- Find your calling
During the early stages of your career, one of your main professional goals should be finding what industry best suits your ambitions.
- Develop a broad skill set
Employers want to hire people with a spectrum of talentsStart by honing your soft skills as well as your technical skills.
- Set a timeline for education
Depending on your chosen field, you may have to complete certain training, certification programs, or education to excel in your career. To avoid getting sidetracked, set a goal to acquire the skill or degree within a specific time period (e.g., “I will enroll in XYZ program or course in 6 months)
If getting an MBA will increase your earning potential, it’s probably worth the investment; but if the degree isn’t relevant to your work, you might be better off going without.
- Distinguish yourself in the field
To become a leader, you’ll need to raise your visibility at your current company and in your field. Join an industry group or association and regularly attend networking events.
Also, develop a strong online presence that will help you demonstrate your expertise. That entails being active on social media—meaning you need to tweet on a regular basis, not simply have a Twitter account.
Use your Facebook, LinkedIn, Shapr, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to position yourself for jobs scholarships and other opportunities.
- Align your life goals with your career goals
Think about where you want to be in five years in terms of your personal life, advises Molisani. Looking to start a family in your hometown? Build your career there. Want to buy a house or pay off your student loan debt?
Check any online salary guide to see what the average salary is for someone in your industry with five years’ experience, and determine whether you need to make adjustments in order to stay on course.
- Develop new goals
No matter how much preparation you do to work toward achieving your goals, know that nothing is set in stone—and that’s OK.
Your goals may change with time, and it’s important to be flexible. If you notice your career path is moving in a new and unexpected direction, allow yourself to explore it rather than resist it. The workplace changes, industries change, and you yourself will change too. What’s important is that you can identify these changes and adjust your goals accordingly.
- Write your goals down on paper, and put it in a place where you see it regularly,You might need to set aside time each day that’s solely dedicated to completing tasks that will get you closer to achieving your goals. Put reminders in your phone to alert you. At the end of the workday, assess your progress and plan for tomorrow.
- Use your successes to boost your standing
Track your progress, not only to keep yourself organized, but also to help build a case for a promotion or a raise—or at the very least, get the conversation started.
Keep a notebook of the goals you have set and how you developed and followed a plan of action to accomplish the set goals.