Published 20 December, 2018 – Edited: 21 June 2019
9 guaranteed ways to help achieve your goals at work
Making the effort to set goals at work takes commitment; finding ways to achieve your goals is a whole other ball game. Even with the best intentions, it’s easy for goals to drop off our radar in the whirlwind of day-to-day work life and never-ending to-do lists.
Whether your career goal is to get that promotion that keeps escaping you, completely change career directions or find satisfaction in your current role, now is the time to get an achievable plan into action.
Follow these 9 tips to kick some career goals, so you can live your best work life:
1. Every improvement starts with feedback
You can’t fix what you don’t know about. On the other hand, everyone needs recognition for their achievements, too. The solution is simple: regular feedback!
According to the Hewitt Best Employer Survey of Australian businesses, 54% of employees feel disengaged from their workplace. They concluded that feedback is an essential tool in engaging employees, and leads to greater productivity and (best of all) happiness!
Highly engaged employees receive feedback on average once a week. Simply waiting for your standard review period prolongs the process by which you can evaluate and reflect on your performance at work. Ask for informal, regular feedback, and see step 2.
2. Use feedback to make SMART goals
If you haven’t heard of SMART goals, now’s the time. It’s a highly effective goal-setting technique developed by consultant and corporate director, George T. Doran, in the 1980s. SMART as you may have guessed, is an acronym, and it stands for:
✔️ Specific: (what specifically do you want to achieve, and why?)
✔️ Measurable: (how will you know when you’ve reached it?)
✔️ Attainable: (what is realistically worth the time and cost?)
✔️ Relevant: (is that really the right thing for you?)
✔️ Timely: (give it a timeline)
For example, an aspiration might be: ‘I want to improve my presentation skills.’ A SMART goal to help achieve this might be: ‘attend an external PowerPoint workshop within the next two months and apply new skills and techniques in my weekly presentation at work. Ask for feedback on presentation skills in my upcoming six-month review.’
Have you always wondered about postgraduate study and whether it’s the right fit for you? If you find yourself at a career standpoint, this might be the perfect time to learn some new skills.
If you’re not sure whether you can commit, start by writing up a list of pros and cons, make a budget, and speak to a mentor or colleagues about whether it’s a good idea. Have a chat with your boss – maybe they’ll be happy for you to work part-time or help you in other ways to manage a study/work balance.
Explore the postgraduate course options available at KBS here.
4. Inspire yourself
At different times of the year, we can all feel stuck in a bit of a rut at work. You’ve got to remind yourself that you’re in control of your career pathway and refocus on how you can achieve your goals.
Its time to make your career your own inspiring project and consider giving yourself an exciting new mission.
Start with inspiration from some of our favourite books, podcasts and talks.
- How Great Leaders Inspire Action (TED Talks): Simon Sinek asks the question, ‘why do some leaders have followers, and not others?’
- Planet Money (NPR): The most engaging podcast on business and economics around.
- The Happy Secret to Better Work (TED Talks): Shawn Anchor will surprise you.
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead: Sheryl Sandberg tells it how it is, and what you can do to change it.
- Moving the Needle: Get Clear, Get Free, and Get Going in Your Career, Business, and Life: This book by Joe Sweeney is exactly what you need to shift your approach.
- Bring Your Human to Work: Erica Keswin shows us how to improve our workplace and the world.
5. Give yourself a makeover
When’s the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile or other professional social media channels? How’s your website looking? Remember to keep it relevant, useful and professional.
6. Make new connections
Did you know that 85% of jobs are filled via networking? Make it your New Year’s resolution to create at least one new professional connection per month. There are three good ways to do this, and you should try to cover them all:
- Short-term internships and industry placements. The more you do, the more people you know.
- Industry events, awards nights and networking events in your city.
- Making friends with staff and other students at your business school.
Careers Central at KBS is a great and free service to help students expand their networks through events, mentoring programs, internships and industry connections.
7. Find a work mentor
A mentor can be the one big difference between an average and an amazing career. Forbes Magazine has 3 tips for getting that mentor:
- Don’t approach strangers and just ask the question; find people who you’ve been interacting or working with.
- If you want to build a relationship with someone you admire, be helpful and supportive.
- Be a person who is flexible, respectful, resilient and enjoyable to mentor.
8. Don’t be afraid to go extra-curricular
Hobbies are a great way to expand your networks. But, there’s also a hidden benefit for your career: they help you develop the creative parts of your brain linked to better performance at work.
According to Catherine Cunningham, founder of Australian HR company ‘Career Consultancy’, hobbies can help you develop important skills, habits and networks, essential to your career. She told SmartCompany online:
In America they’ll tell you not to put anything on your resume which may cause you to be excluded, but Australians like to get a picture of people outside of work. It gives recruiters small talk, but you need to be aware that everybody, recruiters included, will use it to make judgments.
Her advice? Pick a hobby as relevant to your career as you can find.
9. Monitor work-life balance
No matter how much you love your job, working all the time just isn’t good for your mental or physical health. Variation makes life sweet, and your friends and family need you, too.
Check out this KBS blog for tips on how to effectively manage your work/life balance.