score points, you should have a plan in mind when it comes to achieving your professional ambitions.
1. Assess the Situation
Assess your situation and your career aspirations. The only way this works is if you're honest with yourself. Where do you want to be in five years? Do you have the skills, abilities and training necessary to earn promotions? How do you reach the top of your game?
Write down all of these things as you set up a strategic plan to achieve a career goal. After that, break down your objective into incremental steps.
2. Visualize Your Professional Life
Do you know your ultimate career goal? Do you want to become a high-powered executive and then retire, or does owning your own business appeal to you? Visualize yourself at your final career destination, and then work backwards as you try to reach your pinnacle of success.
3. Know How to Get There
Know how to reach each step along the way. If you want to be an executive, you probably have to work up the career ladder through middle management and upper management, and then as an executive before you get to be the top boss. Research what types of experience, skills and qualifications you need to obtain each promotion.
4. Manage Your Time
Every successful career-oriented person knows how to manage time well. Prioritize what it takes to reach a career goal. If you need extra training, consider attending night classes or taking online coursework in your spare time. Learn to balance work and life to optimize your progress. Include some free time where you do anything you want; enjoying yourself is part of a professional life, too.
5. Network, Network, Network
No one reaches the top alone. A very important aspect of attaining one career goal after another is finding people who connect you to influencers within your industry. Make a list of contacts you want to get to know better, and reach out. Attend job fairs and networking events, and peruse LinkedIn to find the people you need to know. Developing a relationship and rapport takes time, but the results are well worth it considering a network is how most people find a job.
6. Improve Your Skill Set
You may discover you need extra skills to take your game to the next level, such as leadership training, formal classes or a soft skill. Do you want to own an IT business? Learn a new programming language, software coding or high-tech hardware so you can help your clients get the best results.
7. Practice Makes Permanent
You must practice to make these skills permanent. Network at least once a week, read articles on new trends in your industry, and always work on improving yourself.
A career goal doesn't have to be a one-and-done proposition. If you fail the first time, reassess what you need to do, and try to score again. Eventually, you'll win the game.
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