The beginning of the year brings with it a fresh start and new resolutions. No matter what your intentions are for the year ahead, it’s good practice to take time for an annual career check-in to set short- and long-term career goals. Let me be clear: career goals are not resolutions. Rather, these are goals with actionable, attainable results -- in other words, they’re your end game. Start with focusing on short- and long-term goals over a six-and 24-month time period, respectively. It’s essential that we challenge ourselves to career-focused goal setting with a very intentional mindset.
Here are three steps for setting your career goals this year:
Step one: Ask yourself, “What do I want in my career?”
Through your answer, you will glean insight on how you can achieve your career goals in the short and long term, as well as determine what you need to get yourself there. Who do you need to connect with? What tools will you need to reach this result? Hone in on exactly what you want to accomplish in your career, and figure out the resources needed to get you there. Also consider how a mentor or sponsor might help move you closer to your career goals, as well as if your goals are actually achievable. It’s essential to have a clear and realistic understanding of your goals and the route required to reach them as you navigate your career path.
Step two: Turn challenges into opportunities.
There are very unique challenges for women in today’s work environment, particularly when it comes to advancement and parity, but we must take these challenges and turn them into opportunities. Corporate America is increasingly recognizing the talents that women bring to the workplace. See this as an opportunity to move forward in the professional direction you want without the potential barriers that may have existed in years past. Be strategic and intentional in your actions and think about how you can use this environment to your advantage and ensure you aren’t a victim.
Step three: Think about leadership opportunities at all levels.
Historically, young and new employees haven’t been approached with conversations about leadership; however, it’s essential to get in a leadership mindset early on. At any level, you should challenge yourself to consider what kind of leader you are, who you want to be in six months and then two years, and what education, training and tools can help get you there. Determine what elements could strengthen your leadership skills as you envision where you are today versus where you want to be at the end of 2018.
Goal setting seems simple, but it’s a crucial step toward continuing career advancement. No matter what level you are at in your career, you can benefit from taking the time to think about actionable, attainable career goals for this new year. Try out my tips and see how your trajectory moves upward in 2018!