ADVICE

3 things you can do today to meet your career goals in 2021

SOURCE: PETER PARKS/AFP
What are you doing today that will help you achieve your 2021 career goals?


By U2B Staff 

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The year 2021 is just around the corner and if you’re not about to let a pandemic stop you from growing in your career, there are several things that you’ll need to do today to help you achieve your career goals.

Climbing the career ladder entails more than tactfully navigating office politics or brownnosing your bosses. Being good at your job, staying visible during meetings, and exhibiting positive behavioural traits like emotional intelligence and leadership skills are some of the things that can concretely work in your favour.

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So, whether you’re looking for a job with a better work-life balance, want to make more money, shoulder different responsibilities or to take on a leadership role, here are three things that can help you achieve your 2021 career goals:

1. Identify what you want

Take the time to do some reflection on your career goals. For instance, do you still want to do the same job a couple of years from now? 

If the answer is no, it’s time to figure out what it is you want. Research and speak with people who are doing what you would love to do to find out more about what the job entails, or the skills needed to succeed in the role.

If your goals entail stretching yourself and getting uncomfortable, don’t shrink in fear. As it’s been said, when you stretch to your limits, your limits expand.

2. Find a mentor

Regardless of where you are in your career, many people can benefit from having a mentor. 

Some companies offer formal mentorship programmes but some people prefer to find mentors on their own. Regardless of whether or not mentorships take place formally or informally, research says that they can be highly beneficial for both mentor and mentee. 

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management MBA Careers Center director Dr Christine Menges notes that it’s important to think clearly about what you want to achieve by having a mentor before looking for someone, be it to gain industry insights from your mentor or even to explore the type of job function that would be relevant to you.

Once you’ve identified your goal, you can look into your past as to who could be a potential mentor — such as a boss or supervisor you found inspiring — as that would be easier than reaching out to a stranger. 

Make each meeting count by setting goals and agendas, as well as a guideline over what’s expected.  

3. Explore upskilling options

The right education can help you reach your goals, so it’s good to decide whether you need bite-sized learning such as short online programmes or if you need to enrol in a postgraduate programme for more holistic education. 

If you wish to take on managerial posts or C-suite positions, an MBA might be ideal. An MBA opens doors to new career opportunities across industries, provides networking opportunities, and opens doors to high-paying careers.

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Microcredentials, on the other hand, can be useful for those who already have a degree and some work experience, and who want to upskill in specific areas. They are short skill-based online courses that are accredited and recognised by top employers across the globe. 

Simon Eassom, CPA Australia’s executive general manager for member education, notes that the future of work is going to become more defined by our hybrid skillset than one’s initial qualification or initial subject that they studied at university.

This makes microcredentials useful in supplementing our current certifications. 

While COVID-19 has disrupted our life in the workplace, that doesn’t mean our careers need to stagnate. With the right mindset and a commitment to lifelong learning, climbing the career ladder is in the books for anyone who isn’t afraid of stepping out of their comfort zones.