Manage Your Career With The End in Mind

Posted by Ruth Harper on December 13, 2017 at 11:46 AM
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To achieve success in today's ever-changing world of work, it's important to be forward-thinking and have your professional end goal in mind.

The best way measure success is to begin with an end goal in mind. That's just as true when you're managing your career as it is with anything else. With individuals working longer and harder than ever before (12 percent of Millennials globally saying that it is unlikely they will ever retire!), it's important to take the time to take stock of what matters most and define the goals you hope to achieve in your career. 

Setting Yourself up for Success

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With so many jobs, industries and career opportunities out there, you may not have a precise end goal inmind. However, in order to grow and advance, it is necessary to take the time to think through the direction you want to go. Outlining your career path is a great way to define your professional journey and understand your long-term goals. The best practice when setting goals is to ensure:

  • It is specific – “I want to own my own publishing business.”

  • It is measurable – So you can check your progress along the way and know when you've achieved your goal.

  • It is achievable – If you desire to be the dean of a university, but your education goals are to stop after your undergraduate studies, you likely will never become a university dean. You have to be able to achieve your goal.

  • It is relevant - When envisioning your professional career goals, it's important to keep in mind how your education and experiences can help shape and contribute what you can achieve in your chosen industry.  

  • It has a deadline (and is time bound) – Within 20 years, or before your professional retirement.

3 Strategic Considerations for Long-Term Career Planning

  1. The only constant in today's dynamic world of work is how entirely unpredictable it often can be. With technology increasing the pace of change daily, it's important for today's professional to take an active role in managing their own career. You can no longer afford to be in the back seat of your own career. Proactively schedule career conversations with your manager, work to define your personal brand, and take the time to understand what makes you unique and valuable to an employer. 

  2. Become a lifelong learner. Consider your professional skill set. Will it stand the test of time; or, more likely, will you need to actively invest in ongoing education and upskilling to ensure you remain employable? Employees with high "learnability" will be best positioned for the long haul - so never stop learning or investing in your personal brand and professional skills. 

  3. Develop professional agility and remain open to change. No longer can employees expect a "job for life" with one employer. Today, the traditional "job ladder" has become a "career lattice" as employees find themselves needing to move, and move again not only for more money and improved work/life balance, but also for growth and advancement opportunities. In a recent survey, 47 percent of respondents said they expect to work at two to five companies during their careers. Another 20 percent indicated six to nine organizations. As you invest in your own growth, learn additional skills and gain valuable experience, your professional goals are likely to evolve. Don't be afraid to weigh the benefits of new career opportunities even if it means adjusting your original goal,  moving to a new company, or investing in additional education. 

As you envision your career, be mindful of your end goal. Don't be afraid to take risks to stretch and grow along the way, and be sure to establish milestones and signposts to ensure your career journey is headed in the right direction. To achieve success in today's ever-changing world of work, it's important to be forward-thinking and have your professional end goal in mind. 

Topics: Employability, Career