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See it to Achieve it - Visualize Career Success

By Marissa Banker, M.Ed., CPRW, Campus Director of Career Services, CTU Aurora

CTU Student Success - Visualize Your GoalsWe all travel diverse pathways to career success. Some of us strive to climb the corporate ladder within an organization; others blaze new paths and become entrepreneurs. Whatever your course, one thing remains constant in obtaining career success: setting goals.

As a business leader, I speak from experience on the value of identifying and setting career goals. Early on in my career in education, I discovered the value of setting career goals as I created my first vision map. It was a collage of images, pictures and affirmations of my career goals. Through the process, I identified where I was at the time, and where I wanted to be. Over time, I’ve learned three important things:

  • You must take your career success into your own hands.
  • You can’t let yourself or anyone else put limits on your success.
  • You must go after every opportunity with all that you have, never settling for mediocre, and stay inspired to be better every day.

To quote Mary Kay Ash, “We must have a theme, a goal, a purpose in our lives. If you don’t know where you’re aiming, you don’t have a goal.”

Set Goals for Satisfaction

Research tells us that people who set career goals are more satisfied professionally and obtain higher incomes than those who don’t set goals. Without setting career goals for yourself, you’re bound to move in a direction that you’ll feel is a waste of your time.

When identifying career goals, consider the big picture beyond your short-term objectives. Without setting firm, long-term career goals, you run the risk of jumping into the first job offered to you, and ultimately being trapped in the job hop-around.

So how can you write specific goals and know when they’re accomplished? I’ve found the S.M.A.R.T. method to be the quickest route to success. The S.M.A.R.T. method emphasizes setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

How can you implement the S.M.A.R.T. methodology? Start off by determining your big-picture goal. Do you want to change careers or advance within your current organization? Once you've identified your end goal, identify the steps needed to get you there. Those will be your short-term goals, and should be broken down into specific daily, weekly and monthly objectives that consistently move you steps closer to your long-term goals.

Your long-term goals are your target destination; your short-term goals are the road maps to getting there. Leverage this, or any, methodology that works for you. You’ve got the basics, now put pen to paper and get started!


CTU Denver Campus Director of Career Services - Marissa BankerMarissa Banker, M.Ed., CPRW is the Campus Director of Career Services for the Northern Colorado Campuses at Colorado Technical University. Marissa has over 10 years of experience in counseling and post-secondary education focusing on career services, employer relations and community outreach. Connect with Marissa on Twitter @MarissaBanker.


Image credit: Flickr/seeveeaar