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Via The Balance : How to Set Short and Long Term Goals for Your Career

You may feel setting long-term and short-term goals is a waste of time, especially if you live by the old proverb, “Man plans, God laughs.” Don’t make that mistake. Not planning for the future can make for a chaotic one.

How Setting Goals Affects Your Career Success

Setting goals is a significant component of the career planning process. To have a successful and satisfying career, define your goals and devise a strategy to achieve them. A roadmap that will take you from choosing an occupation to working and succeeding at it is called a career action plan.

Your career action plan must have both long and short-term goals. It is imperative to include the steps to take to reach each one, along with ways to get around barriers that might get in your way.

Note: Since plans, even very well-thought-out ones, don’t always work out, it is also essential to include alternatives to implement when the need arises.

The Difference Between Short and Long Term Goals

Goals are broadly classified into two categories: short-term goals and long-term goals. You will be able to accomplish a short-term goal in approximately six months to three years, while it will usually take three to five years to reach a long-term one. Sometimes you can achieve a short-term goal in fewer than three months and a long-term one may take more than five years to complete.

To achieve each long-term goal, you must first accomplish a series of both short-term goals and additional long-term goals. For example, let’s say you aspire to become a doctor. That may be your ultimate long-term goal, but before you can tackle it, you must achieve a few others, for example, complete college (four years), medical school (another four years), and a medical residency (three to eight years).

Along the road to reaching those long-term goals, there are several short-term goals to clear first. They include excelling on entrance exams and applying to college, medical school, and eventually residencies. Since grades matter when it comes to achieving those goals, it is necessary to break your short-term goals down even further, like earning a high grade point average.

7 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Reaching Your Goals

Your hard work will play the most prominent role in your success, but if you don’t formulate your goals correctly, it will be much more challenging to accomplish them. Your short-term and long-term goals must meet the following criteria:

  1. Have specific goals. You might say, “I want to be successful.” Well, who doesn’t? But can you define what success means? Success to one person may mean becoming CEO of a company while to another person it may mean getting home from work by 6 pm every day.
  2. Your goals must be measurable. Have a timeframe for achieving your goals and a way to determine when you have reached them.
  3. Don’t be negative. Your goal should be something you want rather than something you want to avoid. It is much better to say, for instance, “I want to improve my skills over the next four years so that I qualify for a better job” than “I don’t want to be stuck in this job for another four years.”
  4. Be realistic. Your long-term goals must be compatible with your abilities and skills. Stating “I want to win a Grammy Award” if you can’t sing or play an instrument will set you up for failure.
  5. Your goal must be reachable within your time frame. Break a long-term goal down into smaller goals. It is better to take baby steps than one big giant leap.
  6. Pair each goal with an action. For instance, if your goal is to become a writer, sign up for a writing class.
  7. Be flexible. Don’t give up if you encounter barriers that threaten to impede your progress. Instead, modify your goals accordingly. Let’s say your need to continue working will keep you from going to college full-time. Although it won’t be possible to finish your bachelor’s degree in four years, you can enroll in school part-time and take a bit longer. Flexibility also means being willing to let go of goals that are no longer meaningful and instead put your energy into pursuing other ones.

Via The Balance : Step-By-Step Guide to Setting Career Goals

Choosing your career is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, one with far-reaching implications for your happiness, health, and financial status. It can be easier to do when you set career goals and put a plan in place to grow your career.

Unfortunately, many people aren’t sure how to take charge of this process, letting chance factors such as a convenient job offer from a friend determine the focus of their career. As a result, the majority of workers are less than satisfied with their employment. In fact, surveys indicate that as many as two-thirds of all employees are unhappy in their jobs.

Although there are no guarantees, taking a deliberate approach to the career planning process can expose you to more options and increase the probability that you will find sustainable, and enjoyable, employment. The process for setting career goals in a thoughtful manner can be broken down into the following steps.

Start With Self-Assessment

Taking stock of your interests, career values, skills, and personality traits can help you formulate your own criteria for a desirable career.

Consider a Coach. Meeting with a career advisor or counselor at your school, college, or in your community can help you reflect on your background and identify the cornerstones for your future career.

