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Advice for College Graduates: How to Achieve Your Career Goals

EBSCO Corporate Solutions has compiled tips for new college graduates to learn how to set and execute career goals, courtesy of Accel5.

As a new college graduate, you face many challenges when entering the workforce. It is perfectly normal to struggle with the transition from student to employee. A common challenge among college graduates is learning how to understand and execute career goals to ensure that you are setting yourself up for long-term success.

EBSCO Corporate Solutions’ Accel5 features business book summaries and videos from top thought leaders that cover critical skills such as goal setting and prioritization. Incorporate some of our top tips into your own goal-setting strategies.

Ask Yourself These Questions

Prior to even landing your first job, you’ve most likely thought about your personal and career goals. Now that you have become a member of the workforce, it is time to explore your goals and motivations further.

According to Sue Powell in her Accel5 video, “How to Use the Grow Model for Goal Setting,” all employees should approach goal setting by first asking themselves the most important question: “What do I really want?” Think about your ultimate, most important career goal. You may also consider your personal goals and how these may affect your work-life balance.

Then, explore why these goals are important. What drives you? What connects you to your goal? Be completely honest with yourself to understand what your motivations and priorities are.

Next, explore what succeeding in this goal would look and feel like. Think about how you would think and behave to achieve this goal. Be curious and explore what achieving your largest goals would look like.

Finally, you should evaluate where you are now. Pay attention to your reality. What options do you have to get to your goal? What are you willing to do? These questions will help shift focus on your goals so you can begin to strategize your career.

Now that you have become a member of the workforce, it is time to explore your goals and motivations further.

Set Your Goals and Plan Your Work

After you’ve asked yourself critical questions to understand your goals, you must create an action plan to achieve them. In a video for Accel5, Laura Stack explains how you must complete yearly, monthly, weekly and yearly planning to achieve your goals and objective. The process is as follows:

  • Take some time before the end of the year to conduct a personal review. Think about what you have accomplished first, then review your personal goals to align with your values. Next, set your goals for the upcoming year. Break this goal down into smaller action steps that you can accomplish in monthly increments. For example, if you’d like to receive a promotion, then you could volunteer for one additional project a month.
  • Review your calendar and plans monthly to determine what must be completed. Write each specific task on a daily to-do list. You will need one daily to-do list for each day of the month. This is a great way to stay organized and ensure that you never miss deadlines.
  • For weekly planning, think in reverse. Review the past week for overdue, incomplete, and missed tasks. These should be the first tasks that you complete in the upcoming week. According to Laura, “The most successful performers are not only self-starters, they are self-finishers as well.”
  • Daily, create High Impact Tasks or HIT list, and order by priority. By necessity, urgent but relatively unimportant items will dominate your list, but you must also work on the non-urgent but essential tasks (e.g., the strategic priorities that count most in the long run). Before you leave work each day, order your task for the following day using the triage system. If an unexpected task pops up, triage it accordingly and work it into the list.

As a new college graduate, you must think critically about your career goals and create an action plan to achieve them. Things will not always run smoothly, but by remembering your motivations and priorities, you will always find a way to be moving towards your ultimate goals.

For more information on career development, including goal setting, purchase an individual subscription of Accel5. This subscription allows you to access a library of hundreds of business book summaries on popular soft skills that will make you a more valuable employee to any company.

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