New Year Self-Checklist: Proactively Career Pathing

December 16, 2019
As we get ready to wind down 2019 and gear up for 2020, it is a great time to reflect on what 

we’ve accomplished and what we are looking to achieve going forward. I won’t use the dreaded “R” word as more than 80% of us (according to the U.S. News & World Report) fail to keep our R… resolve.  Most often, the desire to make better changes for our lives revolves around personal health & fitness, but how many of us stop and think about where our careers are going. As much as we would love for our bosses to stroll in and give us that big promotion or great opportunity, unbidden the reality is that it will not happen without some work on our part.  So, as we head into the new year, we want to challenge you to consider taking some proactive steps in creating your career path. 
 
Four steps to advance your career: 
 
1. Reflect & Research– Stop and take stock of your career. It is important to look at where you are now and think about where you want to be. Consider the roles you would like to advance into and research them.  This will give you insight into the skills or attributes needed to succeed in those roles. Do you need certifications or an advanced degree? Figure out where you need to grow in order to get from here to there.
 
2. Set Goals – Knowledge is power but knowledge without action is useless. Hundreds of books have been written on Goal setting, find a system that works for you. Many people have had great success with the SMART method where your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. You know where you want to go, set goals that will get you there step by step. 
 
3. Develop Skills & Knowledge – Getting to where you want to be requires you to develop skills that you currently do not have. An easy way to do that is by reading books and blogs. If you have a long commute, getting an audible membership or listening to podcasts is a great way to make good use of that time. Take classes or get certifications - many employers offer tuition reimbursement for applicable coursework. Attending seminars and conferences is not only a great avenue for learning but it also lets you connect with people in your field, which brings us to our next step.
 
4. Find a Mentor and/or Join a Peer Group – Finding people who have gone before you can be instrumental in your career growth. There is nothing new under the sun, learning from a mentor or peer group can save you time, energy and headache. 
 
It is easy to fall into a routine, but we will never grow or achieve our career dreams by doing the same thing over and over. Step out of your comfort zone and take steps along your career path in 2020 and beyond.

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