Achieving career success means different things to different people. For some, it’s the corner office and a key to the executive washroom. For others, it’s feeling passionate about their work. Regardless of how you define success, you have a better chance of achieving it by setting goals. As you think about where you want to be in the future, consider working toward some of these goals that will help you get there.
Exceed Performance Expectations
Chances are, your supervisor has provided a breakdown of his expectations for performance in your job responsibilities. How well you meet these expectations can not only influence your earnings (i.e., whether or not you get a raise) but whether you are considered for more responsibility and promotions. Make it your mission to not only meet, but exceed these expectations to move up the ladder faster.
According to a 2015 study by Georgetown University, people who have master’s degrees earn an average of $17,000 more per year than those with only a bachelor’s degree. More than just increasing your earnings, though, earning an advanced degree – or even just taking classes to build your skill base – can open up new opportunities for you and help you qualify for jobs that might have previously been out of reach.
In some fields, like IT, holding a certification in a specific skill or subject matter can make the difference between staying in the same job for years and moving into better paying positions with more responsibility. Even if a certification isn’t required for a specific job, holding such credentials can set you apart from other applicants when you’re job hunting, increasing the likelihood that you can land your dream job.
Find a Mentor
Mentors can help guide you through your career, offering advice, insight and feedback to help you navigate the complexities of your industry and make better choices. A mentor can also help you set goals, make plans and provide access to the knowledge and people you need to move forward. Set a goal to find a mentor and develop a relationship that will serve you well throughout your career.
Build Your Network
A recent survey by LinkedIn revealed that more than 80 percent of all jobs are found through networking. Building connections is an important part of career success, so if you want to move forward, strive to build a larger network based on real relationships. Join industry groups, attend local business events and conferences and reach out to others in your field to create the connections that will give your career momentum.
Become a Thought Leader
Do you have unique insights into your industry? Do you have a fresh perspective on existing information? If so, establish a goal to become a thought leader. Start a blog; comment on other blogs or social posts, and make yourself visible in the community by sharing your ideas and interpretations about trends and news in your field. It will take time, and requires establishing a personal brand to gain a reputation, but with hard work and consistently adding to the conversation, you can establish yourself as an expert and thought leader, which can lead to new opportunities.
Learn to Say No and Delegate
Learning to say no might seem counterproductive to moving forward in your career, but success requires identifying which opportunities are right for you, and avoiding or declining those that aren’t in line with your goals. At the same time, learning how to delegate (or even eliminate) those tasks that don’t support your goals is important so you can focus on the activities that move you forward. If you struggle in this area, set a goal to work on these traits so you can improve your focus.
Improve Your Time Management
Personal success expert Brian Tracy argues that time is the most valuable resource that anyone has. Are you making the most of it? Or are you wasting time on activities that don’t matter or don’t bring value to your life? Learning to manage your time more effectively and focusing on priorities will not only help you find the time you need to work toward other goals, but will also allow you to spend time on things that bring personal fulfillment, which is just as important as career success.
Develop Public Speaking Skills
Public speaking is one of the most common fears among adults, but it’s an important skill to have. The ability to speak comfortably in front of others can help you not only do your job better if you need to make presentations, but should you move into a leadership position, you’re going to need to call on your speaking skills to motivate, educate and inspire your team.
Create a Stronger Online Presence
Finally, because employers are looking at candidates’ online profiles as part of the hiring process, you should make it a goal to maintain the best possible presence that speaks to your skills and experience. This means not only cleaning up your social media profiles, but also building your brand so that the first search results employers find create a positive impression. Create a personal website that supports your brand, or try blogging to create a great online impression.