Manage Your Career

Have you set goals for your career in 2016?

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by Karen Adamedes

Now that the champagne has been popped, fireworks set off and the ball in Times Square has not only been dropped but packed away (where do they keep that thing?) and life is returning to usual after the holidays – do you know what you want to achieve in 2016?

Are you struggling with the words that go after “This year I’m going to…. ” ?

The New Year is a time that many of us use to wipe the slate clean of the previous year and set new goals. The big question for many of us is….what do I really want to achieve?

If you’re like me the conversation sometime over the Christmas / New Year period involved friends and family discussing goals and plans for 2016.

Lose weight, get organized, relax and save more were common themes for everyone around our table. Along with career goals to get a promotion, change jobs or achieve a better balance between work and home (that was a big one!).

But to be honest (and it may have been the wine involved) many of these resolutions were so vague that it would be a big jump to get from the goal to the actions that would be required to achieve them. Which is probably why so few New Year’s resolutions are achieved. According to the folks who know about these things (at the University of Scranton) just 8% of people stick to their resolutions.

The key to make the changes that you need to achieve a goal (and stick with them longer than February) is to have specific actionable steps. However, before you can do this – you need to know EXACTLY what you want to achieve (No, I’m not yelling at you with the capitals…just making sure you are paying attention).

Being more awesome might be important to you. But how will you know that you are more awesome? In what area of your life or career?

Getting a promotion would also be fabulous. But to what role? For which company? With what salary?

Maybe you want to increase your skills to get an edge in your occupation? But which skills?

You get the drift…you need to have a clear goal.

The question is, if you’re not quite sure, how do you set your career goals for the year ahead?

Here’s 7 questions to ask yourself that can help you work out what you really want. (I’d recommend a quiet spot, a glass of wine or a cup of tea or coffee and a note pad to doodle on whilst you contemplate these…I find a nice view helps as well…)

Take time out to set your goals for 2016

My goal setting venue for 2016 – Sunshine Coast, Australia

 

Got your spot sorted? Ok, here are the questions…

1. What are you pleased that you achieved in 2015?

What are the two or three things you did last year that you’re proud of? They don’t have to be items that you would list on your resume or discuss in an annual performance review. But things that you did that you are really pleased about. They are a good guide to what is important to you.

2. What were your goals for 2015?

Do they map to the achievements you’re pleased about?

Or were there New Year’s resolutions from last year that didn’t happen?

(Don’t feel bad…according to that University of Scranton study there would be a 94% chance of this!)

3. Do you still want to achieve any of those outstanding 2015 goals?

Really? If you had a whole year and they didn’t get prioritized what’s going to be different about this year? Why/How will you get cut through this year?

Sometimes goals don’t get started because they are almost too important and you think that you need more time than you have to dedicate to them.

So there may be something that you do really want to do that just didn’t get off the starting block in 2015 (or 2014, or 2013). If that’s the case have a think about if there is a way you can break the goal down into smaller tasks. Or how you can readjust your expectations so that conditions don’t have to be “perfect” for you to get started.

4. What will make you pleased if in your 2016 end-of-year reflections you can say “I’m really pleased that this year I…” 

Think ahead to next New Year (OMG!)…what would make you feel happily smug with yourself if you achieve it this year?

5. What do you need to achieve a bigger goal?

Is there a qualification you need to score a promotion?

An association or organization you need to join to meet key people in your industry or company?

Something you need to learn?

A milestone goal you can set?

6. What’s in your heart that you really want to do?

It may not seem achievable, it may not seem like a priority in your day-to-life…but you really want to be working towards it.

Don’t discount your dreams for what you think you should be doing.

If there is something you really want how does it sound at the end of the “This year I’m going to…” sentence?

And finally…

7. What can you do to make your goal a reality?

Work out how you are going to get started, what you are going to do and when you are going to do it.

You don’t want your priority for 2016 to be on your list of resolutions that didn’t get off the ground when you look back over the year…

Hopefully these questions have provided you with some food for thought about what you would like to achieve this year.

All the best for a happy and fulfilling 2016!

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How to start your New Year’s resolutions…

New year to do_edited-3

4 Easy Ways to Fast Track Your Career – Now

It's not too late to set your mid-year resolution

It’s not too late to set your mid-year resolution

There is never a bad time to move your career in the right direction. If you have made resolutions back in January that you’ve never worked towards, now is the time to set yourself some mid-year goals so you can take a step to achieving what want from your career.

Midyear Resolution #1: Make a plan

It’s good to be flexible and pursue opportunities as and when they arise. However, if you want to achieve your full potential it’s also a good idea to have a long-term career plan in place.

If you haven’t got one already, then now is the best time to get your long terms goals (and how you plan on getting there) down on paper.

Things to think about:

  • Clarify your career objectives (what are you good at and what do you enjoy?)
  • Do you need to gain any additional training or qualifications to help move your career in the right direction?
  • What are the potential barriers that will stop you from achieving your goals?

Making long term plans can be daunting, but not having a plan at all can mean you get left behind, lost and without a sense of career direction.

