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January 4, 2018
3 One-Year Goals That Quickly Grow Careers

Time flies. We reflect in disbelief that another year has passed, and our goals for the year remain unfulfilled. Instead of surrendering to discouragement, use the lack of progress as an opportunity to change your approach. Start a career journal to track progress. Assess the steps you will need to do to achieve each goal. Every day, assign one task to each target. Review progress at the end of your day. Here’s a list of three goals that help progress careers at a faster pace.


1.    Upgrade or learn a skill. Our industry is in constant movement. An unlearned skill can make the difference in your ultimate success. Choose one that will make the most significant difference in your ability to advance or improve your performance. Realize that this skill may not be a technical one. For example, if you would like to develop into a management position, your skill may be useful communication.


2.    Edit your portfolio. Your portfolio is your first impression. A potential employer qualifies your work by weakest work of your examples. You only need eighteen to two dozen pieces to prove your ability. In some roles, you may need even less. Critiques quickly show what should be culled. Ask those you trust will be honest to evaluate your work. Eliminate pieces they collectively ignore or criticize.


3.    Write a one-year career plan. Most people know what they would like to be doing “one day.” How to get there is where most of those dreams never become realized. Your career is like climbing a cliff. If you want to survive, you focus on the next handhold, and then the next, and so on. Reverse engineer the goal, listing each thing that must happen before you reach your final destination. Each step will make the next possible. What is the first step you must take? Can it be achieved in a year? If so, you have your one-year goal. Now write the steps needed and schedule a date for completion. If you finish an assignment early, move up the completion schedule accordingly.


When it comes to one’s career, these goals are on a countdown clock. There are short windows of opportunity if you want to grow your advertising career success to a high level. By focusing on key goals, you will be more likely of not giving up.

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Bart Cleveland spent over 30 years helping grow brands like Coca-Cola, The Ritz-Carlton, and CNN. Now, he guides creative professionals to plan and execute successful careers through his business, Job Propulsion Lab℠. He also helps both agencies and marketers nurture customers into advocates through a relationship development program he calls, ACES℠. 
Bart launched Ad Age’s most popular blog, Small Agency Diary. He is also a contributing author of the book, The Get A Job Workshop, How To Find Your Way To A Creative Career In Advertising.
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