Create a Career Profile. If you would rather proceed on your own, start by reviewing your academic and work history. Which courses, projects, jobs, internships, and volunteer roles were most satisfying and successful for you? Make a list of the activities that were most energizing, and where you had the greatest impact.

Which are Your Top Skills? Ask yourself which skills enabled you to achieve that success. Then, consider which interests or values made the work meaningful or stimulating. Make a list of the strong skills that you also enjoyed using. Finally, itemize any of your personality characteristics that made the activities feel natural for you.

Creating a comprehensive assessment like this is a solid foundation that you can use to hone in on what type of career fits your personal interests and professional strengths.

Example:
Take Jane, a recent graduate who was struggling to visualize a career path that suited her. Jane reflected on her role as the social chair for her sorority and remembered that she coordinated some of the best parties, pledge activities, and fundraisers in the history of the organization. She really enjoyed leading a team of her peers, coming up with themes for events, organizing the logistics, and promoting the events.

As Jane conducted her self-assessment, she listed leadership skills, event planning, promotional ability, creativity, and detail orientation as key interests and skills in her personal profile. She also noted that her outgoing personality made her very comfortable in highly interactive roles.

Brainstorm Career Options

The next step after self-assessment is brainstorming some options for consideration. Scanning resources that list a variety of career possibilities like the Occupational Outlook Handbook is one way to come up with a list of options worth investigating.

There are many free online personality and career quizzes you can take to get ideas on what career would be a good fit for someone with your interests and qualifications.

You can also review websites that list a variety of job titles in order to build a hit list of career possibilities. Once you have some general sectors in mind, you can review top jobs in those categories, or you can search online by keywords like “careers in health care,” for example, or whatever field you are interested in. Try to identify ten careers about which you are sufficiently curious to spend some time conducting further research.

Example:
John had no idea what fields might be of interest to him. He started looking at the Occupational Outlook Handbook and found himself gravitating towards healthcare careers. He searched the internet for top healthcare careers and found a bunch of sites listing options.

John drew off these lists to fill out seven of the ten occupations on his brainstorming list: Nurse Practitioner, Physician’s Assistant, Ultrasound Technician, Respiratory Therapist, Physical Therapist, Dental Hygienist, Occupational Therapist, and Nutritionist. John found that some sports careers also caught his eye. Since he wanted some diversity on his list, he also included Sports Marketing, Sports Reporter, and Sports Psychologist to broaden his options.

Research Your Top Career Choices

Once you have a tentative idea of some careers worth investigating, then you will need to research them in detail to further assess their suitability. Begin by reading about each of the fields on your brainstorm list. Look for information in online career information resources.

Try Googling each field like this: “Career Information Physical Therapist.” You will find that professional groups provide excellent sources of career information. Review the requirements for entering the field and make sure that you are prepared to complete any training, certificate programs or educational degrees which are required.

For your remaining options, the next step should be to conduct informational interviews with professionals in those fields. Reach out to college alumni, contacts in your personal and social networks, as well as local professionals to schedule in-person or telephone consultations. Here’s how to get started with career networking.

Keep notes regarding what you have learned during your research and match it up against the list of interests, skills, and values which you generated during your self-assessment phase. Make a list of options which are still worth considering.

Try Job Shadowing to Get an Insider Perspective

If a field still holds your interest after reading about it and speaking with professionals in that sector, try to schedule a job shadow to observe the work and sample the work environment.

Consider an Internship or Volunteering

If you are in a position to try out a field that is still of interest at this point, consider doing an internship or some related volunteer work.

Start the Decision Making Process

You should be prepared to make an informed decision at this point. List the pros and cons for each remaining option on a separate sheet of paper and weigh the choices. If you are still unsure, seek the assistance of a guidance counselor at your high school, a career counselor at your college, or a professional career counselor.

Example:
Sherry read every possible piece of information on physical therapy that she could find, and she was still excited about the field. Her mom had utilized a local physical therapist and made an introduction for an informational consultation. Sherry was fascinated by what the therapist and her colleagues shared about the field and believed it matched up well with her key criteria, a nurturing profession in healthcare that would draw upon her strong aptitude for biology and physics.

