Take Charge of Your Career
Whether your focus is on advancing within your organization or taking on new responsibilities within your current role, here are some suggestions for making your career aspirations a reality this year:
Create a personal development plan. You can't continue to add value if you stand still professionally. Therefore, you should be continually identifying areas where you could improve or feel more confident. Keep your list reasonably short so that it doesn't seem impossible to accomplish.
Your list might include anything from a need to better understand the intricacies of new accounting regulations to satisfying a longstanding desire to gain work experience internationally. Once you've identified a few stretch goals, develop a plan for achieving each one.
Pursue challenging opportunities. Few people rise to the top by playing it safe and doing only what is asked of them. To keep advancing, seek out high-visibility projects that allow you to showcase your abilities.
And don't wait for opportunities to come to you. What challenges does your company face that you are in a position to manage? Perhaps your company's financial reporting processes could be more efficient, but no one has had the time or courage to come up with a new system. This is the type of effort that can increase your value to the firm and lead to increased responsibilities going forward.
Document your accomplishments. It's much easier to recall the specifics of a project and the results you attained right after completing it, rather than years later when you're looking to move on to a new position or company.
Update your resume when you reach career milestones so that it's always current. This also helps you recall your accomplishments at annual review time.
Plan for the future. Carve out time for long-range career planning. And not just where you want to be in the next year or two, but where you'd like to be in five or 10 years. Do you plan to become a CFO or launch your own business? Make sure you're building a foundation for achieving your long-term goals. Are you developing the right skills, working on the right projects, making the right contacts? If not, evaluate what needs to change to stay on track.
Take stock of where you've been in your career and what direction you would like to be headed in the future. Every goal that you achieve should bring you that much closer to realizing your professional aspirations.