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Time to Focus on Your Career

Posted on January 10, 2018
Image of a man pointing to a a series of career related words, such as success, learning, knowledge

The holidays are over, January is in full swing, which means it’s time to switch your focus from cookies, pies, and libations to your career goals. For most, the question is: How do I start? Where to start? Think about the overarching goal – for example – within five years, I would like to be a VP in real estate development marketing. Now break that path down:

  • What is the typical career path?
  • Where are you on that career path?
  • What skills do you already possess?
  • What skills do you need to learn?

Once you understand the path, where you are on the path, and what you still need to do to achieve your goal, you can break it down even further by creating an annual plan. What do you need to have accomplished by December 31, 2018? Create one to three goals that will help you achieve the annual goal. I don’t advise more than three because advancing your career requires you need to perform well in your current position. You can’t be hyper focused on the future such that you perform poorly in the present.

If possible, take those smaller goals and break them down further by quarter. Then at the end of each quarter, evaluate your progress. This will help you stay on track for the year end goal.

This is not a difficult process, but it does require a commitment to honestly and realistically evaluate yourself and your skills. It also requires you to be flexible. Some goals will be easily and quickly achievable, while others may take longer than you anticipated. Decades ago, companies used to have clear cut career paths laid out for employees, but today career paths are rarely direct. We can get derailed due to life circumstances – both positive and negative. Sometimes other interesting opportunities present themselves, which can include an unexpected promotion or a different job opportunity. Expect the detours, enjoy and learn from them because they become part of your overall path.

The more open you are to possibilities, the more likely you will be to achieve both your short-term and long-term goals.

Get to work!


Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Dept. Head, Graduate Studies
Goodwin College
Drexel University
Posted in professional-development-career-tips