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How to Reach Your Career Goals in 2009

January 2009 (SmartPros) If you've resolved to further your career in 2009, start the year off right by conducting a thorough and honest assessment of where you are now and where you want to be in 12 months.

Following are tips any accounting and finance professional can use to conduct an effective and motivational career audit:

Get inquisitive and introspective. Ask yourself some serious questions and put your answers down on paper. Are the factors that initially attracted you to your job still meaningful to you? How much time do you spend working on duties you truly enjoy? Do you consistently feel challenged? What are your loftiest professional hopes and dreams? This exercise may cause some consternation by spotlighting stark differences between your interests and what you actually do on a daily basis. But taking stock of your current situation is the first step to establishing a more fulfilling work life.

Develop an action plan. Once you’ve taken a fresh look at your priorities and objectives, create a bulleted list of steps that can move you closer to your goal. If you decide you want to pursue a higher-level position with a larger organization, for instance, your list might include actions such as: “research prospective employers,” “schedule informational interviews,” “update my resume to play up my most relevant skills,” and “boost my marketability by attaining a certified public accountant (CPA) designation.” Simply put, having a strategic roadmap to refer to is an invaluable tool for staying on track throughout the year.

Seek guidance and input. After you’ve plotted your course, it’s wise to seek the counsel of mentors, career coaches and even trusted colleagues. An objective friend can help you spot potential pitfalls with your plan or make observations and recommendations you hadn’t considered. Regardless of your goal, strive to expand your professional network in 2009. Connecting with other professionals through networking websites and industry associations will help you develop a broader and more diverse roster of contacts that can serve as invaluable sources of inspiration and advice.

For more advice on management and career issues, listen to The Management Minute, Robert Half’s podcast series at

ACCOUNTEMPS is the world’s first and largest temporary staffing service specializing in the placement of accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 360 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at




2009 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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