Midyear Resolution #2: Get networking

As they say, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”.

The more people who know and like you at work, the better. People buy, hire and want to work with people they like, know and trust. Networking is also a great way to expand your knowledge and learn from others in your industry.

Although it may seem like a chore, try to attend at least one networking event each month. Making this a regular activity in your monthly schedule will help to raise your profile and build your confidence. Building your networking activity on LinkedIn will also help.

Sit down at the start of the year to investigate networking groups that are suitable for you and your long-term goals.

Midyear Resolution #3:  Get noticed at work

While it’s all to easy to keep your head down and get on with your job – it’s never too late to show off a little and get noticed for all your hard work.

You might be the hardest working person on the team, but if you aren’t at the front of people’s minds then it’s likely you may get passed up for additional responsibilities, new projects and it may prevent a promotion.

Here are some tips on how to stand out at work:

  • Aim to be efficient in the tasks and jobs that will help your manager the most.
  • Develop and expand on your specialist skills. Is there any additional training or qualifications that you could put yourself forward for?
  • Flexibility – be the person that says ‘yes’ – not ‘no’.

Midyear Resolution #4: Keep a record of your accomplishments

While you might be fantastic at your job – we often forget to keep track of all the things that we have achieved overtime.

Keeping a record of your accomplishments is key for future performance reviews, job interviews and Recognition of Prior Learning assessments.

Document all of your achievements and keep them in a file. If you are stuck for things to include, then ask yourself these questions:

  • What challenges have you personally helped to resolve?
  • What things did you have to overcome to resolve it?
  • What were the results you helped to achieve?

If you would like to gain new skills and qualifications, then speak to the team at Capital Training Institute. They offer Australian training and qualifications in:

For more information on how can you can fast track your career, visit the Capital Training Institute website today!

 

(by the way this blog post was sponsored by the Capital Training Institute)

How to approach a potential mentor

by Karen Adamedes

By the time you approach a potential mentor you should have identified what you want to learn from them and have decided that the person you are going to approach will be able to help you. (This can be the easy bit!)

Often we don’t progress to the next step of following through because we’re not sure how to ask, don’t want them to think we need help or are nervous about being rejected.

I personally am guilty of all 3 but I have also used all the strategies suggested below and they have worked. (Yes, all Career Tips To Go have been pre-tested!)

There are a number of different strategies you can use, depending on your intended victim (prospective mentor, that is) and how well you know them.

The worst thing that can happen is that they say no. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as my mother would say. As long as you ask professionally there is no reason not to give it a go!

Mentor Target 1 – Someone you know!

If you approach someone you have an established relationship with you can get straight to the issue that you are seeking help with. You don’t even have to use the “m” word (mentor!) 

Here are a couple of approaches:

I’m currently working on improving my presentation skills (insert your skill of choice) and I was wondering if we could catch up so I could ask you a few questions about how you (whatever they do)?

or

It’s been really helpful when we’ve talked previously, I have a few career options that I’m weighing up and I wonder if you’d have time for a chat/coffee?

These approaches cover why you want some of the valuable time and how they can help. If you ask in this way and do get turned down, usually it will be for a genuine reason, such as time or work pressures. Not because they don’t want to help you.

At the very least you will have represented yourself as a professional who is serious about your career.  If they do say “yes” it could be helpful for just the issue you approach them about or the beginning of a longer term mentoring relationship.

Like I said, you don’t have to formally ask if the person will mentor you. But a follow up thank you call, a second meeting, you start to build a relationship by catching up regularly – and before you know – You’ve got ’em. (As a mentor that is!)

Mentor Target 2 – Your Manager is moving on

This assumes that you manager has skills that you want to learn and you’d like a formal way to keep in touch with them.  (There are some managers you are more than happy to see walk out the door…let those ones go!) Hopefully you have a good one, but they may be moving to a new company or just another position, (I once had a manager resign 6 weeks after I took a job specifically so I could work with them…sigh!) whatever the move it means you lose the day to day learning experience with them.

Who could resist this approach?

I am so pleased you have this opportunity. But I’ll miss the chance to work with you and learn more about your approach to XYZ. Do you think you might be able to continue working with me on this as a mentor?

Formalizing your relationship at this stage makes it legitimate for you to keep in contact even if they’re up to their necks in their new role. They will remember the commitment that they made to you.

Mentor Target 3 – Someone you don’t know (well)

Let’s assume you have some vague association with the person and are not just randomly approaching senior managers trying to land a mentor. (This really wouldn’t meet our pre-requisite of knowing what you want to learn from someone anyway!) 

This association – whether you work in the same organization or business unit, or someone has recommended you to approach them, or have a work issue is common – whatever it is – this is your introduction to why you are getting in touch and will allow you to establish your credibility.

Once you have done this – proceed as you would with someone you know better, explaining why you want to speak to them, what you are trying to learn and how you think they can help.

Career Tip To Go:

People will be flattered when you ask for their help. The type of person that you are likely to want to learn from is very often the type of person that wants to help.

Just ask.

 

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