Sherry spoke with an admissions representative from a local PT program and reviewed the admissions and degree requirements. She was confident that she could successfully gain admission and complete the program. She spent two days shadowing the therapists at the clinic where she had conducted her informational interviews and saw nothing that diminished her interest. Finally, she volunteered at a local nursing home and helped with activities for some of the therapy patients. After all this, Sherry had a very clear sense of the nature of the work and was comfortable with setting a career goal to become a physical therapist.

Via Career Point Kenya : 4 Powerful Reasons Why Setting Goals Is Important

What are your life aspirations? Have you set goals for yourself?

What are your goals for the next month, 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years? Have a look at all the goals on your list. Why do you want to accomplish them?

What is a goal?

According to Wikipedia, a goal is a desired result a person envisions, plans and commits to achieve. People endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.

Setting goals is a great step in trying to achieve your dreams. Actually, it is the first point toward success. They take us forward on every journey we make.

So why do you need to set goals for yourself? Find out in this article.

Here are 4 reasons why it’s important to set goals

1. Goals Give You Focus

Imagine running a race that has neither a finishing point nor timing. Or you are told to shoot an arrow without a target to aim at. What would be the aim of doing it? Surely it’s pointless and a waste of resources. This is what life is like. Without a purpose or goal or target in place, it all becomes pointless.

If you already identified your abilities and talent, start setting goals for yourself to focus your effort on and not shoot aimlessly. By doing this you will be able to hit your target and reach your goal.

2. Goals help you take control of your life

Advancing your career from the job you’re in now to the position you’d like to, requires effort and strategic planning. This is possible only if you start setting realistic goals. Remember goals give you a direction of where you want to go and what you want to achieve.

For example, you can work so hard, get a good salary but still, you may not feel like you are getting what you want. Reason? You have not set goals.

Instead of letting others tell you what to do, take charge and think about what you want for yourself. It is time to start living your life.

3. Goals help you get desired results

All the successful people in the world have set goals. Chris Kirubi (businessman), Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook), Vivian Cheruiyot (Olympic Champion) and many more, all set goals.

When you set goals you ensure that you are working towards getting the best results. You don’t wait for things to happen because you have a vision.

4. Goals Help You Overcome Procrastination

When you have set goals you commit yourself to finishing the project. Goals stick in your mind and always remind you that you are supposed to do something at a particular time. This will help you to overcome procrastination and laziness.

For instance, your goal may be starting your own business which means you want to become your own boss. When starting one, it can be really helpful to outline a business plan, establish short and long-term goals that help achieve your business dream.

End…

With that said, understand the steps and the amount of time you will need to take to achieve each goal and you will be able to achieve your goals in the most efficient way possible. It is possible!

Via Forbes : If You Want To Get Ahead In Your Career: Don’t Get Lucky, Get A Champion

The end of summer often brings a chance to renew plans and reflect on the resolutions made at the beginning of the year. One area of focus comes down to your career. Is that next promotion still on track? Or have things come to crashing standstill while you are tackling the next challenge at work, all necessary but not giving you the headspace to put your plans into motion? If you think doing your job well is more than enough to get noticed and promoted, think again. Leadership roles do not happen because you get lucky. In fact, when talking to groups of senior leaders comprised of women and men, I’m always struck by how many women will use the word ‘lucky’ when describing their journey into senior leadership. I don’t hear the same language from their male counterparts. How about this as a pushback, ‘the harder I work the luckier I get’?

Working hard is doing your job, that’s the baseline. But working hard and getting noticed requires more. It is about having a smart network around you and, in particular, a champion. A champion is not a sponsor nor a mentor. A champion is a senior leader, who may or may not be in your organization, but has the influence to open doors and talk about you. Your champion sees the future version of you, your potential. Karen Blackett OBE, Chair of Medicom and Country Manager at WPP shared her experiences with Forbes, ‘It’s important to have someone that knows what you are capable of and will talk about your capabilities in the circles you cannot access yet.’

