December 26, 2012
Turn 2013 into a year of ongoing career success
As we celebrate the Christmas season and New Year and reflect back on 2012, I decided to focus on ways to turn 2013 into a year of ongoing career success. How can you do this? By creating a career strategic plan.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, a famous French writer, once said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." Achieving success requires more than luck and hard work -- it requires a plan. Here's my advice for creating a career strategic plan.
Look in the mirror. Begin by seeing yourself as a competitive product. Take inventory of your strengths, weaknesses and differentiators, and then challenge yourself by facing any weaknesses and making improvements. What books can you read or seminars can you attend to improve your professional skills?
Define your career aspirations. If you don't know where you want to go, how will you get there? Take time to clearly define your aspirations. Where do you want to be in your career in three years, five years, 10 years?
Get to know the competition. Competition is a fact of life. How do your skills stack up against others? Understanding your competition will help you determine your advantages and shortcomings, and help you decide on the actions you need to take to better compete by improving yourself.
Identify your goals and create your plan. Goals reflect what you want to accomplish to improve yourself and to continue moving forward in your career. They ensure that you are headed in the right direction and will achieve your aspirations quickly and efficiently. They are the steppingstones to your career aspirations.
Don't wait to get started. There's no time like the present. Don't let fear of the unknown hold you back. Career strategic plans, like ideas, are effective only if you implement them.
Celebrate your successes. Don't wait for others to shine a light on your accomplishments. Give yourself encouragement and rewards (new shoes, a movie night, a special dinner) to help provide motivation and inspiration as you continue on your path to accomplish your career dreams.
As the old saying goes: "If you always do what you've always done, you will always be where you've always been." Make 2013 the year to change what you've been doing by daring to dream and then creating a plan of action that will help you achieve your career aspirations. You can do it!
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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