Making the most of your career development requires you to be intentional about setting goals. This is a common trait of top professionals in any sector you can think of. When you drift through your career or anything else in life, you’re going to become mediocre at best.
Since your career takes up most of your working life, position yourself to get the best out of it. Here are 10 good career development goals you must focus on:
1. Having a vision
The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Living without a vision and hope for the future is a miserable thing to go through. God created you with a purpose and your vision will be linked to that purpose. Your career will take up most of your working time and your vision will be linked to it in some way.
Becoming clear about your vision is not always as easy as it may seem, but the key is identifying problems to solve. It requires time in prayer and thinking through why God placed you here on earth. Your life has value no matter what your present circumstances may suggest. Believe it and embrace it!
2. Clear objectives
When you get clear about your vision, it becomes easier to set relevant career goals. Goals that follow the SMART format are the most effective i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Setting goals is also not a straightforward process because most people were never taught how when growing up.
When your goals are crystal clear you then have a road map or action plan to execute effectively. Goals that aren’t clear don’t breed confidence and you won’t know whether or not you’re making progress.
Getting the help of a coach or mentor can certainly help you learn the process. It pays to learn how to develop career goals.
3. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
Self-awareness is a powerful attribute of all successful people in life. They know themselves really well including their strengths and weaknesses, which helps get them positioned for success. Knowing your strengths gives you an idea of the kind of work you’d be most suited for. This is one of the most important goals for your career development.
“If you know yourself and know your enemy, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” ~ Sun Tzu
Most people never think about this because it’s seemingly unimportant. If you don’t know yourself or what you’re capable of doing, you’re going to be mediocre at best. If you don’t already know take the time to figure out your strengths and weaknesses.
4. Finding suitable jobs
Life isn’t perfect, we all know that. Sometimes we have to take up jobs to pay the bills for day to day life. This may be a starting point if you’re not fortunate enough to get a job you love, but you shouldn’t settle. To have a great career in the long term you must look for jobs that play more to your strengths.
The benefits of working a job that’s a great fit are numerous not least being that it’s fun. When you do work that you enjoy it’s easier to excel in your role and grow in confidence. As your confidence grows your chances of getting greater opportunities also go up.
Once you’re in a job that’s’ a great fit, remember it’s not the end but just the beginning. To get the job, you demonstrated that you had the required skills but they won’t be enough to keep the job. To continue excelling, study your industry trends and take note of the skills you need to develop.
When you’ve noted the key skills, layout a plan for learning and developing those skills. What I’ve found to be a great way of developing skills is to link them with relevant work goals. Learning by doing is the most effective way of learning which makes you proficient in the process.
6. Practice like it’s game time
When the personal development plan is in place begin to execute relentlessly and consistently. It’s not about working on the skills for a little bit and then quitting along the way. You need to constantly be on top of your game and challenging yourself to get better all the time. Build your skill level as though you were working on a client project.
This has to be an ongoing process because developing your skills will always be a requirement to continue excelling. When you practice like you’re in a real-life situation, instinctively you’ll respond positively when a real situation comes. This will keep you one step ahead of average Joes.
7. Study the pros in your space
Learning from the best in your field can significantly reduce your learning curve and put you ahead of others. What would take you years to learn and master can take you months instead, and help you achieve your goals faster. Keeping in mind that most people don’t actively seek out mentorship puts you in a great position.
In this age of information technology, all you need to get started is to go on YouTube and other online platforms. For most people, it’s a great starting point until you have the opportunity to meet the pros one on one.
8. Remain current
While you may excel at what you’re currently doing be careful not to lose touch with new developments. It’s easy to become tunnel focused and ignore other important areas for your career progression. Some of the things you can do include attending industry seminars or webinars to learn where things are going.
Listening to your customers and followers will also give you valuable insights into what you must focus on. Examples abound of companies that went out of business, partly because they stopped listening to what people wanted. Understanding and embracing those insights will position you for success in the long-term.
9. Network with fellow professionals
Maintaining and developing good relationships with people is a good thing. This is particularly essential when it comes to your career life. You never know what doors might be opened or closed for you so be sure to nurture good relationships. Invest in relationships with people in various fields and not just your own.
Doing great work for your clients can lead to referrals and opportunities you may never have dreamed of. Nurture those relationships in a professional manner as best as you can, and at some point, it will pay off. Avoid networking for the sake of getting something out of people, because they’ll pick it up real quick.
10. Have an exit strategy
Last, but not least, have an exit strategy for every stage of your career. Staying in one place for too long is detrimental to your career. It’s something that personally took me a while to realize so you must be careful to avoid making this mistake. For each stage of your career, you must have a plan for what you want to achieve.
When you achieve your goals at each stage you should move on to the next one. Sometimes you might give your best efforts but get nowhere. It’s worth considering your options when you realize that you’re no longer achieving your goals.
Ideally you want your personal goals and employer’s goals to complement each other. When that’s no longer the case, it may be a sign that you need to move on. If you don’t already have one, get started on developing your own career development plan.
Which of the career development goals do you need to polish up? Comment below!