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ATD Blog

Your Career Achievement Toolkit for 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019
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The new year is a convenient time for people to refresh their lives. The start of a new 12-month period mentally triggers us to pause and reflect. As a result, we often find things we would like to change about ourselves as well as new goals we would like to accomplish.

If you could describe your career in 2018 in one word, what would it be? Maybe you felt as though you accomplished several of your big goals. Alternatively, it may have been a year that was disappointing and frustrating. Whatever your feelings are about 2018, the new year provides an opportunity for a refresh and is a great time to set your sights on what is next for you in your professional life.

As you rethink your career in 2019, below is a toolkit of what you will need to make the new year more successful than the last and grow toward your dreams.

A SMART Goal

A goal is always a productive place to start. However, most of us recognize that to achieve a goal, it must have some structure. It is for this reason that the SMART methodology is helpful. As many of us know, this framework requires a goal be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound.

I find that oftentimes employees look at career development goals as simply whether or not to jump from their organization to a new one or to a new role, and do not consider what professional development growth might be needed for the next step. I would encourage you to widen the scope of what your career development goal might look like. Think about what you will need in 2019 to become better professionally before leaping. This could include a skill you want to develop, a personality characteristic you want to change, or a relationship you want to cultivate. Whatever the goal is, make sure it follows the framework above.

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A Coach

The next piece in your toolkit will be someone who can serve as your coach or guide through your career development journey. This does not need to be someone you pay several hundred dollars an hour for career advice and to be your professional trainer. It can be as simple as asking a close friend you respect to be a sounding board, making the conversations with your manager more intentional, or seeking out a mentor in your network who can provide guidance as you share your open thoughts about your career. Having a coach is important to any aspect of life, and your career should be no different.

Reading Plan

In December, I shared some books I have read that can help us be influencers and leaders in our organizations. In response, commentators to that blog post mentioned these books will serve as their reading list for 2019. What is on your reading plan for the new year?

Reading is an inexpensive way to grow your knowledge and expand your skill set. If you aren’t a reader, I would encourage you to start with a topic that truly interests you and find the best-selling book on that topic. Don’t have time to read? Consider downloading audiobooks and making your commute to the office more productive. Regardless of the strategy you use, make a reading plan for the new year based on your goals.

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Learning Plan

The last piece in your career development toolkit is a learning plan. This could be a class you enroll in at your local community college, a course from LinkedIn Learning, or taking advantage of your organization’s training and development resources. Once you have settled on where and how you will get your learning, develop a strategy and block time in your calendar to complete it. In addition, don’t forget about the value of on-the-job learning. Take initiative and reach out to others in your organization who are skilled at the competencies you are trying to develop.

My hope is that the above components in your toolkit will enable you to achieve a high level of success in your professional career in the new year.

If you’d like to learn more on how you can grow your career in 2019, join me on February 15 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. EST for a webcast on how you can achieve personal victories at work in 2019. Click here to register.

About the Author

Dan Schwartz is an HR communications manager with BKD CPAs and Advisors. In his role, Dan is focused on executing communication initiatives for BKD to support the firm’s culture and communicate the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). He is responsible for developing, writing and overseeing the release of internal and external communication documents and programs that promote the firm's key people initiatives. Dan has published articles, books, videos, and podcasts related to career development and leadership development. He is the author of TD at Work: Managing as a Ground Floor Leader, Winning Strategies: Achieving Success in the Classroom, Career and Life and is a contributing author to Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing a Job You'll Love.

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