How to Grab Your Career by the Horns and Steer It in the Right Direction

People with the most successful careers don’t sit around waiting for the next great opportunity to fall into their laps. They stand up and take charge of their ideas and passions. Then, they can effectively plan for what will come next. This is the basis for building your unique brand and selling it when the right time comes.

Define your success.

Understand where you currently are and where you want to go. Be crystal clear on your goals and purpose.

• Define your strengths and weaknesses. Where and how can you grow? What do you need to do to increase your value? Once you work out what success means to you, you can plot the best route to get there.

Draw your roadmap.

Driving your career forward requires careful, thoughtful, strategic planning. In the words of philosopher Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.”

• Start with the end in mind. Where do you want to be next year at this time? How about in five years? Ten? Once you have this mapped out, you can begin to formulate the steps needed to achieve it.

• Be realistic, which means being flexible. Often, there are no straight roads to success. Enter into your plan knowing that due to any number of unplanned factors, life may change. Hopefully, you won’t ever have to scrap your plan altogether, but possibly modify it or take a slightly different route.

Build your team.

Taking control of your career is easier when you surround yourself with people who can add knowledge and value to it.

• Find a mentor. Most successful professionals have been where you are at some point. Seek out a mentor with relevant experience who can guide you along your career path.

• Network. Having a strong network of colleagues and industry pros is one of the best ways to gain career momentum. Attend business and social events. Pursue every opportunity to add contacts and connections.

• Utilize LinkedIn to the fullest possible potential. Complete your profile. Post a professional photo of yourself. Continually expand your web of connections and follow influential leaders. Join groups and participate in conversations. Contribute value-added content.

Develop your skills.

Ask yourself if you know that your greatest contribution to our business is – and if you’re not totally clear, turn to your manager and mentor for clarification. Even if you have your own list of improvements to make, always ask what you could do better.

• Fill any gaps in your skillset. This may mean going back to school or other formal training.

Or, maybe you need to shadow someone with the skills you’re seeking.

Exceed expectations.

Stand out to your leaders, stakeholders, and network. To do this, you need to stretch beyond your comfort zone at times.

• Volunteer for challenging tasks and assignments. Your success in performing above expectations will enable you to be a standout. If you can become the person others turn to for your expertise, you will be in better control of your own future.
The TRC Professional Solutions team of career development experts can help you advance at every step along your journey. To learn more, read our related posts or contact us today.