Career Success: A Road Map to Career Success

Career Success: A Road Map to Career Success


Most people need to understand the concept behind career success. Career success is usually measured by financial success disregarding one’s professional life.

Many factors, including work-life balance, fulfillment level, financial stability, and professional accomplishments define career success.

In this article, we will explore the definition of career success, its importance, and the steps to take in achieving career success.

What is Career Success?

Before we define career success, it is important to understand the definition of each term, “Career” and “Success”.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Career is the series of professional jobs that a person has in a particular area of work, usually involving more responsibility as time passes. Arther, Hall, and Lawrence (1989) consider the career to be an evolving sequence of a person’s work experience over time.

Let’s look at Success.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Success is the achievement of a goal.

Adding these two terms together, Career success simply means the accomplishment of one’s professional goals.

Take note of the word “goals”. The result of career success must end in the fulfillment of one’s goal and also being happy with your life and career choice.

Career success is ‘the accomplishment of desirable work-related outcomes at any point in a person’s work experiences over time’ (Arthur, Khapova, & Wilderom, 2005, p. 178).

Everyone’s career goals differ from each other. For example, for some individuals, the highest level of career success may be to rank to a CEO position at a well-known company. For another person, it may be to retire at an earlier age.

Determining your goal of career success can help you achieve your career success.

Related: Building Your Dream: A Blueprint for Career Success.

The Importance of Career Success.

There are several reasons why career success is important in one’s professional life. These are;

  1. Personal Fulfillment: Career success brings about a sense of fulfillment and happiness. We experience a great sense of satisfaction when we find a job that aligns with our purpose, goals, and passion. It also helps boost our self-esteem because we feel a sense of accomplishment and pride whenever we make an achievement.
  2. Professional Growth: Achieving career success opens the door to new opportunities to grow, learn new skills, challenge one’s self, and progress professionally. This professional growth includes salary increase, promotion, etc.
  3. Financial Stability: Career success is not only determined by career advancement but also financial stability. While financial stability is not necessarily a compulsory factor, it is also a determinant to measure success. Achieving success in careers enables one to secure a stable income, and support their family and life. It also relieves stress and allows one to pursue growth opportunities, invest, take calculated risks, and pursue other passions.
  4. Work-life balance: Career success brings a balance between life and work. When one is successful in his/her career, they experience flexibility and create a healthy work-life balance which includes devoting time to family and friends, engaging in hobbies, investing in their health by going for regular check-ups, and generally having a sense of time management.
  5. Professional Legacy: Career success ultimately allows one to become an important person in his/her related field. By excelling in one’s career, you gain influence and credibility, become a role model, inspire others, contribute to positive change, and leave a lasting legacy in your chosen professional world.

Before we discuss the strategies for career success, let’s outline the reason most people do not experience success in their careers. These are;

  1. They are scared to fail: Success and failure work together. If you are too scared to fail, you are not ready for success.
  2. They follow the career path introduced by their parents, society, friends, associations with others, and past impressions
  3. They don’t have a defined goal.
  4. They need more purpose and clarity.
  5. They are comfortable with their present situation.

Chris Grosser once said, “Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” You need to set aside everything that pulls you down to achieve career success.

5 Strategies for Career Success.

Achieving career success is not easy. It comes with a lot of challenges and setbacks, but with the right strategies, you can stay focused and work toward your goals. Here are 5 proven strategies that will help you achieve career success;

Set goals.



A journey cannot be made without a plan. Therefore, setting goals is the first step to achieving career success. This serves as a road map to attain professional success.

We will help you with the steps to take when setting goals. These steps can be broken into three parts, which are;

  1. Identify your career goals: The first step towards setting goals is to first identify what these goals are. It involves understanding your strengths and weaknesses, passion, and your aspirations. Your professional goal could be to rise to a leadership position, start your own business, or master a specific skill. Understanding your career goals is like setting the compass to navigate your journey toward success. By understanding what you want to accomplish, you can then work towards it.
  2. Setting SMART goals: When setting goals, make sure they are SMART, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. This approach ensures your career targets are clear and realistic, making it easier to stay on track with your aspirations.
  3. Break down your goals into smaller and manageable steps.
  4. Set deadlines.
  5. Identify resources or support you may need along the way.

By outlining specific actions, milestones, and timelines, you’re setting yourself up for success in reaching your desired career destination.

Gain Skills and Experience.

In the professional world, gaining skills and experience can help you establish a stronghold in the corporate world. These are a few steps to guide you toward gaining skills and experience;

  1. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
  2. Explore industries and roles aligned with your goals.
  3. Seek guidance from professionals in your industry to learn about their experiences.
  4. Determine the specific skills needed in your chosen field.
  5. Acquire skills through courses, workshops, or online platforms.  
  6. Seek practical experience through internships, volunteer work, or projects.
  7. Develop soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and adaptability.
  8. Stay updated on industry trends and technologies.
Build Professional Relationships.

Building professional relationships simply refers to networking. Networking is essential to everyone in the professional world. It allows you to stay up to date on industry trends, creates opportunities and career growth, and develops your career faster.

Networking can be achieved by;

  1. Attending events.
  2. Engage in conversations.
  3. Follow up on the relationship by texting them.
  4. Join professional associations.
  5. Seek mentorship.
  6. Volunteer for professional events.
  7. Attend an industry workshop.
  8. Stay consistent.
Overcome Obstacles.

Obstacles are a natural part of any career journey. Challenges, setbacks, and failures will arise during your pursuit of career success. It is important to learn how to overcome them and turn them into opportunities.

Here are various ways to overcome obstacles in your professional life to achieve your career success;

  1. Understand that setbacks are a part of any career journey.
  2. Develop resilience to bounce back from challenges.
  3. Learn from failures.
  4. Adapt to new strategies.
  5. Connect with experienced professionals in your field.
  6. Seek mentorship: A mentor can provide valuable guidance, share insights, and help you navigate challenges based on your experiences.
  7. Maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout.
Celebrate your Success.

Take a moment to appreciate your success. Celebrate your journey, dedication, resilience, and progress.

  1. Indulge in a small personal reward as a token of appreciation for your efforts. It could be a favorite meal, a spa day, or anything that brings you joy.
  2. Express gratitude to those who supported you along the way. Whether it’s a mentor, colleague, or client, a simple thank-you gesture can go a long way in maintaining positive relationships.
  3. As you achieve goals, reassess your overall career plan.
  4. Consider setting new, ambitious objectives that align with your evolving aspirations. This ensures a continuous cycle of growth and success.

Confucius once said that success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation, there is sure to be a failure. With the application of these strategies, you are on your way to achieving career success.

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