Do you find yourself getting so caught up in day-to-day work that you forget about what you really want to do and how you are going to get there? Instant gratification of the to-dos and the right-nows make it easy to continue putting off the necessary time to really think about your long-term career goals. Between balancing life, work, family, friends, activities, it seems as if there is simply no time to think about your career goals.
Unless you want your professional growth and career to take a backseat forever, you must step back from the daily grind to really reflect about the bigger picture.
We highly encourage you take just a moment to answer these three career planning questions to reach your goals:
What are skills that I’ve improved in the last month, quarter, year?
Think of this as a self performance review. Taking time to write a genuine self-assessment of your skills and contributions to your organization can really help you see where you are in your career journey. Let’s say your long-term career goal is becoming a Controller for a large corporation. What are the necessary skills to continuing advancement to this level?
Qualifications for a Controller might include a combination of technical and soft skills – strong background in financial management, reconciliations, analytical thinking, interpersonal skills, Microsoft Excel, etc.
What are you doing now that will help you to get there?
Tip: Create a running list of all the technical and soft skills needed to get you to your long-term career goal and rate your skills from needs improvement to skills that you feel you’ve mastered. Focus on ways to improve, seek out mentors and jot down notes about experiences that demonstrate you’re improving. Update and review this list either bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
Am I making strides in my career trajectory the way I imagined?
It’s essential to reflect on all facets of where you are now and where you want to be. Are you on your career trajectory? Are you happy with it? Is it important to you? Is it one that you still want to be on? If so, great, a congratulations is due! If not, it’s time to turn things around.
Assess the values of your life – relationships, family, hobbies, religion, fitness. Where does your career fall in importance? If your vision is to become Partner but you realize that you value family time and hobbies more, you may need to rethink your career trajectory.
Things aren’t always what they seem. What do you really think you enjoy at work now? How can you have a fulfilling job that makes you happy? Recalibrate your vision and stay on the path that is right for you based on your interests, values and passions. If you’re thinking that you would benefit from a complete 180 career change, listen to your gut and do it (but talk to us first)!
Does my current role support my long-term career goals?
Another way to phrase this question: Are there growth opportunities at my current company that could help me progress? If not, we suggest that you run, not walk, to another position that will help you get there.
The entry level and midlevel points of your career are the most important regarding positioning yourself to reach your goals. These are times of great growth and development in terms of experiences and responsibilities. At the Senior level there are even still ways to improve. Take every opportunity to keep learning and growing.
Either way, this is the most important question to consider. Returning to our first example…let’s say your ultimate career goal is to become a Controller for a large corporation. Are you in a position at a forward-moving company that promotes internally? Are you in a position with a large corporation already doing some operational accounting? Either way, you could be on your merry way to the Controller level.
Remember, it’s nearly impossible to plan your career out at every single step but being intentional and taking time to consider the bigger picture can get you closer to your goals in the long run. Accountants One thinks that keeping you at your career planning best is a win so keep these questions in mind!