Written By: Jen Porcelli, Gartner Campus Recruiter
The start of the new year is all about reflecting on where you have been and creating a plan for where you want to go. It’s a time for new beginnings, fresh perspectives and identifying goals to help better your life in some way. When it comes to your career aspirations, this is an ideal time to reevaluate what you want out of a career and what steps you can take to get there. Whether you’re a fresh college graduate embarking into the workforce for the first time or a seasoned professional with years of experience, there is no better time than the present to focus on improving your career! Below are five strategies to help you set realistic objectives
- Be Honest With Yourself
Before you start making a list of career-related goals, you need to have a pulse on where you are in your career currently. Identifying what successes you’ve had in the previous year and what you feel attributed to them can help create a template for future success. However, to make improvements, you also need to hold yourself accountable and be honest about areas of opportunity to make positive change. Ask yourself questions such as, “Did I use my time efficiently last year?” or “Do I feel like I challenged myself enough in my work?” Use this time to determine what is really important to you in terms of career development and then come up with SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based) goals that align with your priorities.
- Crush Your Comfort Zone
Fear can be one of the biggest detriments when it comes to career advancement. Do you have ideas to share, but are afraid they won’t be well-received? Do you want more support or coaching in a certain area but don’t want your boss to judge you? Having a voice, advocating for change or asking for help may not come naturally to you. The not knowing what will happen if you do speak up is scary, but the missed opportunity by staying silent can cause more damage to your career and your own development in the long run. You don’t have to be an impulsive risk taker, but challenging yourself to stretch outside your comfort zone can increase experience and open doors.
The idea of networking can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Evaluate your current network and use that as an opportunity to strengthen past connections. Connecting with others is not about reaching out when you need a favor, it’s about taking the time to build impactful relationships. You can learn so much from other people’s experiences and perspectives!
- Expand Your Knowledge
It’s impossible to be an expert on everything — but it is possible to expand your career by being a lifelong learner. A lifelong learner is self-motivated to continually expand their knowledge base, not afraid to ask questions, and wants to diversify their skill sets. Whether it’s taking a course, job-shadowing another department or doing research on your own; broadening your scope of knowledge will always make you more desirable in your career.
- Evaluate Where Your Time Goes
Have you ever made it to the end of the day and ask yourself, “Where did the time go? What have I even accomplished?” Oftentimes we find ourselves in a constant “busy” state, but aren’t actually prioritizing our tasks. The first step to overhauling your to do list is to track your time! If you’re at work for 8 hours, track your day in 30-minute increments. How much of your day is spent in your inbox? How much time are you spending talking to your co-workers? Where can you carve out time for professional development or other career goals? If you don’t know where you are currently spending your time, you won’t be able to make positive changes. Make 2020 the year you spend more time on the things that matter, and less time on the things that don’t.
You don’t need to implement every single step, but instead, identify one area that resonates with you and come up with a course of action to stick to it. Set manageable and realistic goals for yourself based on what’s important to you and your career!
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