Goals

A 5-Step Guide to Setting and Meeting Career Goals

A 5-Step Guide to Setting and Meeting Career Goals 2313 Inc
Nobody with any degree of motivation imagines that they’ll be in the same job, at the same pay rate, five years from now. But what do you do if you want to move beyond your current position? You need to set goals—but how do you do that for maximum chances of success? Here are some tips.
 
Make your goals SMART
Unless your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, you’re not going to be able to achieve them. It’s not enough, for example, to say that you’d like to own your own business. You need to set a goal like, “I will own my own business in five years.” This specific goal is also measurable because you can track your progress toward that goal. It’s achievable and realistic if you are motivated, and timely because you’ve set a time limit for achieving that long-term goal.
 
Create milestones
Because SMART goals must be measurable and achievable, create milestones (or short-term goals) in support of your long-term goal. For example, you could create a short-term goal of finding at least one mentor within a month, or taking an accounting or bookkeeping class within a year to support your ability to manage your business finances.
 
Build your network
Once you’ve decided on the goal you want to achieve, some of the milestones you create should revolve around building your network. Seek out mentors in your desired career field, talk to people at networking events and conferences, and build connections with people online through career-oriented social media channels. By building your network, you’ll have a better chance of successfully achieving your goals.
 
Be committed and accountable
You can create all the long-term and short-term goals you want, but if you’re not committed to them, you won’t succeed. If you believe your goal is important and attainable, you’re more likely to do the work necessary to achieve it. Likewise, you need to be accountable, so make sure a mentor or fellow entrepreneur is there to hold you to your long-term and short-term goals.
 
On the other hand, be flexible
You may find that you need to change your timeline for achievement of your goals. For example, if you have a goal of graduating from college in three years, but then realize you can’t do that while also working full-time, don’t be afraid to modify that goal. Maybe you can take one or two evening classes each semester.
However, there’s also a chance that a goal you set may no longer be important to you; in that case, set yourself a new SMART goal to achieve.
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Creating Your Own Professional Development Plan

Creating Your Own Professional Development Plan 2313 Inc.

Creating a professional development plan focused on your career growth will help you reach your goal.

Resources for professional development are available in many locations. Local colleges, technical schools, and public libraries offer short and long-term programs to improve professional skills. The Internet is another source of educational opportunities, featuring blogs devoted to professional development and improving business skills. Once you know what you want to study, it’s time to create a development plan that meets your needs. Here are some ideas that will help you get started:

What Do You Know?

Determine what you know and what you want to learn. Create a list of skills you use every day and identify the skills you want to improve. If your goal is career advancement, review job descriptions that interest you and add the required skills to your list.

How Will You Learn?

There are lots of resources available to you when you begin studying: books, continuing education, online courses, and more. Choose the type of learning that works best for you.

Time and Money

Review your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule and reserve time for professional development. Even a small amount of time devoted to reading a new book will improve your abilities over time. If you’re interested in taking a class, you should create a realistic budget and start saving now.

Stay on Track

Track your progress as you follow your professional development plan. Keep a journal, and record the books you read and classes you attended. Include your big and small victories; any progress is good progress. Take notes on the subject areas that require more training.

Find a Mentor

A mentor is someone in your profession with greater experience who is interested in sharing their skills. Search for mentoring opportunities in your professional community. Your employer may offer a program, or a colleague may be willing to share her expertise over a cup of coffee.

Volunteer to Do More

Opportunity comes to those who ask for it. If you want to learn new skills, let your supervisor know that you’re interested. Volunteer for projects that require that you improve or learn a new skill. Learning new skills will keep you motivated and will help improve your confidence.