I’m always surprised when people tell me that they dread goal planning, especially when it has to do with professional development. People regularly make and discuss personal goals. Why wouldn’t they want to do the same professionally? It’s just as important to learn and grow professionally in order to remain competitive and agile in your career.
Not everyone is wired this way, so it’s always a pleasure to offer advice in this area when asked. The following three goals are an excellent place to start, and set a solid foundation for career development and growth.
1. Update your résumé and LinkedIn profile.
So often, people think of updating their résumé and LinkedIn profile only when they need a new job. Company restructuring, poor job fit, you know the drill. By taking this approach, they are missing out on so many of the benefits these tools have to offer. Both résumés and LinkedIn profiles can and should be used in a more proactive manner, as assets that reflect your unique brand and value proposition. Take the time to do them well. Make sure they include a complete representation of your background, achievements and goals. Understand how you can use each tool to your advantage. Build your network. Ask for recommendations. Your resume and LinkedIn profile are a reflection of YOU.
Tip: Do not underestimate the impact of your LinkedIn profile photo. I’ve seen so many profiles with poorly placed selfies or personal photos which quickly erode the brand that individual worked so hard to convey. Hire a professional to ensure the photo is polished and reflects the industry you represent. Remember, the details do count.
2. Take the Gallup CliftonStrengths Assessment.
How many times have you been in an interview or discussion with a peer or colleague and asked about your top 5 strengths? Do you know what they are? If so, are you doing anything with that knowledge?
Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment identifies a person’s unique set of natural talents and guides you on how to develop and use them to maximize your potential. According to Gallup, people who know and use their strengths are more engaged and productive at work and 3x more likely to have an excellent quality of life. Who doesn’t want that? Take the survey. Learn how to use your strengths to your advantage. Learn how to work with others based on their strengths. You won’t regret investing the time on this.
Tip: It is possible to have too much of a good thing, so be careful to not overplay your strengths. For example, my results show a talent in the Command theme. This is helpful in my current role where I need to be able to effectively take control of different situations and make decisions. I’ve also had instances of overusing this strength, which can give the perception of over-engineering a situation or being overly assertive.
3. Find a mentor or career coach.
Everyone needs an objective sounding board and advocate, and having such a person in your life who can provide encouragement and offer meaningful advice can increase confidence in yourself and the goals you establish. Take the initiative to find someone you gel with. Make sure you’re prepared for the meetings and do the work required to make this beneficial for both of you.
Tip: In order to get the most out of this activity, be open to new ideas, willing to step out of your comfort zone and motivated to do the work required.
These goals aren’t easy. They will take time, effort and honest reflection on your part, but they’re worth it. This is an investment in YOU.
I’d like to hear from you. What do you think about the goals outlined above? Provide your thoughts in the Comments section below or send me a message.