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Taking Charge Of Your Professional Goals

Mar 17, 2008
Get a Mentor

You could try to take charge by getting a mentor, someone that you can look up to and who you would like to be similar to professionally. A mentor is a person who knows you and understands your strengths and weaknesses, and is willing to guide you in a manner that will enhance your professional goals. If your organization or company does not have a mentoring program, then look elsewhere.

Turn to some other professional whom you know in the same field or industry. Make sure that your mentor is someone who is several levels higher than you professionally so that you can learn from their career growth. Get all the knowledge that you can from your mentor and respect his or her time and experience.

Have a Role Model

Having a role model may or may not be the same as having a mentor. A role model is someone that you want to emulate professionally, but this does not mean that they work with you on improving your position. They may not even be fully aware that they are your role model and you generally only know them professionally, not on a more personal level.

Do everything that your role model does, but make sure that you do not become exactly like them; maintain your individuality.

Utilize a Skills Coach

This is not a mentor. There is a significant difference between a mentor and a skill coach. A mentor is someone who is going to be around for an extended period of time to continuously guide you. A skill coach is someone whom you hire in order to help you improve your skills and train you in specific manners, such as PowerPoint presentations, sales pitches, or maybe marketing strategies.

Study and Train on Your Own

There are going to be many opportunities coming your way - and the best method by which to handle them is by studying and training yourself. You can self-study or self-train by doing a several different things. Reading business and trade magazines is the best way and is usually easy to keep up with. Grab a business magazine on your way to work and read it on the train or in the cab. Reading books related to your field or profession is another great way of assimilating knowledge and updates and improves your usefulness in your job.

Another great way to get trained is to take an online course relevant to your profession. These are great opportunities for those who cannot take time off from work or take a sabbatical in order to take a traditional training course. As a professional, you should know that you must never stop learning. Keep getting as much knowledge and education as you can. Take courses that are a part of a "Continued Education" pathway so that you can earn special certifications. These courses are available online and can be downloaded easily. Trade schools and training institutions are coming up with these courses regularly.

Professional associations

It helps to be an active member of a professional association. These professional associations are beneficial in achieving professional goals and taking charge of them. Network within your professional association because the more people you know in your profession, the better the chances are for growth and opportunity. Attend local meetings, seminars, and presentations in your field or industry.

You can get ample knowledge from these in order to take charge of your profession and your goals. Attend and sign up for training and other professional development courses and sign up for newsletters. All of these things will help you in your professional association. When you actively participate, people will see that you are skilled and are more likely to give you opportunities that you would have missed out on otherwise.

Volunteering

When you volunteer, you get to expand your network and your experience. Being apart of a volunteer program exposes you to different things and different aspects of your profession. This will help you to explore and may open new avenues for you and your career that you would have been unaware of previously.

For instance, you can do things such as offer to be a speaker at a school, seminar, or presentation. You can write articles for websites and newsletters. You can also conduct workshops for entry-level people in your profession and you can offer to be someone's mentor.

You alone are responsible for your career progression - and following the tips above can help you get a head start.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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