Planning your career shouldn’t be about appraisals and job interviews. Instead, it should be an annual exercise of assessing where you are, where you want to be, and how you can get there. For advertising and marketing professionals, in particular, a career could go so many different ways that having a roadmap – with annual revisions – makes all the difference.
With 2015 just starting out, it’s a great time to start a good habit: an annual career goal inventory. Whether it’s a promotion, a new job, or your own business you’re after – despite the cliché – dreams will remains just dreams if no action is taken.
However, with the right intention, attitude and, technique you can easily set goals for 2015, and work through them. Here are some simple principles for setting realistic goals:
Do an honest evaluation
Before thinking about your goals, first think about your progress. Evaluate if you’re currently where you want to be personally and professionally. Do you really like what you’re doing or is it time for a change? Would you be happier working on the client side or the agency side? Are you in the right department? Assess your strengths and weaknesses along with what you did or didn’t do last year. This will give you a sense of purpose and a good idea of where you’re headed in 2015.
List down your long-term and short-term goals
Everyone has a long-term goal. In other words, the ultimate place they would like to be at in life. But often, it is the short-term goals that are overlooked. Think of long-term goals as the destination on a map and the short-term goals as the route.
For instance, if you would like to get a promotion in 2015, you could create a set of steps to achieve this in the form of short-term goals. Especially, considering that 50 percent of advertising employers are hiring director-level employees in the coming months. Once you achieve these short-term milestones, your long-term dream will be much more conceivable. Remember to put everything down on paper as it makes the entire process legitimate and more likely to happen.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. 49 percent of marketing professionals are dissatisfied with their salary package. A SMART goal could be to increase your salary package by at least 20 percent at the end of 2015. Researching your current market value and looking into negotiation techniques can help you achieve this goal.
Use the 80/20 principle
The Pareto, or the 80/20 principle, states that 80 percent of our actions come from 20 percent of our efforts. In this case, 80 percent of your goals will be realized by only 20 percent of the activities that you do. Any unnecessary efforts will not contribute in taking your career to the next level. You should focus on the right things at the right time. When hiring candidates, advertisers look for good communications in both English and Arabic (50 percent), good leadership skills (50 percent) and creativity (42 percent). Keeping this in mind, and following the Pareto principle, you could set a career goal to improve your skills by undergoing appropriate training this year.
There is no better feeling than achieving a goal and rewarding yourself for it, especially in an industry [marketing] where 37 percent of professionals find their jobs extremely stressful. You could plan your rewards in advance, as they are a great motivating factor. If you’ve finally got your dream job you could take that trip you always wanted. If you’ve finished a special project that has been taking up all your time, you could reward yourself by going to the spa. It could be anything really; just make sure it’s worth it.
Be a Kaizen warrior: Kaizen is a beautiful Japanese continuous improvement methodology that when practiced daily, will greatly improve your career. Learn from your experience and work while consciously improving yourself for the future. Note down what did or didn’t work for you while you strive to reach your short-term and long-term goals and think of ways to reduce any gaps. This way, you’re setting up next year’s career goals for success too.