Contributed by: Karen Huffaker
The year is almost half over – – What are your Career Goals?
Now that we are nearly half way through 2017, where are you with your New Year’s goals? I’m sure they probably included a healthy lifestyle, exercise, new dietary habits, organic foods, dream vacation, more time with family, etc. But did they include your career goals for this year?
I’ve hardly had a chance to reflect on the year so far, but I know some of the career steps I should incorporate for the remaining part. Consider not just goals but specify the action items that will help to reach some of your short-term goals.
Search – Survey the internet and other sources for webinars, videos, free online courses, and workshops for relevant information for knowledge boost.
Book-a-month – A former executive of ours was a voracious reader of at least one book per week – 52+ per year! Easy for him, he traveled around the country regularly and had the time to read. I’m not a speed reader, and as a commuter my time is limited, but a more realistic goal for me is one per month. There are so many great books available for women to glean great career advice from and put into action for themselves. My current read is, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Secrets to Career Success from Top Women Leaders,” by Erin Wolf.
Keep a notebook – Fill it with salient points from your book reading, tips from co-workers, bullet points from conferences attended, pearls of wisdom from mentors, etc. Otherwise you’ll forget most of them. It’s nice to look through them as a recap at year end.
Membership – Commit to membership in an organization such as WICT. Take full advantage of their offerings and new friendships. Get involved, volunteer, ask questions, and learn what you can from other members that will help lead you further down your career path.
Lunches – Who doesn’t like to eat? Even if you’re more on the introverted side, determine to put at least one luncheon per month on your calendar. Mix it up: an internal customer, external contacts, an association member, former co-worker, or mentor. Stay connected and build those relationships. Make your focus on them and what’s going on in their work-a-day world. You’ll get as much out of it as you can put into it, and gain a wealth of benefits in the process.
Mentoring – Seek a mentor or be a mentor, depending on where you are, or better yet, both! No matter how early or late in your career, you’ve no doubt gained a number of experiences you can share. There are many formal mentoring programs available but don’t wait for an opening. Pursue your own mentoring relationships. I sought out an informal mentor several years ago who was an internal customer but also a long-time WICT member; she made initial introductions for me in our Chapter. She no longer works with me but we have maintained our friendship through a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship.
Follow a blog – Pick a topic that’s relevant or meaningful in your area of expertise. Listen to the experts and follow feedback from others in the field. There are many new ideas and methodologies that are worth exploring! If you have an interest and something valuable to contribute, submit your own blog post.
Brand yourself – What would the person standing next to you at a networking event want to know about you? Don’t be shy; share (enthusiastically) what you do that’s interesting or important. Also, share what you have done that’s outrageous. If you haven’t done it yet, what do you plan to do – your next outrageous career goal? For me, it was returning to college as a single mom and finishing my degree. And joining the WICT Southeast Board of Directors!