When it comes to your career, it can often feel difficult to see the forest for the trees. You work hard in the day-to-day and one project becomes another. If this is you, you are not alone. But remember, the responsibility to manage your design career is yours and yours alone. The most successful architects and interior designers know how to effectively manage their careers, thinking about the pay, the steps it has, and the background it requires. Here are some tips to improve your career management skills.

Know What You Want

To successfully manage your career, you need to know where you are and where you want to be. This is the first step to understanding what you need to do to reach your career goals. Many architecture professionals are focused on their current job and they aren’t thinking about what comes next. It is important to remember that goals change. The goals you set for yourself when you left college could be completely different after five years of working. Use your work experience to reevaluate your goals and ambitions regularly.

Understand Where You Need to Improve

Education doesn’t stop once you have your degree, and since career goals often change over time, it is important to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis. If you want a promotion, you can’t just assume you have the right skills just because you already work for the company. You need to be continually improving and evolving your skill set. If you want to advance in your architecture career, you need to motivate yourself to be the best that you can be. You have to know what you are good at and what you need to work on. This also means understanding where you are going and what skills are needed in your next step. Work with leaders and mentors in your firm to explore the jobs that could be your next step.

Be Flexible and Realistic

While you need a clearly defined career goal, it is also important to understand that the path to that goal can take many different forms. You might have a clear path in mind, but opportunity can present itself in unexpected ways. You have to be flexible. You also have to be realistic. Career development requires thought and hard work, so you don’t want to establish unrealistic goals and timelines. You don’t want to set yourself up for disappointment.

To be successful in architecture or interior design, you have to take control and be an active participant in your career. You can’t wait around, and hope opportunity comes to you. You have to set a goal, find a path that will allow you to reach that goal, and follow-through. Once you decide on an end goal, it is up to you to make that goal a reality.

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