Get Clear on Your Goals
It just wasn’t working for my client, Elise. She was established in her career and was rolling right along at her gig directing marketing for a billion-dollar government solutions technology company—but she couldn’t help feeling like she wanted more.
Sure, she could have kept climbing the ladder she was on. She liked the team she worked with and her salary was cushy. But at the end of the day, the spark was gone, and Elise’s work ceased to excite her; she needed to make a change, like, yesterday.
The thing is, like so many restless professionals, she wasn’t sure about what her ideal role might look like. Elise was your textbook go-getter, but because of the casserole of advice and input swirling around in her head, she wavered on whether or not she should run toward the product management roles she craved in the startup world.
Cutting through the noise in her head required more than expressing “I’m searching for product management jobs”; she needed to set some clear-cut, meaningful goals if her next move was actually going to improve her job satisfaction, self-esteem, and quality of life.
And sure, setting goals is always easier said than done. When you consider the fact that only 8% of people ever follow through on their New Year’s resolutions, the need to put a concrete structure around what success means for you and how you’ll get there is clear.
Before you even glance at LinkedIn or think about updating your resume, answer the following questions. Sharpen your view of what your ideal career step will be. The more of these questions that you can answer (in detail), the more likely you will be to form a right-sized goal that’s ambitious, not overwhelming, and indicative of what you really want:
● What are your non-negotiables with this next career move? This might be pay, travel/no travel, geography, location, the type of company itself, etc.
● Do you want an organization with a clear career track or would you prefer the freedom to develop your own career path?
● Are you dedicated to one industry? What are some other industries you may be interested in?
● How much independence do you want over your own work? How challenging do you want it to be?
● Do you need to believe in the product or service your company is providing?
● Which values, if any, must you share with an organization? Which values would turn you away from an organization?
● Describe your ideal organization. (Is it well established, entrepreneurial, small, large, etc.?)
● How important is having or being a mentor to you?
Be flexible as you come up with your responses. If a question conjures a critical want or need that doesn’t appear on the list, jot it down anyway! For example, if you’re thinking of what product or service types you’d like to work with and realize that you’d love to work with a company that allows you time off for volunteer work, it’s worth noting. Not all goals are created equal, and it’s totally fine to have “sub-goals” or finer details in mind as you circle in on your ideal job target.
Your mission is to nail down exactly what you want. Saying goodbye to job boards and robotic application portals requires that your passion and direction resonate in every move you make during the process. Having a clear goal will also save you lots of time and effort.
Next time, you’ll learn about how think backwards to find opportunities that are a better fit for you!
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