It’s natural to one day dream of being the CEO of a company, but it’s important to remember that it takes a plan to get there. Take advantage of being in the present and set goals for the position you’re in right now. What can you do in the present to propel yourself into that role? Here are four realistic, attainable goals you can plan for (and easily meet).
1. Make friends – and network in the process
You never know who’s working in the cube next to you and the connections they have. Work friendships can evolve into some life-changing opportunities when you open yourself up.
Amy McGann, a graduate of the University of Florida, finds it easiest to make connections during one-on-one visits to a colleague’s cube. “You might find yourself on the outskirts of a group discussion, especially if it’s on a topic you know nothing about,” she says. “I found most of my work friends while visiting their desk and throwing a compliment or question their way.”
Additionally, even if you’d rather opt for a wine night party of one in the comfort of your living room, it’s so important to take advantage of any type of office social. It may be hard to believe, but your co-workers are actually humans too. The super square, professional persona that they (or we all) put on at work may melt away during the office holiday party.
McGann is also a testament to opportunities coming out of work friendships. “I flew to San Juan on a buddy pass from the family of my work bestie,” she says. Like your mother probably once told you, you never know unless you try. So be brave, be vulnerable, and grow your personal and friendship circle with one little sentence.
2. Get a mentor
If you’re eyeing a new role within the company you work for, finding a mentor in that position is one of the best ways to see if it’s a good fit.
Seeking out a mentor can seem challenging or even nerve-wracking, but the relationship will bring you nothing but success if you find the right one. Because mentors have more seniority over you, they typically have access to more events and a larger network than you. Imagine your mentor introducing you to influential individuals who could change your future.
Feeling the heat and struggling at work? A mentor can be the guidance you need, offering words of wisdom and specific advice on how to navigate the highs and lows that come with working. "Often times, it is difficult for us to look outside of ourselves and realize where we need to improve. That's where a mentor comes into play," says Marsha Turner, a career coach at CareerOyster. "They're not there to pad your ego. Even when their advice may sting a little, they're setting you up to avoid the same mistakes they made or witnessed on their path."
If you desire a role outside of the company that you’re with, your mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be within your respective company. Catching your next mentor at a conference or networking event outside of work is totally normal. Invite them out for a cup of coffee after you dazzle them and sell yourself. Whichever route you go, finding that mentor can optimize your chances of finding a new role.
3. Keep track of quantitative accomplishments
Keeping track of your quantitative goals will boost your resume and LinkedIn pages. Listing quantitative goals allows other employers to see the level of impact you had on any company you previously or currently work for.
Regardless of your profession, you could be able to showcase your level of impact through numbers. How many hits did your articles garner? How were you able to boost company revenue and by how much? How many people did you oversee? These are just a few questions you can ask yourself.
Even if your position isn't data-heavy, you could research numbers on the company you work for. Is your company included in any ranking list? Is it the largest company compared to several others?
"Anyone can copy and paste a job description. But it's the results that separate you from the other hundred plus applicants," says career consultant Chris Taylor, founder of The Occupation Optimist. "Speaking in a quantitative manner moves a job seeker from making a claim to proving a point. Recruiters spend five to ten seconds max scanning your resume. Quantitative data separates you from the pack."
Make it a goal to pay closer attention to all the ways you boost numbers in the company and keep note of them.
4. Attend conferences, workshops, or seminars in your industry
There is always an opportunity to learn more and sharpen your skills, and attending any one of these events can gift you with new perspectives and approaches to bring back to the office.
Inserting yourself into a new environment, although temporary, can force you to grow. More than likely, you'll attend a conference, workshop, or seminar on your own. However, by the end you'll probably have heard worthwhile advice from speakers, networked with the person sitting next to you, and received some nifty tools or gear. You might have even been introduced to new companies that inspire you.
For the record, if you've attended Her Conference, you know how life-changing it is. For Alicia Bonelli, a senior at Brandeis University, attending Her Conference changed her in unexpected ways.
"Not only do I feel like I have developed skills to help me succeed in the world of media, I feel more well-rounded as a person. I have a new approach to tackling my dreams and life in general, thanks to the advice I was given and the people I met."
This is one of many examples of events that are at your disposal to strengthen all your girl power and the impact you'll have on the world.
After mastering these goals, you'll almost surely have maximized your potential in the position you're in. Success is yours for the keeping.