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    Setting Meaningful Career Targets

    Whether you want to find a new job, change career direction or get a promotion, it’s always a great idea to set some career goals to get you focused. Here's our guide to setting and achieving your targets.

    Identify what you are trying to do

    Think about what your goals are, write them down and lay them out in some sort of priority order. Plan how you are going to tackle each of your goals and try to be clear about which ones are most important to you and why. If one of your goals is to take a more rewarding path, watch our short animation on 7 Tips to Finding a Fulfilling Career.

    Make a plan

    Decide how much time you have and want to dedicate to your goals and devote this time towards achieving your goals. Give yourself enough time – whether it is a little bit every day, every week or every month, and make sure that you stick to what you decide to do. This will take self-discipline and determination but it will be worth it when you can see your goals coming to life.

    Include key milestones

    It is important to have some checkpoints to help you stay on track and to act as times when you can evaluate your progress and establish whether or not this is the path that you still want to focus on.

    Reflect on your strengths and experiences to date

    If you are thinking of a career change or getting a new job, a great place to start is to first think hard about what your unique strengths, skills and experiences are. If you can fully appreciate your asset base and capabilities, you will be in a strong position to move forwards. For many of us, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what these are, so use tools like our Identifying Your Skills workbook to help.

    Consider your options

    There are a number of ways that you can explore, review and expand your options. Look for opportunities within your current organisation as well as outside it.  Talk to people about their careers, roles and what made them choose their specialist area. Let your close network know that you are changing careers and be specific about what you’re looking for and what they can do to help you.

    Don't neglect your network

    Re-connect with old contacts and nurture your connections. Send people a text, email or phone them and invite them for a coffee or lunch. Stay in touch with old colleagues, friends and contacts so that when and if you need to turn to someone for help, they will be there.  Let people know what you are up to and ask them about what they are doing and what they need. Be as helpful as you can to your contacts and create stronger bonds with your network.

    Stay positive and patient

    Making a significant change in your career can take time and requires patience and determination. You may experience some setbacks but it is important to have the resilience to overcome these, to stay positive and to keep moving forwards towards your goals.

    To prepare you for what is to come, make sure that you are both physically and psychologically fit. Take care of yourself, your health and fitness as well as mentally preparing yourself for this time of change and uncertainty. If you stick to your plan and remain focused, you will be able to shape your future as you feel is best for you.

    Check your online presence and personal brand

    To get ahead in your career it is becoming increasingly important for everyone to build and develop their personal brand. This means thinking about and working on your reputation and branding both online and offline. Spend some time reviewing, re-vamping and aligning your online profiles to match what you are doing or looking to do now.

    Keep learning

    Whatever stage you are at in your career, it is important to keep learning. This is especially true if you are thinking of moving into a new role or industry. To stay at the top of your game, you must continuously think of ways to develop your skills, whether it be attending seminars, conferences, reading, training, courses or other career building tools.

    This is the first chapter from totaljob's new ebook, How to Kickstart your Career

    Download your free copy now for more expert tips.

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