A great career requires not just the ability to do a good job. The most successful management consultants and other executives invest time in planning to build their own career.
It is challenging to find time in a high-pressure job to devote time and energy to career development. However, it is important to set clear goals and identify a strategy to achieve them.
How do you identify your key career goals?
One technique is to write your own ‘fantasy CV’ dated 5 or 10 years in the future. From this, you can map out the path you need to take to make this CV become reality.
- By specific when you identify your goals. What do you want to achieve and by when?
- Work back from your objectives to determine what you need to do to achieve these goals. Set target dates and deadlines.
- Identify key points on the critical path to achieving your objective. These may include developing new skills, gaining different experience, further education or training.
Consider the career path of others who have achieved your chosen career goal and identify the skills they acquired to succeed. Then learn from their experiences where possible.
An additional comment here would be that every now and then you need to ask the “Life, The Universe and Everything” question ie what really matters to you in your life and therefore decide how your career is going to fit in with that.
Relationships with other people are a crucial success factor in career development. Build up a network of individuals who can help you to achieve your goals. Consider what you can offer in return because the most effective relationships require give and take.
- learn from other people’s experiences,
- benefit from the advice of mentors
- seek constructive criticism of your own skills
- enlist support for your career objectives
Focus on your ambition
Once you have spent some time identifying your goals and your supporters you can then pull the facets of your career plan together into ‘Project Career’.
It is especially important to measure your progress regularly against target dates and deadlines. Periodically you should review the plan and adapt it if necessary.
Finally, try to avoid being distracted by excessive workload and deadlines!
Andrew Cooke of Blue Sky GPS (Growth and Profit Solutions) has written an excellent article “Building Your Career”
Specifically, he advocates:
- setting clear goals
- enlisting and influencing supporters
- making time to focus on pursuing your ambitions.
Incidentally, his website includes an archive of interesting and thought-provoking articles on the subject of unlocking and enhancing business and personal potential.