Make it Happen: Turbo Charge Your Career Advancement
Ensure that you are doing all you can to advance your career by taking an active role in your professional development.
A proactive approach toward planning, goal-setting, and skills development are key factors in advancing your career. When it comes to career, big goals are important, but setting and achieving smaller goals throughout the year will go a long way toward making a positive impact on your career advancement.
1. Have a Long-Term Plan. Having a plan for advancement is a useful exercise. Most people are comfortable thinking in terms of a five-year plan. Set a course for your career and take the steps you need to get there. If you know where you want to go you stand a much better chance of getting there. Find out what skills you need to improve, what knowledge you need to acquire to move to the next stop on your career path. What kind of job do you see yourself having five years from now? A good way to answer this question is to take stock of your professional accomplishments to date, and decide where you would like to head in the future.
2. Set Small Goals, in Addition to Your Larger Annual Goals. We all have annual goals that we’re tasked to accomplish. These are usually part of larger organizational goals. But a year is a long time to wait before achieving a tangible goal. For your own career, it’s far more productive to set a series of smart, smaller goals that you can accomplish throughout the year. Think about things you could do better to improve the quality of your work. Are there ways in which you can stretch yourself? What about setting a smaller goal for something that may intimidate you, such as attending networking events or publishing an industry blog that showcases your expertise (We’re always looking for your blog posts and articles!)? Are there skills you could learn to help your career and add value? Be sure to set deadlines for your smaller goals and give yourself an honest evaluation of how you did.
3. Learn More About Your Industry. Designate time each week to learn about the graduate management education space. Interview colleagues and get feedback from students. This will enable you to develop thoughtful insights about GME and your school. Spend time reading blogs, articles, and books about the industry. Reading new things can start conversations when you’re networking and can also help you build your own voice and expertise.
4. Find a Mentor. Finding the right professional mentor is not easy, but the payoff can be well worth the investment in time and energy. A mentor can help you advance your career by helping you expand your network, hone your career goals, gain skills, and navigate obstacles. When identifying a mentor, find someone whom you trust, whose career path you admire, who has experience you can learn from, and who is willing to invest in you. You’ll want your prospective mentor to have some kind of professional experience that relates to your goals. And make sure your mentor has the bandwidth for such a relationship and appreciates the payoff to you. For more advice on mentoring, see the December 2015 issue of Graduate Management News.
5. Do Your Job Well. Kind of a no-brainer, but arguably the most important thing you can do to advance you career is to show that you can deliver results. Be the best at what you do and people will notice. Demonstrate not only ability but passion. Go the extra mile. Do things that are not expected of you. Be an effective communicator, manage your time wisely, and demonstrate knowledge in your area.