Champions spot talent in ‘ones to watch’ (OTW) and take on the mantle of nurturing talent by creating opportunities to push OTW beyond their comfort zones. OTW are often women or those from diverse backgrounds who have potential but are struggling with visibility and/or confidence, which can stall their careers. So how is this relationship different from a sponsor or a mentor? In short, sponsorship is people talking about you while mentoring is people talking to you. Yet despite the big push for sponsors in companies, the findings indicate that men are over-sponsored while women are over-mentored. Mentoring alone does not provide a route to the top, says the research published by Herminia Ibarra and colleagues in the September 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review.

In 2015 Kitty Chisholm, my co-author on Championing Women leaders and I developed the Championing framework from the position of women in middle management, ambitious but hesitant about pushing themselves forward. At this point, it’s easy to confuse hesitation with risk aversion in going for senior roles, but here’s the crux, women handle risk differently to men. Women are less likely to take on risk if the process around decision- making is unclear or lacks transparency. This doesn’t mean women won’t put themselves forward, but that they need to trust the process.

Championing – what the evidence shows

Our global research on women in leadership unearthed Championing as the unifying factor in the experiences of some 60 women leaders we interviewed from over 52 countries. This heterogeneous group of women represented a vast range of backgrounds, from African villages through first-generation migrants to Canada, to senior civil servants in the Caribbean. Education was a given, early high performance was achieved, but each of these women had a champion who propelled them to leadership roles in a way most of them had not considered at the start of their careers.

Champions have a vested interest in this process, a belief in nurturing talent in their teams and recognition of the importance of creating strong teams as part of their succession planning. Champions will only invest in upcoming talent that deserves the opportunity because there is a risk. They are aligning their brand with the individual they are working with, and so they pick carefully. Success for their OTW is a success for the Champion too.

Creating a championing relationship

As an OTW there are certain traits you need that are important in building a championing relationship. These are credibility, confidence, consistency. Credibility speaks to how well you do your job. Are you competent? This may seem like a rather simple question, but do you have all bases covered and are you recognized as someone who does their job well? Do you get things done when you say you will, to a high standard? If you are not sure about this question, seek feedback from colleagues and address any gaps.

So much has been written about how confidence manifests itself differently for women and men, suffice to say at this point, confidence is built through opportunities to stretch and prove yourself, which, historically, have been more often available to men. Consider what your pinch points are around confidence, and work out what help you need to land that challenging role. This doesn’t mean you need to solve this yourself but acknowledging where you need an extra boost will improve the effectiveness of your championing relationship. Importantly, taking action to move your career forward does not risk your authenticity; instead, it’s about making sure that others, in particular, decision-makers see what your champion sees in you.

Champions look for individuals who are well-regarded by their colleagues and peers, and this leads to the next trait, consistency. Flashes of greatness are best left to super-heroes – in reality, champions want to support someone who is consistent in their performance and their behavior. When a champion works with you, they align their reputation with yours, and they want assurance that you will continue to build a trajectory of successful delivery. Back to the credibility point, do you deliver with the highest results every time? Blackett is very clear about the impact of a champion, ‘The people that know me and backed me, their support has been invaluable.’

What motivates a champion?

Champions invest resources in others without the direct benefit associated with sponsorship. So what motivates them? John Donovan, Vice President, Commercial & SMB, Cisco credited with championing a strong stream of talented individuals explains why championing is so important; ‘I find it personally fulfilling, helping people and seeing them thrive is its own reward.’ Donovan identifies his position as a champion is to help talented OTW to see their potential beyond their current role and to encourage them to believe in themselves.

Building a championing relationship is not a one-way process of waiting for a hand to come down and rescue you. You need to scour senior leaders to identify someone who will be an effective champion. This means an individual who has clout amongst their peers to create stretch opportunities, and also the willingness to make time to invest in your leadership development, providing critical feedback and suggestions for moving forward. Donovan describes this can be uncomfortable at times, ‘I need to push them with a safety net but without mollycoddling them.’

In some cases, this individual may not be in your organization, and that’s fine as long – as they can leverage relationships to help your career aspirations. This is where the fourth C matters, connecting. This is a personal relationship and how well you get on with each other is down to trust and an aligned outlook on life. It can take time to find the right champion, and to do so, it helps to know yourself well enough to know what you are looking for in that relationship.

