This guest post is from one of my favorite workplace advice authors, Alexandra Levit. Here she provides tips on how to develop goals for your career--and how to set yourself up to ace the performance review.
Types of career goals vary, depending on the specific job and company, but every new college grad should aim to build a wide range of transferable skills(such as public speaking, client relations, project management, and budgeting) that are useful in many different types of careers and are not likely to become obsolete.
You can develop goals that focus on these skills and also pertain to your current position through a collaborative process with your supervisor.
Start by drafting your ideas for career goals and noting the obstacles you’re likely toencounter, knowledge you may need to acquire, and people who can support you.
Next, sit down with your supervisor and ask for feedback. In this meeting, you should make sure that your career goals are aligned with your supervisor’s goals for you and that the expectations set are reasonable and practical. For instance, if you’re in sales, your supervisor may or may not agree that you will be ready to make cold calls on your own by the end of your first year of employment. Before you leave, work with your supervisor to prioritize two or three career goals so you aren’t spreading yourself too thin, and create an immediate to-do list so that important goals don’t fall off your radar in the daily work/life grind.
If you arrange to meet with your supervisor every other month or so to revisit your career goals, you will be in great shape when it’s time for your performance review.
A few weeks before the review is slated to occur, gather facts to support how you’ve progressed on each goal. Identify concrete examples that illustrate outstanding performance and contribution, and practice communicating them so they’re on the tip of your tongue.
Your primary goal in the performance review process should be to demonstrate how you have made measurable contributions to the organization. If you are able to succinctly answer the question, "Why is the organization better off because you work there?," you will be well positioned for a productive discussion about your career potential as well as rewards and recognition.
There's more where this came from. Are you a student or young professional who wants to learn how to be successful TODAY?
Check out JobSTART 101 (www.jobstart101.com), a free online course Alexandra developed!