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Assess Your Career Goals for the Coming Year

Assess Your Career Goals for the Coming Year

The first step in developing career goals and plans to is stop and assess who we are. It seems an easy enough task, but we often avoid slowing down to truly answer these questions. Maybe it’s because we get so wrapped up in what we’re already doing, we can’t take the time, or maybe because we’re already successful, it’s a why bother factor. But a little quiet time often helps put a little perspective into our assessments.

Clarifying Interests

In a perfect world, how would you answer, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Only you hold the secret. Whether it’s a brand new career or a promotion within your present one that you’re after, good questions to ask ourselves include: What are my interests and passions? What’s important to me? What are my values? What are my passions? What am I good at? These beginning questions give us insight into what makes us tick, how we’re wired to be.

Determining Strengths

A primary question to ask is about our strengths. We want to pair our strengths with where we work and spend time for most of the day. So, do you know what you’re good at? Do you know what skills are needed in your “dream” job? If we know what skills we’ve developed through education, tasks and projects completed, volunteer work, working at a child’s school … no matter what it is, it can be translated into a skill or strength. It’s good to look at past performance appraisals, too. There we find an objective assessment of our skill levels.

Planning Goals, Short Term and Long Term

Webster defines the word goal as, “The end toward which effort is directed.” When it comes to goals, it helps to start brainstorming from a broad viewpoint. It’s easier to narrow down ideas once full concepts are explored. After setting goals, timeframes and/or step-by-step outlines help keep us on track. And mentors, coworkers and even friends can offer solid advice, appropriate time recommendations and steps we may not even know should be included. Sometimes it’s easy to put our goals on paper, just not all the steps that go with them.

What You Do Now

What do you love about your career? Is there a way you can do that more often? What is the least favorite part of your job? Is there a way to do that less often? According to a recent article release by Reuters, ACNielson, the global research group, interviewed people in 46 countries and found that more than half want work/life balance in 2007; they want work to play a lesser role in their lives. If you’re one of those who would have answered the same, then maybe what you do now doesn’t coincide with your career goals. But by assessing where we are currently, we can determine where we want to be.

Finding the Right Fit

Important things to consider when career planning include hours per day you want to work, shift hours (day or night), company cultures, traits and skills that need to be learned and whether you’re willing to acquire the education for those, willingness to relocate, feedback and advice from supervisors to determine if goals are realistic, and most important — is it what will fulfill you in your professional life.

All of this seems easy and basic, yet we don’t often stop to take the time to plan and suddenly we wake up and find ourselves on a road that just may not be fulfilling. If you are on the right path … Good for you! If you want to move higher in your career or if you want to change direction completely, a little planning goes a long way. Assessing your career goals for the coming year will help you stay on the track you want to be on.