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How to Turn Your Job into a Career

The Oxford Dictionary defines a career as “an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.” Whether you are new to the workforce or are a seasoned professional, it can be easy to lose focus on opportunities for progress. In fact, with so many day-to-day tasks and projects at work, you may completely lose sight of the big picture from time to time, and why you took your job in the first place. Or perhaps you have a temporary position that you enjoy but aren’t sure how to take things to the next level. Here are a few tips to help you turn your job into a fulfilling career.

Determine your ultimate destination. This step has to do with your long-term professional goals. What is your current position? Where would you like to be in one, three, and five years from now? Write down your ideas. Don’t be afraid to be creative! If you are unsure what your options are for career progression, research your industry and the company you work for online, speak with your manager, and conduct informational interviews with others who work in your industry.

Once you have an idea of how you can progress as a professional, you will need to work on your path to reaching your goal.

Create your career map. If you are traveling somewhere unfamiliar, you need a map to ensure that you arrive at your destination. Similarly, you need to determine a route that will help you reach your career goals. To do this, there are three important steps to take.

  1. Identify who you are as a professional. This involves defining your career values, strengths, relevant experience, and professional interests. Include all of these elements in your career map to ensure that you are honoring your career values throughout your career, and ensure you are using your strengths effectively.
  2. Identify what success means to you. Does this mean making a certain amount of money, achieving a certain level of work/life balance, or working in a specific department of your organization? This will help you determine if your current path and the long-term trajectory of your job will allow you to be your version of successful.
  3. Identify the action steps you need to take. Using your ideas for your one, three, and five-year goals, think about the skills and experience that are required to achieve those goals. Next, determine how you can acquire those skills and experience. Perhaps you need to:
    • Take an online course.
    • Volunteer for projects that will help you acquire more experience.
    • Expand your network.

For more tips on planning your career plan, download our free presentation, “Three Keys to Unlock YOUR Strategic Career Plan.”

Write down your ideas. Then choose 2-3 action steps for each career goal. Ask for support from 2 friends and family members to help keep you on track. Don’t get discouraged if you hit a roadblock or two on the road to achieving your career goals, that just means you will need to make a few adjustments as you progress. Stay focused on the big picture!