How to ensure career success

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Career success – Why is it that some people always appear to be more successful than others? Is it because they have more experience or perhaps they are just in the right place at the right time? We all know of someone that we admire because of their successes but how do they do it?

career success

career success

After reading about the successful people who I admire I have found that there tends to be a pattern and from this I have identified the folllwing steps to success that anyone can follow and that will put you back in the driving seat:

Set SMART Goals

You have to set yourself a target to aim for and the easiest way to do this is to set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for :

    • Specific – that is, it has defined parameters and clearly defines what you are aiming for.
    • Measurable – there must be a logical way to measure your progress so you know when you have achieved your goal.
    • Attainable – in other words, it must be realistic and achievable with effort.
    • Relevant – so it must be important to you so that you are motivated to working toward achieving it.
    • Timed – you need to set your goal within a reasonable time limit so that you have a deadline to work toward.

By developing SMART goals, you find ways to achieve them by planning each of the steps and developing the required skills along the way and as you grow and develop your skills, your goal seems to shrink in size and become even more easily achievable than you may have first thought.

But what is your career goal or do you even have one?

For some people their career goal maybe to get a new job, for others it may be to reach a managerial position in the company they work for within 2 years, or it may be to learn something new. Whatever it is, as the German philosopher, Goethe said,

“The important thing in life is to have a great aim and possess the aptitude and the perseverance to attain it.”

I know that a lot of people struggle with this. They struggle to come up with a vision of what they want for themselves, their career or their business and they procrastinate and put off trying to determine what their goal is. Many don’t even see the point in it (this is one of the reasons that I co-wrote ‘Your Future – A Practical Guide to Action).

Not having a goal or a vision is a bit like getting into your car and just driving with no map and no idea of where you are going. Guaranteed you will end up somewhere but will it really be where you want to be? And how will you manage to convince the others in the car that they should go along with you? (Ok so if I am to be honest, occasionally I do find it fun to just get in the car and drive. It can be a bit of an adventure but it is not the way to try and have a successful career!)

If you want to succeed in your career, you need to know exactly what position you are at now and then create a vision or goal of where you want to be – you must be prepared to spend time doing this if you want to succeed (contact me if you need some help with this).

The next step is to clearly communicate this vision. This gives you direction and focus so you know what you are working towards and this in turn will create the drive and passion needed to achieve your goals and make your career a success.

A great article I read recently said that,

 ‘a good vision gives an organization both direction and the inspiration to pursue it’.

I couldn’t agree more and the same applies for your career!

For me the whole article can be summed up with the following quote:

‘… the very act of having the aim in large measure provides the aptitude and perseverance needed to achieve it. Vision does this because it taps deeply seated emotions. It stirs people, kindles their passion and propels them forward. Vision provides the crucial performance motive beyond the survival instinct’.

You can read the rest of the article here:

Once you have your goal, you need to compare where you are now with where you want it to be and while this is the first step towards your success, it is the key step that many people fail to take. Only by making this comparison and identifying where there are gaps, can you begin to see what you need to do to start making your career a success.

Once you know where the gaps are you are well on the way. Now you need to think about what is stopping you from taking action to narrow those gaps. Is it lack of knowledge, time or money? Or is something else holding you back?

Be Productive

You need to stop being busy and start being more productive. These days, everyone always appears to be so busy, but what are they actually achieving with their time? Take a step back and look objectively at your work load; are you really being as productive with your time as you could be? There is a well known cliché, “work smarter not harder” and while it may be a cliché, this is exactly what successful people are good at doing, working smarter not harder. Forget multi-tasking and do one important thing at a time and do it well.

That being said, you don’t need to strive for perfection. Many of us set ourselves high standards and then get annoyed and frustrated when these standards are not met. These high standards may actually make us less efficient. I have spoken to many people who have delayed starting their business because they weren’t 100% happy with their website – the thing is, they never will be and all they are doing is procrastinating and preventing themselves starting their journey to a successful business. From what I have read, the key achievers go out there and get things done without ever doing things to 100% perfection.

Be Proactive

Be proactive, create a job search strategy and put in place a clear career plan to assist in you in having the career you want. This should involve not only continuously reviewing your skill set to make sure that you have skills and experience that are transferable from one employer to another, but also doing your research, having a strong and up-to-date CV that conveys the value you can add to a business by providing evidence of your abilities, and it is also important to expand your network.

Have a Clear Brand

Like all the best selling products, if you want to stand out you need to have a clear brand which is easily recognizable and is conveyed throughout your entire job search strategy. This brand will help you to stick to your values, the things that are important to you, and be your guiding principle when deciding to go after a new job or promotion. To create a clear brand, you need to consider how you wish to be seen as well as how others see you. In other words, it’s all about having a clear message about who we are and what makes us unique.

Use the KISS Principle

Follow the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) – this is one principle that I try hard to follow. As Leonardo da Vinci supposedly (there is no evidence apparently that he ever did say or write this!) said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” So why make things complicated as this often just leads to confusion and frustration. High achievers don’t waste their time complicating matters so why should you.

And of course, all successful people have a very positive outlook and know the importance of learning from their mistakes.

Try following these  steps that the successful people I have been reading about follow and let me know what you achieve!


© Anne Galloway

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Anne Galloway is the Careers Consultant for those who want to put the fun and passion back into their working week. Find out how Anne can help you along your path to career success at


I am a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Employment Interview Consultant, and Career Coach and it is my aim to help ambitious and motivated people like you become fully empowered to get the job you want.