Your Job Is A Small Part of Your Career

In this four-part series, I discuss practical ways to help you reach both short- and long-term goals, strike a positive work-life balance, harness your self-interests and passions, and expand your network and skillset.

When you think of your career, your current job is probably the first thing that springs to mind. But this job is only a small part of your career journey.

Why Defining Your Career Goals Is Important Right Now

Getting caught up in the day-to-day of your job can make you lose sight of overarching career goals. This is especially relevant now, as we all adjust to recovering from the pandemic.

Don’t let daily stresses make you forget about what you want. Take charge of your personal development. Reinvent your career and yourself by recalibrating your goals.

Recalibrating Your Career Goals with 3 Types of Goals

To recalibrate your goals, be sure to categorize your goals in the following types to keep you motivated and on-track toward achieving them:

Category 1: Short-term, annual goals

Your short-term goals should be things you’re able to achieve within 12 to 18 months. These goals shouldn’t just be a position, promotion or amount of money. Set goals to increase your knowledge, be an expert, expand your experience, or improve your time management strategies. These broad goals will help you feel more fulfilled than narrow ones could.

Category 2: Long-term goals

Take the short-term goals you’ve set and think bigger, towards a 3-year goal. This goal should be the culmination of your short-term efforts. Identify the “ideal position” you’d like to reach and never lose sight of it.

Category 3: Broad, overarching goals to ladder up to

When forming goals, keep them broad. This is why it’s so critical to look at your career as more than the job you currently have. 

Unlike using your current job to define your career goals (which lends itself to narrow goal-setting), use your personal mission to help define your progress. This broad goal-setting will get you closer to what you want.

Being broad is especially important as the world reopens, and flexibility is key to success.

How To Implement Broad Goal-Setting in Your Career [A Step-by-Step Guide]

Now that you know how important it is to set broad goals, I’ll walk you through how to implement them to reinvent your career.

Achieve your 12 to 18-month goals

To set a realistic 12 to 18-month goal, commit to completing a coaching program, or professional development modules that align with your field. Or, set goals to attend a certain number of virtual networking events, following up with panelists through LinkedIn afterward. 

By continuously learning and networking, you’ll become an expert in your domain and set yourself up for future success.

Achieve your 3-year goals

You’ve got your ideal position in mind. Now, take jobs and personal development opportunities to help you get it.

Let’s say your ideal career is to be a social media marketing manager. Gain progressive experience by taking on more social media-specific tasks in your current communications specialist position. After you’ve been a communications specialist for a year or two, get a new job as a community manager or a content creator. Keep gaining more experience in the field until you become qualified to step into a position that lets you manage social media.

Regardless of your industry, you’ll want to invest in a professional coaching program. These programs will hold you accountable to your long-term goals. They’ll also give you the confidence you need to pursue what you want. 

When you look back in 3 years, you’ll thank your past self for being so proactive. 

Have a plan

Make sure that you have an action plan for achieving the goals you’ve set. As they say, a goal is a dream with a plan. Creating a specific plan with deadlines and metrics will also help you hold yourself accountable to your goals. If you need help doing this, professional coaching can be a lifesaver.

Take feedback

Receiving feedback with grace can be challenging. But taking constructive feedback, and setting aside your own frustrations about it, can bring you closer to reaching your goals. 

Remember, your inner compass can help show you what’s best for yourself—but sometimes, you need the guidance of a North Star to help point you in the optimal direction.  

Reflect, reassess, and commit

Circumstances change, and so do people. That’s why it’s critical to make sure what you’re doing is what you want to work towards. So, when you’re setting a goal, check in with yourself about it. Ask yourself questions, and really listen to the answers. 

If you have to reassess and recalibrate your goals, do it. And once you do, commit to those new goals until you feel the need to recalibrate again. 

As long as you set goals that get you closer to your personal mission, you’re on the right track.

Advocate for yourself

Remember, the only person looking out for you is yourself. Be prepared to communicate clearly with your employer and advocate frequently for yourself in order to get what you want. This is a crucial step in reinventing your career. 

Looking for expert advice to help you move your career forward? Then, head to my YouTube channel where I share short videos designed to help you better manage your career, negotiate with confidence and keep you motivated to reach your goals.

If you found this information helpful, please share it with others! You can find more articles chock-full of great information on my blog page Unleash Your Potential.

As a leadership and negotiation strategist, Elizabeth Suárez works with organizations to develop their professionals into effective leaders and influencers

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