Building a successful career is a long term plan you need to do right now. Most successful people do not achieve their goals overnight but plan towards it. Moving towards your dreams requires proper planning; be passionate and determine to make your dreams become reality. Here are some strategies for international students to build a successful career. We’ve outlined them as questions you need to ask. Asking these questions will lead you to take well informed intentional steps towards the actualization of your dream.
1. What are your Goals?

You must know yourself before you outline your strength and weaknesses to focus on things that motivate you the most. This is how you identify who is, and what you are passionate about. Think of how to achieve your desired goals and set the ball running until you get to where you desire. Identifying your passion may take time and effort. However, if you keep asking yourself what your goals are throughout your career you’ll position yourself on the right track. You’ll also focus your energy on going after what you want.

2. Who is advising you professionally?

Because at each stage of our lives, we need help, you need to intentionally seek out people who would give you the right information in the right proportion to help you navigate the path you’ve chosen. These people would also come from your professional circle. Be intentional in mapping out key people in your intended profession who are influencers and know their way. Open up about your strengths and weaknesses to learn what to do and not to do. Analyse the opinions you receive and make adjustments where necessary. Seeking advice from successful people will be an eye-opener for you to make the right decisions on what to become in the future. This is one of the ways international students can build a successful career.

3. Have you assumed full responsibility?

You can only go as far as you’re willing to be responsible for your actions. Be confident to take responsibility for decisions that affect your life. Rember that your decisions will have an effect on you positively or negatively. Start assuming responsibility for all of your actions and never blame anyone for your mistakes. Be determined to build a great career in life.

4. What is important to you?

One of the best decision-making strategies is to address and examine how your decisions fit into all phases of your life. This includes those that appear unrelated. Start by making a list of your talents, passions, values, elements of your ideal lifestyle and employment environment. It does not have to be work-related – everything is relevant. Some questions to ask yourself include: what are my talents? What am I good at? What do I feel passionate about? What kind of environment do I work well in?

5. Have you assessed your Career Opportunities?

What do you want your future to look like? Look not only at job titles but also job content. Equally look at your transferable skills, talents, and values. Ask yourself: What is my definition of career success? Where am I now and where do I want to be? List your past accomplishments, reviewing your past and current achievements. As you know, every decision and action has it’s own effect so be careful in outlining what you really want because, at the end of the day, your decisions will tell how well you’ve lived. Assessing career opportunities and mapping out your accomplishments will enable you to target jobs that will give you the chance to excel and most importantly, give you the career fulfilment you crave.

 6. Have you taken action?

After you have researched available opportunities and have made up your mind, all that’s left is to take action. Think about how you’ll move forward and try to get any support available that will help you enact your career plan. For example, what should you do to get the training your job offers? Is there someone you could talk to? What are the final steps that will help you develop your plan? These are all questions which you need to constantly ask yourself to ensure you are on the right track. To facilitate the process divide your actions into three parts:

  • Critical Components are areas that require extra attention. You might find that having an MBA is essential to achieve your ultimate goal.
  • Short-Term Components address minor goals which are only there because they are meant to help you achieve your bigger targets.
  • Long-Term Components refer to your end-goals and can only be addressed after you’ve reached all of your short-term goals.

It’s important for your plan to be well-thought out as any gaps could hinder your chances of achieving your targets.

7. Assign a Timeline and Milestones

Building a personal career plan is no easy feat. However, when you assign timelines to what you want to achieve, it helps you to keep pushing. But, you shouldn’t put it aside as soon as you’ve finished it. It’s important to keep it somewhere where you can see it and get inspired on a daily basis.

Timeline: To make your career plan more effective you should put all of your targets and action steps on a timeline. If your ultimate goal is to start your own business, you need to set a time-frame for yourself. Consider how long it will take you to gain the necessary skills, raise the money needed, etc. Fit these steps into your framework. The more your career objectives are put in a logical sequence, the more chances you’ll have to follow through.

Milestones: Scheduling specific times to review and update your personal career plan is important. It’s also important to recognise which achievements can be considered as milestones. If gaining a postgraduate degree will help pivot your professional life, then graduating from the university should be regarded as a milestone. It’s also important to celebrate your milestones as this will help you to push forward.

8. Are you learning, growing and developing?

It’s essential to keep developing knowledge, abilities and to also learn new professional skills that go with the current trend. Development is key for professional and personal growth to move forward in your career. Whether you are attending a workshop to develop new skills or learn a new language, take charge of your progression. Be on top of your game. Take a moment to reflect upon your standards and values. Try to improve them bit by bit up until you realize that you’ve become the best version of yourself.

9. Are you expecting the unexpected?

Don’t forget that plans are not set in stone and that it is important to prepare to change them if and when necessary. So be ready and flexible. Give a room for uncertainty.

Building a career isn’t all bread and butter. You need to take the time and put in the effort that is required. The strategies for international students to build a successful career is a useful guide.

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