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Charting a Successful Career

A well thought-out plan for your career will go far toward being successful.

Much of the job-seeking world is awash in a tsunami of long-winded advice for career building.

Thankfully, some advice can be served up in "checklists."

These succinct compilations are useful in distilling the most essential droplets of wisdom around any particular topic with an almost playful brevity. ADVANCE has decided to ride the crest of the list wave with manageable, actionable tips to help ensure your career growth.

1.    Make a specific plan. Just as a patient care plan is important to a patient's outcome, so is a well thought-out career plan important to career success. What this is NOT is a nebulous, hazy idea that includes a job at the end. Instead, you must consider career goals in terms of achievable education, training and experience geared toward specific rungs on a career ladder.  Start with a short-term plan-6 to 12 months. You are quite likely to know what is achievable in that range. Then expand outward-5 years, 10 years. Where do you want to be? What title do you intend to hold? Do not allow these goals, milestones and personal expectations to dissipate like some lofty cloud; put them in writing, review often, and amend as necessary.

2.    Build a personal support structure.
When you know where you want to go and when you want to get there, you will be able to determine the people, places and things that will get you there. Identify people who could be instrumental in helping you enter a certification program, learn a new skill, access meaningful experiences. Network at work, at parties, at conferences, in classrooms. Get to know others in your field and express your goals and interests. Identify a mentor or two and ask for their help in reviewing your career plan and in determining the best ways to achieve it. People who have been-there-done-that may know logistical shortcuts that can save you time and money without risking loss of meaningful experiences.

SEE ALSO: Student & New Grad Center

3.    Build your brand and your value.  You will forever be competing with other career builders, some of whom will have similar education and experience.  How do you build professional value? Consider yourself as a commodity on the open market. How would you "sell" that commodity? Craft a resume that is both factual and full of passion for your work. Be sure similarly self-asserting information is echoed on a LinkedIn profile and on your Facebook page. And always be mindful of the undeniable strength of word-of-mouth. Talk about your goals, your passion for your specific job, your ideas for improvements, your problem-solving techniques. Let managers know you are eager to grow and expand and benefit the entire workplace with your efforts. Let your brand be one of success built on effort.

4.    Stand out from the rest. This step is related to building your brand, but takes it a leap farther. While it always takes effort to really excel at any healthcare position, do not be satisfied with "doing a good job." Look for ways to stretch beyond expectations. Consider joining a safety team, governance council or research project. Make efforts that will set you apart from other employees and demonstrate your ability to work with multi-functional teams in a variety of tasks. Be the go-to person in as many areas as possible.

5.    'Just do it.'
Nike said it first. It was reiterated by career experts at Sometimes making a career happen is simply a matter of having the moxie, the intention, the will, the energy and the courage to do what you already know you can do. Some people will relegate their intentions to dreams; others will turn intentions into reality. Just do it. You know you can.

Valerie Neff Newitt is a staff writer. Contact:

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