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The first few years of your career can be super tough. From long, demotivating job searches to enduring the entry-level grindstone, it can take a long time and a lot of hard work to fully realise your career goals. In order to stay motivated and keep your eyes on the prize, here are some simple milestones that you can celebrate along the way.

1. Using your degree

After investing several years, a lot of late nights, and a fair bit of money into your degree, it’s reasonable that you’d want to apply what you’ve learned at uni in the workplace. For some degrees, this is easier said than done… *cough* Arts *cough*. But if you’re able to get hired in a position where your degree makes sense in relation to your job title and responsibilities, that’s worth celebrating. 

2.  Deleting a part-time job from your resume

Maccas, Coles, K-Mart. In addition to helping you pay the bills, these jobs are probably also making an appearance on your resume, to show employers that you have a little of that precious quality: “work experience”.  But there is a limit to how useful these jobs are on a resume, which is why you should make a goal to develop relevant work experience. When you do, enjoy the satisfaction of banishing Macca’s from your resume.

3. Goodbye hourly wage, hello annual salary

You’re looking at a job advertisement or contract and instead of multiplying a number to figure out what you’ll bring home each fortnight, you need to divide it. Congratulations, you’re now on a salary. There are other things to consider besides money, but a salary can offer a little more financial security and, for some of us, signals a degree of career grown-upedness.

4. They need you more than you need them

It’s a good idea to always keep an eye out for job opportunities, even if you’re happy in your current job. In fact, applying for other jobs while you’re already employed is a great way to keep your resume and interview skills up to date and to stay in tune with the labour market. After all, if you don’t get offered the job it’s no great drama, and if you do get an offer, you don’t necessarily have to accept it. You may even be in a position to negotiate, both with your prospective and your current employer.

5. A skilful pivot or sidestep

You’ve been attentive to the trends in your field, plugged into important networks, and found a quality mentor or two. You’ve been able to see challenges or opportunities coming and taken action to position yourself to capitalise, such as learning a new skill or gaining new experience. People around you may not be wise to what you’re doing, but you are: you’re actively managing your career.

Just as it is in some many areas of our lives, goal-setting is essential if you want to make progress in your career. They don’t have to be huge goals, far off in the future. The Careers and Employability team can help you identify and work towards concrete, achievable goals, at all levels and stages of your career. Check out our website for details on how to find us.