The 2021 ball is already rolling and like many people, you have set up goals to ensure you climb up the career ladder. These goals may include a better work-life balance, getting a job, making a career switch, earning a salary raise, or even starting your own business. Such goals are necessary for career planning and now it the best time to think about pursuing them. Truth is, these goals will not be achieved by simply navigating the lines of flattery with your boss or strategically and tactfully steering office politics. For the goals to be achieved excellence is required in your job, you have to be present and visible at your workplace, and in meetings, you have to exude leadership skills and display desired positive behavioral traits such as emotional intelligence, creativity, innovation, and an ability to influence. Here we explore six things you can do to help you reach your career goals in 2021 and beyond.
- Set realistic goals
Goal setting is important to guiding and aligning your focus. The very first point of goal setting is taking time to reflect and identify what it is you want. Ask yourself whether you still want the same career, job, or role five years from now? It is through honest reflection will you be able to determine what you want the future to look like as you are able to imagine your career’s final destination.
After reflection map out your goals. Be detailed in writing down your goals action plans to help remember and achieve them. Break large goals and plans into small ones and identify long and short-term action plans. Do not be afraid of stretching yourself and getting uncomfortable. Case in point, for an individual looking to switch careers, you can have to get a diploma and reading industry-related books as a short term goal and expert certification as a long term one. Set deadlines in your actionable plans and it is also advisable to have a goal partner who helps you stick to your plans.
2. Find a mentor
Having a mentor in your career journey comes with immense benefits such as help in identifying and achieving career goals, help to develop certain skills, great advice on work-life balance, life skills, network expansion, access to a variety of resources, and help to think more strategically so as to get the big picture view among many others. To find a good career mentor create a list of people who seem like a good fit based on their career profile. You can ask for recommendations from friends, family, colleagues, and networks. Then reach out to the mentor with a request to mentor you.
It is important to note that as a mentee, the responsibility of career growth and development rests solely with you. Your mentor should not be the one to do the work for you, Strive to always take action. Be curious enough to ask questions such as books to read, mentor’s biggest lessons and mistakes. Such questions lead to discussions where you are sure to learn a thing or two. Also, be open to feedback where you accept both positive and constructive criticism for the relationship to be productive.
3. Develop your skills
The modern workplace no matter the industry is dynamic. How do you ensure you keep up with these changes to reach your coveted goal? Through a commitment to learning. Take an online course, attend conferences and webinars, Go back to class and advance your degree or certificate, read industry periodicals, follow industry trendsetters, and get to learn what they are up to. Learning is lifelong and essential in career development.
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4. Seek New opportunities
Do not be afraid to take career risks in the new year. Be open to new opportunities to expand your portfolio. Always remember that uncomfortable zone is where the magic happens. Negotiate for better terms at your current place of work, Seek for a job that is in line with your career goals, start the podcast or youtube channel that you have been postponing for a while now, seek leadership positions, go for that collaboration you’ve always wanted. Be intentional about seeking opportunities that will help meet your career goals and also be present and well prepared to seize these opportunities once they come your way.
5. Develop your networks
Leverage your networks to achieve your career goals this year. Make and maintain valuable connections with people in your company, industry, and other fields that will help you climb the career staircase. Networking helps where recommendations and referrals are needed, helps uncover opportunities, improves on your soft skills, and offers a platform to market your personal brand. This year, figure out the networking style that works for you and go for it. It is never too early or too late to invest in your network.
6. Be Resilient
2020 was a challenging year. Our lives slowed down and we had to change how we do simple tasks such as socializing, shopping, learning, and traveling. The biggest lesson from the pandemic is that we can be resilient at any time, and anywhere. This year, challenges will interrupt us and in some cases delay us from achieving set goals but we have to have the capability to recover and adjust from these challenges. Do the hard work, be patient with yourself, and be sure that it is going to happen.
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