Career success can be highly subjective, meaning each person gets to define what success looks like for them. Building a successful career based on self-determined criteria can be a source of enjoyment and pride for many people. If you’re interested in pursuing a new profession, it can be helpful to learn methods for building your career to maximize your chances of fulfillment and success.
In this article, we discuss what it means to build a successful career and list nine ways to do it, to help you achieve your own career goals.
What does it mean to build a successful career?
Building a successful career means something different for everyone. For some people, a successful career is one that provides the most enjoyment. For others, a successful career is one that provides certain financial benefits. Regardless of how you define it, achieving your goal of a successful career can be an exciting and empowering experience.
9 tips for building a successful career
To support your progress, here are eight ways to build a successful career:
1. Identify your goals
Knowing your own objectives is an important part of building a successful career. Think carefully about what you’d like to achieve, and why. Determine how your personal and professional goals interact and how they might work together.
Consider using brainstorming strategies to generate ideas, or have a conversation with a trusted friend or mentor. Remember that your goals might change, as this can be a normal experience. Try writing your goals down so you can refer to them as your career develops.
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2. Keep track of progress
One useful framework for setting goals and keeping track of your progress is the acronym SMART. This stands for goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Using this structure can be a good way to support your success and make adjustments if needed.
You might set one or two overarching SMART goals, or you might use many small SMART goals to structure your progress. You might also use a combination of these strategies. The best goal-setting format is the one that helps you succeed, so you can modify this framework to suit your needs as well.
3. Make a plan
Developing a plan to reach your goals can help you stay focused on achieving your dreams. Try brainstorming ways to reach each of your professional goals, and write them down. You might also try reverse engineering your career by identifying where you’d like to end up in a certain amount of time and then determining which steps can help you get there.
Try to stay flexible in your planning, so that you can accommodate unexpected events while still building a successful career. Consider discussing your plan with a colleague or mentor, because an outside perspective can sometimes provide new ideas.
4. Stay positive
A positive outlook can support you in building a successful career by keeping your mind open to new possibilities and career paths. Looking for the best qualities of a situation can also help you stay confident in your own abilities and handle challenges gracefully. Practice interrupting negative thoughts and replacing them with a positive alternative, if possible.
Try to spend time with other positive people to reinforce these thought patterns, if it makes sense for you to do so. Maintaining a positive outlook can also help boost your morale and overall mood, which might contribute to success in your career.
5. Reflect often
Frequently reflecting on your career progress, current circumstances and future options can help you build a successful career. This is because it can help you pay attention to your successes and new opportunities. Try to pause to reflect frequently enough to make sense of patterns in your professional life and make adjustments if necessary. Consider setting a reminder on your calendar for time periods, after which you’d like to reflect on your progress toward your goals.
6. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness, or paying attention to your internal and external state of being, can help you build a successful career by developing self-awareness, confidence, and a sense of calm. Try researching mindfulness techniques or visiting with a mindfulness specialist to learn ways to do so.
Take notice of your responses to certain situations and understand why you respond that way. Consider using these observations to build skills that will help you succeed at work, such as strong communication, foresight, and conflict resolution.
7. Network effectively
Many successful careers result from strong networking and leverage to showcase a person’s unique professional skills. Use the tools you have available to network effectively because your connections with other industry professionals can help you grow, make you aware of new and interesting career paths, and even make your career more enjoyable. Be sure to foster positive relationships by offering support as well as using your network to find opportunities and ideas.
8. Knowing your strengths
Being aware of your own capabilities can be an asset when building a successful career. When you know your strengths, you can tailor your job search accordingly and find a position that suits your unique skills. You can also use this information to understand where to focus your attention in professional development and expand your strengths accordingly. Identifying your strengths can also be a way to build confidence in the job search stage of your career as well as when you are developing as a professional.
9. Keep a growth mindset
A growth mindset is a phrase that refers to the belief that anything can be learned if you give enough effort to learning it. Approaching your career with a growth mindset can help you succeed because you will be more likely to persevere when faced with a challenge that you might not know how to solve yet. A growth mindset can also help you develop a successful career by equipping you with the skills you need to continue learning and developing as your industry changes.
Try developing this trait by asking yourself open-ended questions when faced with challenges at work. For example, if you have a task you’re unsure how to accomplish, ask yourself how you can learn the skills you need rather than if the task can be done.
I hope you find this article helpful.