I thought I would share some ideas from a recent conversation I had one of my former (now graduated) students from the IDPT Program. We were discussing approaches for working toward career goals and career aspirations, and this student was seeking general advice on how to approach their own career goal setting. In this post, I'll give a summary of the ideas that I shared with this student. I should point out that there are clearly many other important pieces, including interviewing, applying, networking, but my focus here is on preparing and qualifying for the positions you desire.
I want to note that I have applied these strategies in my own career and have been very pleased with the success I have had. It has been a difficult process filled with a great deal of hard work and sacrifice, but I am now enjoying many of the blessings that come from that hard work, and I am excited to keep moving forward in my career.
How to Reach Your Goals: Be Deliberate
The most successful people in the world are successful on purpose. They are deliberate about where they want to go and work hard to get there. In instructional design, we use systematic processes like ADDIE to deliberately ensure that we are being systematic and thoughtful in our approach. You can use this same approach to design your career:
- Analysis - Look at several positions that are similar to your ideal job and analyze them to see what the job requirements are. Identify what education, credentials, knowledge and skills, and previous positions are required. Then compare the requirements with your own current capacities and credential so that you can identify your gaps- where you fall short in the requirements.
- Design/Develop – Plan out exactly how you can start working on filling the gaps so that you are qualified. Depending on the position you are working toward, you may need to work in different prerequisite positions before you are qualified to work in your ideal position. This means that you will need to map out a progression that makes sense and helps you build your qualifications. At the same time, be sure that you keep learning and growing and credentialing yourself. The more you can demonstrate that you have the required knowledge and skills, the better.
- Formative Evaluation – talk with several professionals to get their feedback on your plan. Be sure to interview or follow others who have done what you want to do - they will be able to give you pointers on where you can go and what to do.
- Implement – Do it. Start moving down the path. Keep doing things that will prepare you. You should be sure to work hard so that you can be fully prepared and qualified to take the position you desire.
- Evaluation – Identify what is working and want isn’t. Keep trying new things and stick to the things that are working.
Remember, if you want to be successful, you will need to do it on purpose. Work toward your dreams in a purposeful, determined manner, and you will be surprised at the rapid transformation that comes into your life.
I hope this approach is helpful to you. I have used this process in my own career and have been thoroughly surprised at some of the things I have accomplished in a short period of time. Best of luck!