The importance of setting goals can be likened to consulting a map. If you’re setting out to go somewhere you haven’t been to before, you’re more likely than not to need a map to help you get there. Setting goals is similar when considering your career map.
1. Set career goals
To ensure that your goals stand the best chance of being reached, they need to be SMART! SMART is a learning technique, outlining criteria’s to help guide you through setting your objectives, for example:
Specific – what is your goal? How often/how much? Where will it take place?
Measurable – how will you measure it? How will you keep yourself accountable?
Achievable – are your goals attainable?
Realistic – is your goal or timeframe realistic for the goal you have set?
Timely – do you have a specific timeframe/date set?.
2. Managing your career
Once you’ve set your goals, next you’ll need to outline your career plan. How are your goals going to work in or align with your values, preferences, interests and personal circumstances?
Your career plan should include milestones (specific stages throughout your goal and development journey) and the role of mentors or coaches (is there anyone who can help your development/career/goals? How can you best utilise them?). Another focus area should be building your profile – utilise social media platforms such as LinkedIn – showcase your achievements, awards, projects and experience. Finally, plan for continuing education, whether it’s a formal course or free online learning webinars, by committing to additional learning you are allowing yourself every opportunity stay ahead of the pack.
Once you map out your plan and direction, remember to seize every opportunity by being prepared to adapt to circumstances that arise.
3. Sourcing opportunities
When it comes to sourcing opportunities there are four key areas to consider.
- Review job boards and websites regularly – sign up to job alerts and email notifications from job search websites so you when jobs matching your criteria are advertised, you are the first to know.
- Build and promote your personal brand – the fastest way to build your brand is to give value – share your experience, connections and help those around you – being able to walk your talk has a greater and lasting impact than another person who only talks.
- Use social media to your advantage – outline your experience on LinkedIn, join groups, add colleagues, get your name out there and attached to great conversations and projects. However, as with all social media, ensure that all of your interactions online are appropriate (i.e. would a potential employer be happy to see that?) and untag, unsubscribe, and delete anything that isn’t.
- Understand and take advantage of the ‘hidden job market’ – with as much as 80% of available jobs never being formally advertised, it is always a good idea to keep in contact with your connections and turn to them first when searching for new opportunities.
So when it comes to your career, don’t wing it. Make sure you have a good map and of course you may need to change directions every now and again. Just make sure you are heading in the right direction.
Looking for your next career opportunity? Take a look at the current roles we have on offer, visit our Job Seekers page.