A quick recap of the 4 Cs for Championing:

Credibility – demonstrate your credentials in being investment-worthy.

Confidence – recognize confidence manifests itself differently in different people. This means you need to know what you do well and how you draw attention to your success or where you might need a boost of support.

Consistency – mitigate risk by ensuring others see you perform well in various situations.

Connecting – build your brand to raise your visibility for champions to spot you.

With a champion vested in your progress, you generate a roadmap for career progress. Once you have reached your leadership goal, you, in turn, create your own brand of championing to develop your team and legacy. This is where success lies, and undoubtedly you will attribute success to smart working rather than luck with the reply; ‘the smarter I work, the luckier I get!’

Via The Jakarta Post : How to utilize social media in your job search

With the huge role that social media plays in our personal lives, it’s no surprise that it also has a big influence on our professional lives. Employers are increasingly using social media channels to screen potential new employees. Whether you’re an avid user of social media or not, it’s likely to play a role in your job search.

Not only are companies using social media as a way to promote externally or to do background checks on potential employees but it is also an effective tool to manage staff internally and to drive retention. Platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are no longer simply places to post holiday photos and connect with old friends. They have become a way for people to present a carefully curated profile of a well-rounded professional.

Here are some tips on how to utilize social media to your benefit on your quest for a new role:

1. Never underestimate the power of a great social resume

More than a third (37 percent) of recruiters use social and professional media as their number one source for finding talent. Does yours show that you’re an expert in your field? Do you share regular, industry-related content? It’s not just about ensuring your job title and contact details are on all your social profiles – it’s about how you position yourself to others.

2. Consider LinkedIn as your new resume

Almost every recruiter on the planet (97 percent) uses LinkedIn to find potential recruits – what will they find on yours? As a minimum, you should keep your summary and experience sections updated, and your profile photo should be a professional looking headshot. Along with the profile, try to be active on LinkedIn. Like and share insightful, industry-related content and engage with others in your field with comments and join in on other discussions.

3. Be mindful on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Everyone loves to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as a way to interact with friends – but if you’re not careful with your privacy settings, anyone could be seeing what you post and your comments on other posts. And while your friends might love that photo of you partying in Las Vegas, it may not be as impressive to a potential employer.

Of course, you have a life outside of work, and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are among places to share your experiences. Just ensure your privacy settings keep your personal and professional lives separate. Facebook now allows users to create a following without having to add everyone as a friend and Instagram now has a close friends feature where your posts can be seen only by a selected circle or friends.

Focus on building a following based on useful content that portrays your value to potential employers.

4. Forget contact details and forget that job offer

No matter how impressive your social resume is, if hiring managers can’t find a way to contact you there will be no job offer. Include at least one way for people to contact you, even if it’s a separate email used only for professional purposes. Twenty-nine percent of job seekers have been contacted by recruiters via social media.

5. Start a blog to land a job

It’s great to share relevant articles across social media to impress recruiters and even better to post something you’ve written yourself to really show you know what you’re talking about. LinkedIn Pulse can be a great way to publish articles to your network and beyond. Publishing on LinkedIn can position you as a thought leader in your industry, if you don’t have time to maintain a separate blog.

6. Watch your spelling and grammar at all times

You already know that correct spelling and grammar is essential on your CV and cover letter, but it also matters on social media, particularly on LinkedIn. Before you hit publish on any public post, have one more look for any spelling or grammar mistakes. Sixty-six percent of recruiters will be turned off by poor spelling and grammar across your public social media profiles.

7. Consider new social platforms

Companies are starting to look at platforms other than the usual LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for talent, especially if your role requires quite a bit of creativity. Consider using other platforms such as Pinterest or YouTube to showcase your unique talents and interests in a way that doesn’t come across in a simple text CV.

8. Go social regardless of skill level

Powerful social resumes aren’t just for high-level managers. In fact, 87 percent of jobs recruited through social media are for non-management roles. Show your knowledge as an industry expert through what you post on social media.

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