January 31, 2010
By Janet Farley
The dust of the New Year has finally settled and it’s time to get down to the real business of achieving your career goals for 2010. To help you do just that, read and embrace the following down and dirty, no-frills, get it done now tips you need to send yourself on an upward spiral to professional success.
Tip #1: Conduct a brutal reality check.
Where do you find yourself right here and now? Is it some place you want to be or not? Is there room for professional growth where you are currently employed or are you stuck in a dead-end job? Are you lucky enough to have a job in the first place?
Open your eyes, listen to your gut and come up with an objective assessment of your so-called career as you know and love or hate it today. This will be your baseline. From here, you can move on to Tip #2.
Tip #2: ID the goal
. You know where you are now. Where do you want to be by year’s end if possible? Do you want to land a promotion at work or find a new and improved job altogether? Do you want to enhance your resume and your marketability by earning a new or additional credential relative to your career field?
As you identify your goal(s), keep them grounded in your version of reality. For example, is a PCS move on your horizon this year? Is your spouse deployed or scheduled to be? Are you expecting a child? If so, you know those situations will bring their own brand of challenges to the forefront. That’s the way it is when you’re married to someone in uniform. Accept it and don’t let the challenges sidetrack or paralyze you. Just be aware of them and have a valid strategy ready to use in meeting and beating them.
Tip #3: Write down your career goals and review them monthly.
Once you know what it is you want to reasonably accomplish, write it down in a career journal. Your career journal can be a spiral notebook, a Word document, a charming store-purchased journal, your I-phone notes application or whatever form of record-keeping works for you.
Just do it. Seeing your goals right before your very eyes will help you to better achieve them. While you’re at it, pencil yourself in for an appointment on your calendar monthly.
At that monthly appointment, revisit what you have done to obtain those goals, noting what worked and what didn’t. Brainstorm what you will do in the coming month. Keep the progress going forward.
By dedicating time monthly to assess your progress, you give your 2010 goals the respect and attention they warrant in the first place.
Tip #4 Surround yourself with supportive people.
You are going places and you don’t need any naysayers to tell you otherwise. The world is full of people who only want to bring you down. They will tell you that you can’t do something and they will have a laundry list of reasons to back up their negativity. Ignore them. They are stupid people and you don’t need to waste your time with them. Drive on cupcake. Drive on. Look online or off, but surround yourself with positive individuals.
Should you find yourself surprisingly married to such a person, re-educate him now before it’s too late.
Tip #4: Use your available resources.
By virtue of being a military spouse, you have a number of fabulous career-related resources available to you. Use them.
For example, the family center located on the military installation nearest you is a great place to start. Make an appointment (if necessary) to visit the employment readiness manager and see what exactly is available within your given community. If you are stationed in a joint command environment, don’t let the different service branch names throw you.
In the Army, it will be known as Employment Readiness Program. In the Navy, it is called the Spouse Employment Assistance Program. The Air Force calls it the Career Focus program and in the Marine Corp it is known as the Family Member Employment Assistance Program.
And keep in mind that you can go to any of them, regardless of what service uniform your spouse wears.
Think locally but don’t forget to think globally either. Take advantage of the greater military community itself, using such online sources as CinCHouse, Military OneSource (sign up for their Spouse Education and Careers newsletters!), DoD's Homefront, and Military.com's Spouse Career Center
Tip #5: Network like there is no tomorrow.
On-line and off, networking remains one of the most important factors in achieving career success. If you are not already a member, join professionally based sites such as Linked-In. Become an active participant in discussions and watch your network grow and expand.
While you’re online- take a moment to assess your online reputation. What kind of impression do others get when they Google you? Prospective employers do it all the time. If you need to clean up the on-line you, do it.
Don’t limit your networking to online, however. Good old-fashioned in person networking is still important and should not be ignored. Find a comfortable balance of the two and make them both work for you, not against you.
Tip #6: Be open to new ideas.
You may have a crystal clear picture of what you want to achieve in 2010. This is good; however, don’t be so focused on that picture that you neglect to consider other options along the way. Opportunities often appear when you least expect them, but you have to be open to them in the first place.
Tip #7: Be committed to the journey.
Unless you are totally on-board with improving your professional stature, give it up. Climbing the figurative ladder of success is not a job for wimps. Put your war paint on and get a determined attitude. You can improve your career lot in life. Say it. Believe it. Live it.
Now, have a truly terrific 2010!