Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Make Career Goals A Reality

Everyone tells job and career seekers they all should set career goals.

But that's the easy part. The hard part is achieving them.

You must know what you're doing and have a clear "yellow brick road" to follow if you're going to be successful and it.

Setting forth that path is Jayne Matteson, senior vice president of Keystone associates and author of Top 10 Tips to Help Achieve Your Career Goals.

Matteson contends that professionals who are in careers today will change jobs much more frequently by their own decision or the company's.  In either situation, you need to be prepared and proactive in managing your career. 

"People's lives are busy enough balancing work and family without having to think about finding time for their career as well," she adds. "The tips below provide you ways to achieve your career goals without having to sacrifice other areas in your life that are important to you!"         
1.      Identify your past year's accomplishments; update your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Write down your accomplishments for the past year, which will help you in review and bonus time.  Take the next step and update your resume and LinkedIn profile to keep you visible in the job market with Recruiters or Hiring Managers. This will help you identify your market worth.  
2.      Set up "Lunch Time Conversations" with the shakers and movers and the person everyone seems to know within your organization to develop mutual relationships, so, if a special project or a higher position opens up, they will think of you!
Your internal company network is very important to your career success. Create a list of people within the organization you know personally and professionally and ask to have lunch, phone, or a Skype conversation for career advice, information sharing, or just to get to know them better. Remember, it is not what you know, but whom you know that will help you get ahead!
3.      Network face-to-face with 1 to 3 people each month outside the company to stay connected to your industry and to develop your networking skills.  
Identify 10 people who you have lost touch with and would like to re-connect. Reach out to them indicating one of your 2013 goals is to keep your network active. When you meet with your network, have a purpose and always be willing to ask them to connect you to others they know. 
4.      Join your industry professional associations and attend monthly events.
Find out the dates and times, put them in your calendar and try not to schedule meetings too close to the event, so you will have enough travel time. Bring information to share with your colleagues.
  5.      Update your look with accessories, clothes, hair, and eyeglasses to reflect a polished professional image.
Keeping an update look is essential for initial impressions especially for Baby Boomers.   Try not to be too trendy and use the rule of thumb of looking in the mirror to see if you need to eliminate one accessory.
  6.      Set up quarterly meetings with your boss to stay on track with your professional development.
Since you need to be the leader in managing your career, you need to take the initiative to set up routine times to conduct professional development meetings.  If your boss is not in your office, recommend using Skype, which is a great way to build a more solid relationship.
  7.      Mark your calendar six months out for a review of career goals and make adjustments if necessary.
Staying on top of your career goals and periodically reviewing those helps you measure your progress, successes, and evaluate the feasibility of accomplishing your remaining goals. 
 . 8.      Read your local business journal weekly to stay on top of market trends and changes, and share information with your network.
Subscribe to the online version and hard copy of your local business journals as well as a few trade industry publications, and schedule weekly reading time as part of your career development. Share what you've learned on your LinkedIn profile, which will give you the reputation of someone who is in the know. 
 9.      Keep up to date with technology by attending lunchtime webinars.
Sign up once a month for a webinar on social media or technology updates in your areas of expertise and share what you learn with your colleagues.
 10.   Read Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" or "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferazzi that reinforces building relationships inside and outside your organization, which is the key to career success! 
Buy either of these relationship-building books on tape, which will ease your commute and help you to develop better skills.

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