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How to Set Yourself up for Career Success

For many just starting out, just having a job and getting hired in your desired industry may be enough. And for now, that may be OK. But you need a plan to set yourself up for career success.

If you routinely get passed over for advancement, you may begin to wonder, Will I ever be successful in my career? There’s a way you can deliberately identify opportunities.

Uncover potential

The best opportunities are the ones that line up with your skills and interests. Even though you may want that department head job, it may not match your existing skillset. Your superiors will see this mismatch, and won’t consider you for a promotion. In this case, you may need to build your skills so that you’ll be ideally suited for that job, and so others can recognize your talent.

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Instead, you may be ideally suited for a position in Human Resources, nurturing others’ potential. These may lead to immediate advancements.

Build your skill

You’ll want to identify things you’re good at and skills you need to develop. Here’s how to uncover your strengths:

  • What projects do you enjoy?
  • What do colleagues compliment you for?
  • What are you better at than your colleagues?
  • Who do you have around you that can be of help promoting your skillset?

Now, get ready to be honest about your weaknesses:

  • Are there jobs or tasks in your daily routine that you don’t enjoy doing?
  • Where do you lack confidence?
  • What weaknesses do colleagues or managers mention in reviews?
  • Where do you lack in training or skills?

Narrow it down

The best-fit job for you is one that compliments your lifestyle, offers the compensation you need or desire, advances job security, suits your goals (both in your career and life), fits with your passion and holds opportunity for future development and training.

You may not find a position that meets all of these requirements, but you can aim to identify jobs that fill several of them.

Make a decision

Now that you’ve identified your skillset and where you need to improve, along with your areas of interest, you can narrow down the opportunities.

Choose two to three job opportunities you can target and then focus your career-success energy around these. If the best job isn’t obvious, you’ll need to narrow down the choice by asking these questions:

  • Does the job suit your needs?
  • Does it feature day-to-day tasks that you enjoy doing?
  • Does it hold the advancement potential you desire?
  • Is it a viable opportunity for you  –  not one that’s too far out of your reach?
  • Perhaps most importantly, does the job suit your interests and strengths?

Now, analyze which factors you can sacrifice. For example, if it offers lots of potential for advancement, can you compromise on lifestyle, perhaps working longer hours?

Then, make a plan. How will you reach this goal? What do you need to learn? How can you ramp up your networking to increase your exposure? Working with a mentor or high-level executive who can endorse you and your work will go a long way. With someone on your side who will vouch for you when you’re not in the room will help set you up for success.

With a strategic approach to career success, you can get noticed, be considered for jobs, and make your presence known within your organization.