Many professionals are busy with their respective roles in their workplaces.

If you want to stay on top of your career and be visible to your top management for career advancement, you have to do more than just being busy.

If you want to become a leader in your career, you must have an unwavering belief that you can indeed achieve that goal.

It is evident that those who set a plan in place and work the plan get farther faster than those who don’t.

There are five key strategies for career success:

Set a vision

You need to create your own set of objectives and life goals.

Steven Covey, in his bestselling The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, gives evidence of the importance of visioning success.

He identifies Habit 2 as “Begin with the end in mind”.

He explains that all things are created twice — first in the mental world, and second in the physical world.

Most actions that fail, fail in the first creation.

Here are three simple ways to set a vision:

* Self-coaching questions (What does your ideal work environment look like? What work activities are you enjoying?);

* Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Tangible); and

* Create a Vision Board — a simple yet powerful visualisation tool that activates the universal law of attraction to begin manifesting your dreams into reality.

Personal career branding

Personal career branding is a way of clarifying and communicating what makes you different and special, and using those qualities to guide your career or business decisions.

It is about understanding your unique attributes — your strengths, values and passions — and using them to separate yourself from your competitors or peers.

Here are three simple ways to build your brand:

* Be passionate (Be enthusiastically engaged in what you do);

* Deliver value (Contribute to the bottom-line success of an organisation); and

* Be a blessing (Be a pleasure to work with).

Network effectively

I am sure a lot of people know the importance of networking. But what is its true essence?

It is more than just attending company functions or participating in projects.

Get yourself on the radar screen and make meaningful contributions to people who could be influential to your career.

Three simple ways to get you known in the organisation are:

* Be on your supervisor’s radar screen first;

* Volunteer to present your ideas to the management; and

* Be available — if possible, sit in on important meetings.

Create your own training plan

To stay relevant, you need to pursue your own professional development plan.

Gain the skills and knowledge needed to contribute greater value to your employer.

Author and social philosopher Eric Hoffer said: “In times of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”

Don’t wait around for your employer to tell you what to get trained in.

Look at people who are your role models in your career path.

Three simple ways to create your own training plan:

* Evaluate current skills with present job requirements (Are there any gaps?);

* Search appropriate training catalogues or check online for new courses or skills that will benefit your career plan; and

* Request training on a quarterly basis.

Get supportive people

Always surround yourself with supportive people — coach, mentors, peers and friends — and carefully limit your contact with “energy-draining” people.

Who do you have in your life that has your best interests at heart, with absolutely no ulterior motives?

Here are three simple ways to get supportive people:

* Work with a coach (Many others have a coach, why not you?);

* Find a mentor (Make sure the potential mentor has the right experience and insights); and

* Gather your resources (What kind of support will enable you to make the changes happen?).

Strategic planning is critical. What you want to be a number of years from now will depend on how you execute these five strategies in becoming a leader in your career.