iStock_000004056755SmallIf you are ambitious and want to move your career forward, you most likely have some sort of a goal in mind; maybe it’s your next promotion or maybe it’s a long range plan to run a company. It always helps to have some kind of goal even if it changes over time. Having the goal gives your career momentum and focus.

But once you identify your goal, how do you get there? What can you do to achieve your goal?

It’s important to lay out a plan for bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to go.

  1. First, determine all the skills and experience you will need for this new position.
  2. Validate with your boss or HR that these are the skills and experience you will need.
  3. Assess your current skillset and experience and identify the gaps.
  4. Develop a plan to learn the new skills identified. Maybe you need to take some courses. Can you learn these new skills through some program offered at work or perhaps outside the workplace at a local college, an online course, a continuing education course?
  5. Figure out how to gain the experience you need. Meet with your boss or someone in Human Resources to see if it’s possible to work on some projects that will give you more experience in specific areas. You can also volunteer in your community and gain experience in managing and leading teams, perhaps even managing a budget.

What’s important to understand is that you need to make sure that you are qualified for the position you seek and not leave things to chance. Knowing what the expectations are ahead of time allows you to put a plan in place to meet and exceed those expectations and be prepared for new responsibilities.

Be proactive and strategic. Take control of your career trajectory and you will increase your chances to accelerate your career.