With the new year just begun, many people may have made a career resolution or two: “This year, I’ll get at least a five percent raise.” “This year, I’ll go to my boss before June and ask for a promotion.”
And, while these certainly can be worthwhile plans, resolutions of any type too often fall by the wayside come Feb. 1.
Instead, why not put together a career plan for 2011? A plan is a bit different than a resolution in that it involves the creation of steps that will get you to your goal, whatever that goal may be.
So here are some steps you can take to follow through on any goal you make for you career in 2011.
- First of all, you’ll need to come up with a goal. You’ll also need to make this goal (or goals), very specific. For example, instead of saying “I’m going to find a great new job,” say, “My goal in 2011 is to find a new job with a company that offers more flexibility and will give me at least a 10 percent raise.”
- If you have more than one career goal for this year, you’re going to have to prioritize them, otherwise it’s too easy to lose focus and accomplish nothing. You rank your goals in priority as well as sequential order. Citing the goal above, for example, in order to get that 10 percent raise, you may have to get certified in another skill, so your first goal would be to “obtain certification” followed by getting that new job.
- Goals can feel overwhelmingly large, so it’s best to break them down into steps, or tasks. Need to get that certification? Well, this week you can have the goal of researching programs. Next week your goal could be to contact the programs that interest you for more information. And the following week your goal could be to enroll, etc.
- You’re going to have to figure out what you’re going to have to give up in order to get your goal. After all, there’s only so much time in a day. If you’re adding something to your to-do list, you’re going to have to remove something else. Looking at the certification goal, above, can you give up watching two hours of TV a night? Could you give up your bi-weekly karate lessons? Can you give up the latte at Starbucks every day on your way to work in order to pay for the certification course? And so on.
- Understand that you will encounter setbacks. Anticipate them as best you can, but don’t give up when they smack you in the face. Aim not to look at any obstacles you encounter as “failures.” Instead, think of them as an opportunity to learn and to change course, if necessary. It’s a cliché, but it’s nonetheless: you only fail if you quit.
- Document your successes. Celebrate and reward yourself for achieving them. If you record your progress you can look over your journal and see that you’re moving forward. This can come in very handy if you meet a roadblock that’s taking you a bit of time to move around.
- Finally, once you achieve a goal, immediately set another goal (if you haven’t already). Humans need something to look forward to, something to achieve. Enjoy your success and them move on to fulfilling your next career goal.
If a professional goal of yours in 2011 is finding another job, contact one of the recruiters at RealStreet Staffing. We have established strong relationships with many of Washington Metro’s top construction, architecture and engineering firms. Take a look at our open positions and apply today!