Alternative Ways to Reach Your Career Goals

Personal Development

Almost everyone has experienced life-changing or spirit-crushing challenges in their job or career. Be it botching an important interview, missing a deadline for a very important project, getting fired or laid off, failing to deliver the expected results, or not realizing one’s purpose in life, everyone has their fair share of disappointments.

But, regardless of setbacks, there are ways to bounce back from poor experiences and to use those unfortunate events to discover your true calling.

Overcoming major roadblocks can help you develop clear career goals and vision. These insights will push you to greater action and provide you with the motivation you need, even if you’re diverted away from your career path repeatedly or forced to go back to zero at some point.

Listed below are some alternative ways to reach your career goals:

Develop Your People Skills and Build Relationships

The relationships you build can either help or hurt you in the future, particularly in your career as good people skills count for a lot.

You probably get along with people with the same passion and goals as yours but, with a little work, you could get along with just about anyone. People are resources, though many tend to forget that.

Building and maintaining relationships can also be a way to advertise yourself and your skills. Friends with whom you have deep connection will know which tasks you enjoy doing and roles you might be well-suited for. If they have opportunities they think you will be interested in, they'll usually tell you about them or offer them to you first. Simply put, if they know anyone needing a job done that they know you can do, they will pass your name and information along.

In the same way, connecting with people is a way to build your reputation. People will be glad to vouch for you when they have experienced first-hand what it was like to work with you.

Discover your true passion

If you still don't know what you're best suited for, you may want to do some psychometric testing to discover your strengths and aptitudes.

Taking steps to understand what you want to do and where you currently are will help you get to where you want to be.

Truth be told, people have more than just one passion. Most of us feel we must choose and, to an extent, we must. Some fires within us burn brighter and stronger than others but that doesn't mean other passions should be forgotten, it’s just that not all passions can fuel a career.

Once you find out what really matters to you, everything else will follow. As author Paulo Coelho once said, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Reach out to Your Network and Pay it Forward Later

We all need help, and it's okay to ask for a little now. Your personal network could come to your aid in a number of circumstances.

Branching out, meeting new people and expanding your personal network are some of the keys to marketing yourself.

The longer you work in a field, the better you will get. The better you get, the more people you will meet. The more people you meet, the better known your work will be. Word of mouth is still the best type of advertising. If funding is what you need, you could attract sponsors and donations. Once you establish some success, you can pay it forward and help others grow their ideas too.

This is the reason why there are people who establish a community of experts who can come together and help when needed. Many successful people attribute their success to the help they received from those who believed in them and those that invested time and money at the time they were still struggling to make it big.

Do volunteer work

When you take the time to contribute to something you believe in, it makes you feel useful. You’ll meet a lot of people from many walks of life when doing voluntary work, and anytime you provide value, you are already networking.

The good thing about networking this way is that it's not active; your primary purpose is to make a contribution to your cause every time you volunteer your time. Volunteer work could also lead you down a career path which may not have seemed possible before.

Start a business

If you feel like what you’re looking for is nowhere to be found, that's maybe because it hasn't been made yet. One of the best ways to commit to your passion is to start a business of your own. This highlights a need for networking as well as an opportunity to network.

Business owners are usually versatile, or they know a lot of people to help them with all the different areas of running a business. A business is supported by purpose, so you should express why the business exists through its brand and throughout its growth. Building a successful business is difficult but, with the right resources and tools, it is possible.

Turn your ideas into reality

Concrete things came from ideas. If you have been thinking about a ground-breaking technological development, or a tool that can alleviate social or economic problems, then you may need visionaries to help you develop your ideas.

Yes, you should get involved but you can also tap people from your network. They can help in the early stage of conception, in development, or offer a critique of your ideas. Additionally, your ideas can inspire others to materialize their own.

Just remember that though people can give great feedback (and may even help you with funding), you should take the time to nurture your ideas. Too much interference from others during the early stages of development could confuse the original concept.

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Develop the skills you need to get that job.

This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.


Patience and visualization are two good things to practice every day.

Remember, making a paycheck is one thing; building a career is another. If you want to find meaning in the value you bring to others, you must start internally. Know what you're good at, keep learning, keep improving, and set goals that will help you determine which way to go next.

About the Author

Edward Mellett is the founder of Practice Reasoning Tests. After failing employer’s assessment tests many times before getting a graduate job in 2005, he created PracticeReasoningTests to teach the lessons he learned along the way.