HR & Personal Development

3 things you can do that brings you closer to your career goals

Are you gunning for a specific job, a promotion or becoming the keynote speaker at your organization's annual seminar ? And do you find it difficult figuring out how to get there? Here's a clear three-step-plan to help you get closer to your career goals.

Marketing strategist and author, Dorie Clark compares your career plan to the presidential campaigns because to make your career-dream come true, you must approach the planning process in the same strategic way.

Clark’s advice can be summarized to three  things:

  1. Set clear goals.
  2. Find out who's able to help you
  3. Get to know them

Set clear goals

You need to know where you want to go, before you can create a plan. A clear goal is indispensable when it comes to creating a successful career plan. Identify how you'll get there, who might help you and what abilities you must develop in order to fit the part. Also, identify when you want to reach your goal, because then you'll be able to work your way backwards through the actions that are required to reach your goal.

Create a career plan and plot in when you want to reach your goal.

Establish important milestones
To find your important milestones, ask people with similar jobs what the job requires. What does it take to administrate this exact function – educationally, personally, network? Have a plan of how you are going to get these competencies and plot them in your career plan.

Who can help you?

In order to reach your career goal, you must identify who's able to help you reach your goal. Not just people with authority like your (future) boss, but also indirect authorities (the boss’ wife, colleagues, the board, the hiring committee, etc.). Find ways to make your name appear in as many places in the everyday of the authorities as possible – so that you become the obvious choice when the promotion is relevant.

Create an overview by putting the most important contacts into a “power-map” (see box below).

How to create a power map

To create a power map, outline the relationships between the people who have the power to affect your career, and the people who influence them.

Color code:

Green: Close connection

 Yellow: Loose connection

Red: Not connected to you

Start with the people you need to convince to get your dream position. Like the company's top five bosses: Jane, John, Dennis, Susan and Michael.

Then, one by one, identify who has the ability to influence your five bosses.

Get to know them

You now know who has a say as to whether you reach your career goals or not. Now you must get to know as many of them as possible (preferably all of them). Ask yourself, what you have to offer these important people. Is it knowledge, a certain quality or help on a project that has great value to them?

Arrange short coffee meetings, and find out what would makes it worth whilet for them to spend 15 minutes of their time with you. How can you be of assistance? Another way of getting under a person’s radar is by finding out if she's active on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, a blog or something else). Consider whether you should follow, comment or “like” her (or the company’s) messages. You could also ask interesting questions. Maybe she has a favorite blog, where you could write a guest-post or contribute to the discussions.

Clark recommends that you add all these elements in your own personal career-campaign-plan. Also add dates for reaching your final goal, sub goals, important conferences, social arrangements you should participate in, when you want to set up meetings with important people, etc.