A good career action plan can take you from choosing an occupation to long-term success in a career.

A solid career plan must have both long and short-term goals. It is essential to include the steps to take to reach each one, along with approaches to get around barriers that might get in your way.

For some long-term goals, it can help to organize them as both a group of short-term goals, and possibly shorter long-term goals. For instance, if you have a long-term goal of becoming a doctor, your short-term goals could be finishing four years of college, four years of medical school and a medical residency, which can last between 3 and 8 years. Along the way to those long-term goals, there are quite a number of short-term goals, such as passing entrance exams and college classes. Because grades matter with regards to attaining those goals, it is important to break down short-term goals into bite-sized bits.

Best Practices for Achieving Career Goals

Hard work always plays the biggest role in career success, however, if you don’t develop solid goals, career success will be much more difficult to achieve.

You should have specific goals that can be measured and achieved within a set timeframe. For instance, wanting to earn more money is a very general goal that is difficult to measure, whereas a specific, measurable goal would be getting a pay raise by earning a valuable certification for your field.

Goals should be aspirational, things you want rather than things to avoid. For example, getting a new job in a different field is a better goal than trying to not get stuck in the same job for too long.

The best goals are realistic and attuned to your skills, values and capabilities. You should avoid trying to reach goals that have low odds of success, or that require you to be someone who you are not.

Enlisting Your Boss as a Career Partner

When you’re making career plans, it helps to have a mentor, as someone with experience and insight you can use to get ahead.

Some lucky people have a boss or supervisor who can easily fill this supportive role. If you are going to ask your boss to support your career growth, start by giving some serious thought to how your supervisor may be capable of helping you achieve specific career goals, possibly through stretch assignments, training programs or other activities. Start the discussion with your boss in a positive way, talking about your ability to learn on the job and your desire to help the company by becoming a more valuable asset. Then, ask about things you can do to get ahead in your job, the company and your career.

Let Us Help You Take the Next Big Step

At ZDA, we specialize in helping job seekers make big career moves through exciting job opportunities. Please contact us today to find out how we can support your career advancement.