why you need a career stategy to be successful

Why You Need A Career Strategy If You Want To Be Successful

Do you want to have an incredibly successful career?

Do you want to work in an exciting job with awesome people…AND get paid top dollar?

Well here’s the thing – I guarantee it won’t happen by accident! You need to build a career strategy with clear milestones that propels you towards achieving your goals.

And most importantly, you need to stick to it! But first, let’s discuss WHY having a career strategy is so critical to becoming more successful in your dream job…

Having A Career Strategy Allows You To Control Your Forward Progression

Man assessing his career strategy
When it comes to landing your Dream Job there’s a few key areas you need to master…


Sure, we can talk about proven resume hacks, and winning job interview techniquesBut if you don’t have an overall career STRATEGY – then these tactics mean nothing.

Because you’ll bounce around haphazardly from one department and job to another without any direction. And here’s what bugs me…

Lots of career advice “experts” and career services fail to ignore what I call “The Long Game” of your career. And I’m not talking about some generic answer to the “where do you see yourself in 5 years” interview question….

I’m talking about what you GENUINELY want for the upcoming stages of your career. What exciting work, projects, and people do you want to surround yourself with?

And while having this “Long Game” vision for your career is vital, without a strategy it’s impossible to reverse engineer that situation…

Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional

Man lifting weights to grow as a person
I know that sounds like something from a Hallmark card but hear me out…


Because there’s some seriously practical truth in it.

Think about it – how many of us set aside time to take stock of what’s happening all around us?

Usually we’re so overwhelmed with the demands of life that’re right in front of us – that by the time you see something dramatic happening in your job or industry it’s too late!

For example, Artificial Intelligence is about to shake up the GLOBAL workforce in a big way. Machine learning is going to create new jobs. But it’s also going to DECIMATE others.

Have you taken a minute to think about the ways this could impact your career?

Here’s what it boils down to…complacency is a career killer!

You need to constantly ask yourself:

  • What are the major shifts in my industry?
  • Am I growing my skills in such a way that I’m future proofing my job relevancy
  • How much flexibility do I have in my career?
  • Am I learning in this job or am I in a rut?
  • Is this business or industry expanding or contracting?
  • What’s my exit strategy if I got fired today? How quickly could I put together a list of 10 businesses or contacts to meet with next week?

You might love your job – but how would you go about finding your next Dream Job? Would you go through a recruiter like Michael Page or Hays?

Or would you go through job sites like Glassdoor, Monster, Indeed, and Seek (AUS only)? I’m not saying this to make you paranoid about your job security…

I just want you to start thinking long term. And to start becoming aware of relevant shifts in demand and technology that are happening.  I don’t want you to merely dodge career bullets – I want you to be 10 miles from the firing line.

Your Success Isn’t On Anyone’s Agenda

chess board metaphor for agenda and success
This is a simple one, but it’s a core principle in Career Mastery.


Your boss has his or her own agenda, as does the company you work for, as do your coworkers, as does recruiters and headhunters. You (and ONLY you) can take 100% responsibility for your success and your career growth.

Sure, the company you work for may INVEST in you as an employee. They might facilitate new training and skill development. But they’re not doing so altruistically…

They’re investing in you to become a more effective employee inside their business. And their “grand plans” for you may not actually align with where you see yourself heading in the next 3-5 years.

This is why you need a bulletproof career strategy. So that you won’t be at the complete mercy of your employer. Instead you’ll be able to take charge of your OWN development – so that you can stay on track with YOUR goals.

NOTE: Just doing this will SAVE you from waking up 5 years later and looking back thinking “wow, I got left behind…”

Clear Direction Gives You Clear Goals And Milestones

Goal setting is a massively valuable activity!

And if you haven’t taken the time to sit down and evaluate where you want to map your career path on paper…

Then I STRONGLY suggest taking a break from this article right now. Take a piece of paper and start mapping out a career vision that aligns with what you want, and your values.

And here’s the really cool thing…

When you have this vision outlined, then you’re able to break it down into measurable milestones and sub-goals. These smaller milestones allow you to easily keep track of the progress you’re making.

But if you don’t have a 3-5 year vision, then knowing what milestones to work on are impossible!

There’s a quote I love from Tony Robbins which reads:


When you think about it it’s so true, isn’t it?

Last year (2017) I accomplished quite a lot:

  • I travelled around Europe for 4 weeks (where I explored 9 countries and made a tonne of new friends from around the world)
  • I recorded 30+ new episodes of a comedy podcast I started
  • I founded and launched Your Career Mastery
  • I assessed job options with 10 business owners in my field I’d never met before
  • Began editing a novel I’d put on the backburner for over a year
  • Started going to the gym and lifting weights each week

I’m not saying any of this to brag…

Because in many ways it wasn’t a year of successes but a year of exciting new beginnings. But it goes to show that over a YEAR you can achieve a lot. In a day you can only achieve baby steps.

So build your plan, define your milestones, and chip away at them EVERY week.  Over time that consistency will pay big dividends – both in your life AND your career.

Successful Strategy Is About Systems

Success is about building systems
This topic deserves an entire blog post by itself…


And it’s an integral part of the core training for my Productivity Accelerator ProgramBut being able to effectively deploy a career strategy requires easily repeatable systems.

(Which is a concept I learned from James Clear’s article on Goals Vs. Systems!)

Here’s what I mean…

Once you’ve defined a key career milestone to move you towards your 3-5 year vision – next you need to build the system that’ll help you achieve it.

For example, let’s say you wanted to start a podcast around your field or skill set. This is what an effective strategy would look like:

  • Vision = To host the most popular podcast in my field
  • Yearly Milestone = To record 30 brand new episodes
  • System = Every Wednesday night for 2 hours I research possible people to interview and contact them via LinkedIn

Make sense?

Once you grasp the full weight of this system you can unlock an INCREDIBLE amount of your untapped potential.

So How Can You Start Building Your Strategy Today?

In this article we’ve discussed four main steps to building the blueprint for your career strategy.

These are:

  • Step 1: Define the vision for your long term career strategy
  • Step 2: Break that down into key milestones
  • Step 3: Build a repeatable system
  • Step 3: Start taking action to achieve those milestones today!

I’d love to hear about YOUR strategy, as well as what you’re going to execute on.  If you’d like to go even deeper on this topic, I created an entire book on this subject.

My free book the 17 Laws Of Career Mastery breaks down each of my best career hacking strategies.

So please leave a comment below with the action steps you’re going to take, and any questions you have!

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will vaughan your career mastery

Will Vaughan is the Founder & CEO of Your Career Mastery. He’s dedicated to helping young professionals discover and land the job of their dreams using a mix of proven strategies, tips, tools, and mindsets. He currently works as a Content & SEO manager for a 100 million dollar tech company in Melbourne, Australia.

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