Everyone dreams of success and achievement, regardless of what career they are in. Setting career goals is absolutely essential for any professional. Growth can only be achieved if we have a clear vision of what we want from the future.
But that isn’t always easy to do.
A lot of people find it difficult to set goals that are desirable but also realistically achievable and well-planned. And setting up career objectives can be extremely stifling and stressful when we fall into this category. But this is perfectly understandable. We are dealing with our lives and every choice we make can have lasting consequences. But being difficult is not the same thing as being impossible.
Listed below are some of the best professional goals that you can set up for yourself to reap the most benefits in the long run.
8 Best Professional Goals That Will Lead You To Success
1. Change Career Path.
The very first step you should take before setting any professional goals for yourself is to objectively assess your current employ. Ask yourself, “Am I happy with my job? Do I see myself moving forward at a reasonable pace? Is there room for growth in my current career?”
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘No’, then you might want to consider changing jobs first before setting up goals for yourself.
The whole process of changing jobs might be daunting but, in many cases, very important for your sake. Staying in a thankless job that does not offer you room to grow professionally just because it is comfortable and/or ‘safe’ may seem like an okay compromise; but it has terrible effects on your life in the long turn. All it does is strangle your chances of professional growth and success and keeps you in a limbo.
Identify where your current career is headed and if you don’t like what you observe, quit. Find something you are passionate about instead. Sure, it may pay less at first, but, given enough time and effort, you will be much better off in the long run.
2. Build Your Knowledge.
Knowledge is the foundation upon which great careers are built. Thus, it is important for any professional to constantly build on what they already know.
Work towards earning a degree or take a skill-based course. Train to speak a new language to get access to new markets. The act of learning something new not only makes you more valuable as an asset but also improves your skills and helps you stay on your toes in a world that is always changing.
So, take a proactive approach when it comes to accumulating new knowledge. Because investing effort into learning anything that improves your performance can and will give you an edge over your competitors in your professional life.
3. Get Exposed.
Not literally, of course! But jokes aside, getting exposure is an absolute necessity if you are adamant about finding success.
Start promoting yourself actively on social media and set up a website advertising your personal brand. All sorts of professionals need to invest in publicity and there’s no better medium than the internet in the modern world.
The internet is great help when you’re trying to put yourself out there – whether you are interested in getting what you are selling out there or just trying to rack up on followers. Most companies have also begun screening the social media activity of potential as well as hired employees, so your website or social media account also doubles as a digital portfolio. Just be careful of the things you are posting!
4. Build a Network.
In a perfect world, nepotism does not exist. Unfortunately for us, we do not live in that perfect world.
But don’t let that get you down. Because there’s nothing you can do to change that. What you can do is use it to your advantage.
Mingle with people. You don’t have to be best buddies but try to at least be on good terms with numerous acquaintances. Successful people always have a legion of people they are in touch with. Because they know that isolation can be deadly – more so in a professional setting where your competitors will not think twice about tearing you apart.
Knowing people, especially the right ones, can make all the difference in your career. Not only does it give you a layer of protection, it can also open up numerous opportunities for you to get ahead in your career. Because often, who you know matters much more than who you are or what you can do.
5. Establish Your Market.
If you want people to buy what you’re selling, you have to really know who you’re selling to.
That feels like common sense in business and you probably think you are doing it already. But are you really? The most successful professionals know their market like the back of their hand. They have carefully dissected the thought process of their ‘buyers’ and have a very good grasp on how to appeal to them. And so should you.
Make it your mission to understand who you are appealing to. Consult with members of your chosen market and analyze their patterns and beliefs. Understand what makes them happy and what makes them tick. You should try and get to the point where you could probably finish their sentences.
Sure, it may sound extreme to aspiring professionals. But when you think about how every successful business has entire divisions devoted to marketing, you have to admit that knowing your buyers is a fundamental prerequisite for success.
6. Improve Your Communication Skills.
You might have everything you need to make it big. You know your market and you’ve got something they definitely want (even if they don’t realize it yet!) So, why aren’t you getting any bites?
The answer may lie in ‘communication‘.
It’s unfortunate how many people underestimate the power of good communication skills. Especially when you consider the fact that it forms the cornerstone for developing a vast majority of important professional skills, like team-building or marketing. And it is one of those few skills that are very helpful in our personal lives as well.
Although good communication skills may feel like something you are born with, that just isn’t true. Like any other skill, it can be learned and perfected through practice. Take small steps – like learning how to start conversations with new people. You may not be charming the socks off of people but, given time and effort, you can develop your communication skills enough to really make a difference in your professional career.
7. Be Unique.
If you don’t want to settle for mediocrity, then you have to offer something nobody else is offering. And there is the problem. The modern markets are so saturated with products and services of every kind that it is almost impossible to stand out.
But is it really?
The truth is that it doesn’t matter what you are trying to ‘sell’. The only thing that really matters is how you brand your ‘product’.
For example, let us have a look at this Apple Commercial from the 2000s. Now basically what Apple was inferring in that commercial was that by buying and using their products we were setting ourselves apart from the ‘herd’. If you owned an Apple product, you were basically a rebel – a genius even! Ironically, Apple was offering nothing ‘unique’ at the time. You could easily find every product they were offering from their competitors – at cheaper prices too! But none of that mattered because of the way they branded themselves and their products.
You could be selling milk, for all intents and purposes, and still make a killing if you brand yourself right. And regardless of what your profession is, that is something you should aim to master. Learn how to set yourself apart. Design or re-invent your personal brand to make yourself more appealing to your consumers. It might take a bit of experimentation to get it just right but once you do, you will find yourself getting away with what could be considered daylight robbery!
8. Find Happiness.
Finally, make sure your career is something that makes you happy or will bring you happiness in the long run.
Those who get ahead in their careers are usually the people who are very vocal about how much they love their jobs. And it makes sense. You can only apply yourself passionately when your profession is your vocation or even your calling. But we often compromise on this – especially if what we do is particularly more lucrative than what we would like to do. But putting up with a well-paying but uninspiring job is very much like being in a terrible relationship. The more you stay in it, the more toxicity you allow into your life.
Contentment and your career don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Because when all is said and done, your happiness and satisfaction with your profession matters much more than how much it pays.
Setting professional goals for yourself isn’t very difficult. Once you reflect on what you want from your career and prioritize accordingly, it can become quite a simple and achievable task. Just don’t give up on yourself or your career at the first sign of trouble and you will be fine. The road maybe bumpy but you’ll get there if you keep moving forward.
As always, best of luck!
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