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Master These 15 Skills for Success to Get Ahead in Your Career

Master These 15 Skills for Success to Get Ahead in Your Career

You may have been working at a particular job and believe you are fit to lead a team or should be promoted because of the extensive experience and technical skills you have.

But you should understand that the workplace and career trends are constantly evolving. It is a world where creativity and possessing different skills apply.

To meet up to new organizational or workplace objectives, you have to bring something new to the table. While it may go beyond skillsets, other requirements for being selected for a position could be based on personal involvements, attributes or extracurricular activities. In this digital age, you’ll need these set of skills for success to stay ahead:

1. Accountability

There is a difference between passionately volunteering for a project and being committed to its execution. This is where accountability comes in. You really don’t want to bite off more than chew when you take that assignment.

In the modern workplace, you do not simply have to be fully aware of what you are getting into when it comes to accepting a task, you also have to be accountable for the success of such task.

Stepping up and acting responsibly could be what is stopping you from getting that promotion.

2. Adaptability

Nothing stays the same. Change is not something you should shy away from in the modern workplace, rather it is something you should embrace.

Getting stuck to old ways of doing things or old rules may not really help the advancement of your career. You really need to take some time to open your mind to new approaches and thoughts that would help you solve problems faster and better for your organization.

It is indeed all about responding to what the current situation requires. Yes you may have to bend your own rules and beliefs, however, this will eventually make you a good people person and next in line for that promotion.

3. Networking

A simple conversation is not that simple anymore. A simple conversation could pivot your career. You really never know who you are going to meet in life and what impact they could make to influence your career.

It becomes important to hold a conversation with about anyone at any time and make it drive your progress in the workplace.

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From speaking to attending events, and sending out your business card, you surely need to start considering what networking better could do for you.

4. Focus

This one comes down to how productive you want to become. It is hard to focus or concentrate when there are so many things begging for your time in the workplace.

We all reach that point or know that scenario where it is more fun to accomplish the easier things such as checking emails or going through our social media page.

When it comes to standing out and staying ahead, you may need to practice focusing more so that you have more satisfaction and meaning in getting work done.

5. Listening Attentively

Listening attentively is backed by taking the right actions after you understand a matter. You wouldn’t really understand a matter if you don’t listen or question every decision that is made.

Yes, you should be asking for specifics and getting to the root behaviors or observations. This way you would have clearer judgement and take smarter actions.

Take a look at this guide to learn how to listen attentively:

13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

6. Being Innovative

It all comes down to asking the right questions and figuring smarter and better ways of getting results in the workplace. It could be your approach, it could be positioning yourself stronger and meeting the right people in the right way.

You may not necessarily be the hardest worker in the room, but you would be more effective if you push yourself to look for creative solutions to a problem in the work place.

7. Confidence

There is a difference between misguided arrogance about your achievements and developing the ability to stand up for ideas.

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Sometimes, developing confidence helps you to ensure and promote the achievements of others. You need confidence in the workplace if you are to deliver, engage and reach certain goals.

Here’re 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence.

8. Leadership

Leadership skills could be a source of influence for your co-workers and would get them on board on how to reach future objectives. Anyone with leadership skills will always gain visibility within an organization and would certainly be considered for more opportunities or promotions.

These 10 Leadership Qualities Revealed by the World’s Most Successful Leaders will help strengthen your leadership.

9. Communication

Whether it is written or verbal communications, communication skills are vital in the workplace.

One of the major reasons is because it helps foster relationships with co-workers and superiors in the workplace.

With good communication skills, clear expectations can be extracted so that you meet deadlines and deliver excellent work.

Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their colleagues in an organization.

10. Teamwork

Certainly, there is not much a company can do if it all depends on the activity of a singular person. Success is achieved when different people are working together for a common objective. Team players tend to build a friendly office culture and aid collaboration.

Moreover, an organization will fare better when its employees can synthesize their varied talents or strengths.

The modern workplace is looking for persons who can collaborate well with co-workers. If you possess the skill of being a good team player, then you are certainly going to be considered for promotions and career advancement.

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11. Persuasive Skills

There is always that point in your career when you have to tell others about your ideas, services or products. You may just be selling any of these things to them.

Persuasive skills are necessary for career advancement because you have to be able to form a strong, convincing argument for why the other person should buy your products or services.

If you want to pick up the art of persuasion, learn these 20 Skills That Make Everyone Agree with What You Say.

12. Negotiating Skills

From negotiating your salary to swaying coworkers to a new way of thinking, you can never underestimate the power of negotiating.

In today’s workplace, good negotiating skills are beneficial during both internal and external discussions. Sellers of a new product or idea and customers always require negotiations to thrive in the marketplace.

If you can have this quality and maximize it, then you have a great chance of moving upwards in your career.

13. Knowing When and How to Show Empathy

Building relationships and sustaining them is important to long term career success. Having the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes helps foster relationships and is a key ingredient to getting ahead in your career.

With empathy, you can provide insights and offer them the support that will help them grow in their job. You don’t have to be in a robotic work environment that limits growth, but with compassion you can steer your coworkers to performing at their peak.

So learn to offer support, sympathy and feedback everyday you do business. This way you will have a more human work environment and would be blessed with positive emotional returns.

14. Problem Solving Skills

You should be proactive at solving problems. Your work environment presents a series of problem solving situations.

To be proactive at solving problems in an organization means you are willing to go the extra mile to take the pressure off your boss and colleagues. With this skill, you are sure to get ahead in your career.

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Here’re 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills.

15. Patience with Others

Your patience with others could be vital in a tense situation. While the modern workplace could present stressful situations, how patient you are with coworkers and your superiors could determine your career advancement.

Patience is a difficult skill, however this skill will be noticed by management and perceived as a very strong asset in pushing the company forward.

There will be times when troublemakers are brought to book for their actions, but you wouldn’t be one of them if you have patience as an asset or skill.

Not sure how to practice patience? Some advice for you here:

Why Impatience is Ruining Your Life and How to Practice Patience and 

The Bottom Line

It is not simply about having the aforementioned skills, it is about maximizing them and using them for your career advancement.

You should understand that these skills make you more human, more prepared for new challenges. The more you demonstrate these abilities, the faster your career will advance.

You have to understand that such skills will help forge relationships, build diplomacy and respect while you become at the center of both individual success and corporate productivity. These skills will also help when mitigating conflict and reducing bad behavior in the office.

The modern workplace needs strong and effective corporate leaders brimming with positivity and confidence that will inspire growth and make a better workplace.

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

More by this author

Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

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