Are Your Career Goals Vision-driven?

Are Your Career Goals Vision-driven?

As you close the books on 2015 and look forward to the new chapters to write, you should be taking time to consider whether your goals for 2016 are aligned with your career vision. Yes, next year will be about the work you do for your company as it should. But along the journey, are you enhancing your career? Let’s look at four ways to be sure your goals align with your long-term career vision.

Increased Opportunity

As you survey the career possibilities within your current company be sure the next step you take will increase your options for growth whether you continue with your company for the long-term or choose to exit within the next few years. Look at promotions or lateral moves within your company as the new jobs they are, and be sure you are gaining the following in addition to increased salary and benefits:

  • Leadership Opportunity. Will the next position increase your leadership capacity whether it is number of people to manage, business volume, or increased difficulty in the scope of work?
  • Executive Preparation. Will your next post make you more attractive for a promotion within the next two years? Are you gaining a well-rounded comprehension of the departments or divisions in your company?
  • Increased Collaboration. Will this assignment open doors for you to meet and work with more people in the company, especially superiors and peers? The more you work with professionals outside your department, the better leader you become.

New Personal Bests

Athletes measure their achievements by “personal best” because to win they need to be faster, better, or stronger than yesterday. While a company performance review matters internally, hospitality professionals must also measure performance by external indicators that can be seen by the whole world. The first place employers go is to the internet to investigate your current and former employers.

When contemplating an internal or external career move, ask yourself if this next chapter bring more of the same, or will you have the capacity to achieve new personal bests that will bolster your career? A few areas to contemplate include:

  • Can you achieve higher critical success – AAA stars, Guide Michelin status, or print accolades? Will you have the staff to do so? Are the executives or owners committed to the same goal? Is the staff teachable and trainable?
  • Can you increase overall professionalism? With rating websites only increasing in popularity, your reputation can be tarnished because other managers are neglectful. Poor kitchen expediting (long waits) can hurt the Manager and an under-performing utility staff (dirty bathrooms) can hurt the Chef. Will you have influence in all areas of the operation?
  • Can you attain higher levels of efficiency and profitability? Do you have authority to engineer menus and negotiate pricing to drive profits while improving quality?
  • Does your work environment (culture) provide you with mentorship? Are your superiors more like coaches who lead you to maximize your potential or over-demanding managers who criticize, condemn and complain?
  • Can you drive volume according to your concept? Are you able to work with your peers in marketing, sales, and promotions to increase traffic, cover counts, or occupancy?
  • Can you train and cross-train? Does the employer believe in spending quality time and money to properly onboard and train staff?
  • If you are in sales, does the employer provide you with the resources and tools you need to succeed? Are goals aggressive but attainable?

Ultimate Career Goal

Before drastically changing lanes, be careful not to abandon your long-term career goal for a short-term longshot. While the perfect steadily-progressive career is not for everyone, be careful that yours doesn’t zig-zag too much.

Millennials have brought sweeping changes to the way we look at work, and most of the workforce now sees a career drastically different than Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers. There seems to be more opportunism in the air. However you see your career unfolding, you should still have an ultimate career goal to guide your shorter-term goals.

More early-career professionals are making decisions to change career direction for ownership potential or to jump on a new trend. That can help or hurt your long-term goal. For instance, if you are a professional chef working in a scratch full-service restaurant and you jump to a fast-casual concept, be sure it is a chef-driven scratch concept. If it takes off, you capitalized on the trend. If it doesn’t, you will still have worked in a scratch kitchen and your career recover will not be as challenging as someone who made the jump to a concept with little or no scratch cooking.

If you went to culinary school with the vision to always cook from scratch, or you studied hospitality to provide exquisite service, do not allow your career changes to knock you off your vision.

Be a Subject Matter Expert

Employers are looking for passion. Saying “I’m passionate” and having the ability to hold a conversation about a subject is one thing. Spending your time and money to attain certification is quite another. It means you have taken the time to become an expert in your field. That is rare and special.

After 15 years in the recruiter’s chair I can say without a doubt that the overwhelming majority of successful executives have bona fide subject matter expertise backed up by credentials. Once earned and retained through the years, those credentials make you special. They set you apart and open doors.

Make 2016 the year you take a step toward establishing yourself as a subject matter expert in a field that will contribute to your long-term career strategy.

At SHS we encourage our candidates to build careers, not just to hold a series of jobs. We know that every individual has special gifts and talents to contribute to their employer and to the world. Our hope is that you identify those strengths and tap them to propel your career. May 2016 be a breakthrough year for you!

SHS practices THE CRAFT OF CURATING TALENT.  SHS’s mission is to transform excellence-driven companies that deliver a high degree of service in food and beverage verticals such as restaurants, hotels, manufacturers, and distributors.  The Illinois-based agency provides expert talent-acquisition for businesses nationwide.  They empower leaders to achieve higher levels of success by solving cultural challenges such as recruiting exceptional talent; defining organizational purpose; improving employee retention, engagement, and performance; implementing impactful communication practices; and much more.  SHS artfully helps you develop a more aligned work environment, resulting in increased profitability and amplified innovation.  To find out more, visit

Joseph D’Alessandro

About Joseph D’Alessandro

Joseph spent 15 years in leadership positions in hospitality operations before becoming a full-time executive recruiter in 2000. Joseph founded SHS in 2002 and has grown the business from a one-person outfit to a full team of dedicated experts.