Create career development goals
When you think of someone whose career you admire, what do you think about? Chances are, you think about where they are now. Their title. Their salary. Their list of achievements. But the truth is, they weren’t always where they are today – they started out at the bottom and worked their way up, just like you.
That’s the secret behind great career development – taking responsibility for your own professional growth. No one is going to come in with a magic wand and give you your own business. Unsure of where to begin? Here’s how to set career development goals and follow through on them.
Set career goals
The first step in career development is setting goals for yourself. Where are you in your professional journey right now, and where do you want to be? Don’t just make up a vague goal like “get a promotion.” Think of something specific that you can track. For instance, decide you want to be vice president of a Fortune 500 company in the next 10 years. Pick an objective that’s within the realm of possibility, and that you can realistically begin working toward.
Also, as with setting any goal, you need to think of the purpose behind your motivation. Why do you want to secure this position? Is it because you want to provide for your family? Are you looking for financial freedom? When you have a larger motivator in mind, you’ll find it easier to keep persisting, even when things get challenging or you hit a plateau.
Develop a career development plan
Now that you have your goal in mind, it’s time to create a career development plan. How will you go about becoming vice president in the next 10 years? Be realistic, but don’t be afraid to stretch. As Tony Robbins says: Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and they underestimate what they can do in two or three decades. Then think about the changes you must make right away in order to set your plan in motion. What are the intermediate steps between your current position and the one you want? After you’ve identified your purpose, establish the steps needed to get to your end goal. Hold yourself accountable along the way.
Find the tools you need
You can’t do everything on your own. Even though self-motivation is a huge factor when it comes to moving forward in your career, you still need the tools and strategies necessary to succeed. Online courses, educational classes, podcasts, meet-up groups and immersive business seminars are all great ways to make progress in your career. Find out what resources your company offers its employees to help them achieve their career development goals. Look into the types of skill-building workshops and seminars that would be most beneficial to you. At the end of the day, it’s not about how many resources you have, but how resourceful you can be with what you have access to.
Connect with others
Success comes down to your personal accomplishments, but it is rarely a solo effort. One great way to make progress toward your career development goals is to connect with others. This could be turning to peers for support and mutual reassurance. It could be finding a mentor whose success you admire. It could even be studying the career trajectory of someone you don’t know and modeling them, that is, following the same steps they took.