Regardless of whether you perceive your work as fulfilling and you feel satisfied, or whether you are still looking for “the one”, you might want to consider defining some career goals. They in fact allow you to further develop and will motivate you in a sustained effort and give you the strength to overcome challenges on your way to realising your ambitions. Times are changing in terms of new technologies and market trends, but one thing remains constant: the need to take actions that allow you to manage your own career efficiently. Let us introduce some steps that will properly help you set your career goals and enable to achieve them.
1. Precisely specifying your career goal
When specifying your own career path, you should start by analysing your predispositions and preferences. Identification of personal passions, interests and abilities allows us to take a career path that will bring us satisfaction and, at the same time, increase the likelihood of achieving ultimate success.
Once you know what your strengths are, what you feel best with, what gives you pleasure, the time will come to set your career goals. Only in this way will you be able to specify and draw up your action plan thoroughly. At this stage, the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) method becomes extremely useful:
- “S” – specific.
Take some time to reflect on your goal and specify it. Then, you will increase your chances of final success, because you know what your exact goal is, and when the time comes, you will know that you have achieved it.
- “M” – measurable.
How will you know that the goal has been achieved? When you reach a certain level of skill, earn additional certificates or gain a new experience? Achieving your purpose will not be a short process, so it is good to break down your main goal into a few more manageable ones. Then the progress related to achieving specific steps is easily measurable, and is an additional source of motivation.
- “A” – attainable.
When identifying the goals that are most important to you, you start to discover how you can achieve them. You develop an appropriate attitude, acquire new skills, and collect financial resources in order to achieve them. You start to see previously overlooked opportunities and move closer to achieving the goal. You can achieve most of your assumptions if you approach planning carefully, identify specific steps and specify the proper time frame.
- “R”– relevant.
Your professional goal should be something that you want to achieve, and at the same time, something that will guide your career in the right direction. On the one hand, it needs to be ambitious to motivate you to apply an increased effort, but on the other hand, excessive expectations can undermine your faith in achieving it. Therefore, you may want to balance plans with predispositions, opportunities with dreams to maximise the chances of the implementation of your plan.
- “T” – time-bound.
Your goal will be ineffective when you do not specify the time frame in which you intend to achieve it. Of course, random incidents may slow down (or accelerate) the realisation of your earlier assumptions, but if you know where you are going and how much effort it will take you, it is by far easier to get there.
2. Find methods that will motivate you to act
Make a note in your notebook, put your notes in a visible place, tell your family and friends about it – any method that will make you remember your goal and strive towards its implementation works. It will be a lot easier for you if something reminds you of your dreams and plans for the future each time. However, if your goal is long-term, celebrate the implementation of its individual stages. Anything that will encourage you to continue working is allowed.
3. Remember that even small steps bring you to the implementation of your goal
Gain knowledge, share it, ask for help, learn new things, read, write, code, go to meetings with practitioners, do internships, be part of student clubs. Even if your long-term goal is very ambitious, do not forget about the small steps taken each day. They bring you to success and ensure your continuous development and motivation. There are many methods, and each of them is effective. Today’s technologies offer many opportunities for networking and the broadening of knowledge – it is worth using them.
4. Meet people
This is directly linked to the previous point. Expanding your network of professional contacts is an essential part of career planning. Therefore, visit job fairs, conferences, workshops; or simply meet people from your industry. In addition to new skills, you will gain something else – connections. You will meet people with varying degrees of experience who can teach you many things.
5. Go with a smile, don’t be discouraged by failures
Career planning is no easy thing. You need a lot of patience, self-discipline, effort and regularity of actions. On the way to your dream career, many obstacles, fears and doubts will be waiting to scupper you. However, faith in your own strength, clearly defined goals and a positive attitude are the key to success. Then each success, even the smallest one, makes you happy, and each obstacle motivates you to continue the fight. And there is something to fight for!