When most people think about their careers, they have a hard time thinking about options beyond their current  career path or even their current job. It’s easy to become stagnant when you don’t have a plan. You can experience career growth by taking the lead on your career development now.  Here are four ways you can broaden your short-term thinking to achieve both long and short term  career goals.

1)      Make a vision board or a fake LinkedIn profile.

Take time to think about what your ideal career and lifestyle looks like. Be specific. Put the vision in your head into words and pictures on a piece of poster board.  Display your vision board in a prominent place where you can see it at work or at home. It will help see your long-term goals and keep you focused on where you want to be.  Studies show you’ll have about a 75% higher chance of reaching your goals if you write them down.

Another way to approach this exercise is to make a mock (unpublished) LinkedIn profile that displays what your career would look like if you were at the peak of your career. What will you be doing, what education or certifications will you have? Where will you live? What could you do now towards that goal? Is there a current skill you have you aren’t describing in the best way to highlight it?

2)      Learn a new skill.

Skill building is one of the best ways to improve your chances of achieving your career goals. Talk to your boss about what types of skills you could learn to be ready for promotions and other opportunities. Can you get trained to be a back-up for someone else on your team?

Always check with your HR department to see if there are courses or workshops available that they will pay for or tuition reimbursement programs for local universities.

3)      Volunteer for a work project.

Volunteer to work on – or better yet lead – a special project, committee or other activity. This will demonstrate your willingness to step out of your comfort zone.  Ask your boss to consider you for the next time a work project or opportunity comes up.  Offer to sit on a committee that interests you, or even one that doesn’t. Get experience working in groups and contributing to work outside of what you normally do. Not only will you get exposed to new opportunities, but you just may meet someone who can help you move your career forward.  

4)      Find a mentor.

Ask your boss or someone you admire in your desired field to mentor you. Spend time with them on a regular basis and learn from their experiences. Ask questions and let them serve as an advisor when you aren’t sure what your next steps should be. 

As you work on your career development, stay positive. A positive attitude at work is one of the best ways to get noticed by others.


Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transform your life at work and at home, 52 Communication Tips, and Gladie’s Gift – all are available on Amazon.com.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit cornerstone-ct.com.

photo by: Shootinforfun.com