Do you know your goals?

A common problem among people seeking guidance for career development is an inability to focus on a particular vocation to strive for. Instead, talented individuals will dissipate their potential dabbling in a lot of different fields, becoming a kind of “jack of all trades and master of none.” Avoid building castles in the clouds, and start with a solid terrestrial foundation.

The first step in this process comes from having a firm handle on your personal development goals. Do you know what you ultimately want from your career? Have you outlined the intermediate steps you can take to get there?

Know your skills

Make a list of all of your skills, career aspirations and things that make you happy about the work you do. Once you’ve exhausted this list, make a list of the things you value about your personal life, what makes you happy in your free time, what hobbies most interest you, etc. Hold these things close during the process of planning and executing your career development strategy.

Set objectives

This is the part where you need to be creative. You already have a sense of what you want both professionally and personally. How can you tailor your career to maximize both? Set practical objectives for both the short term and the long term and plot out how to get there. This should include speculation on future job changes, aspirational job titles, etc.

Make a timeline

This is the step that sets the previous two in motion. It will obviously be tentative and inaccurate, but the very act of creating a timeline for your future career and personal goals makes it more likely to happen. Once you’ve done this you can move forward confident that you have a firm understanding of your own needs, and what you need to do to meet them.

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