Individuals who have the most career success are typically those who take full ownership and control of the direction their career is heading. They do not sit around and wait for the next opportunity to arise or for someone to tell them what they need to do. Instead, they grab hold of their own ideas and passions and build their most successful career. So, what exactly do they do?

First, they make a plan. They decide where they want to go and then make a plan to get there. For some people, this is a long-term plan (5+ years) and for others it is much shorter (12 months). The point is that they have a plan and an end state in mind. They know where they want to go and document the steps that must be achieved to reach that end state. They are also flexible with these plans because they know that things change in life and career plans must be altered accordingly. Having a plan is your blueprint for career success.

Another thing that these individuals do is get themselves a mentor. They seek out someone who has more experience than they do and who has taken a similar path as they are taking. This is a person who can guide them and help them get the necessary exposure and experiences that are required to be successful. A mentor is also someone who can give honest feedback and who you can trust. Find yourself a trusted mentor who can help guide you along your career path to success.

Taking control of your career also means building strong relationships with key stakeholders and having a solid network of referrals. The key stakeholders are those people who have a say in where you go next with your career. They can be people internal to the company where you work or your external contacts. The point is that you must have solid relationships with these individuals, as they are the people who will vouch for you and provide you with necessary referrals and recommendations. The more solid your network is and the better your relationships are with your key stakeholders, the more options you will have as you travel along your career path.

As you build these relationships and put your plan together, you must also have a firm understanding of the skills and experience required to reach your career objective. This is something your mentor and key stakeholders can help you comprehend. If you do not know what skills and experiences you need to reach your goal, ask these people for input. Then determine what training, exposure or other assignments you may need to get the required development. Look for the experiences you need to develop and take the necessary steps to get those experiences. Remember, you are doing what is essential to be in full control of your career growth.

Finally, you want to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd. Having full control of your career success means you get ahead at the rate which you want to, and are prepared for, and you have many opportunities to advance. To do this, you must perform beyond expectations, take the difficult and sometimes unwanted assignments and even take the occasional assignment that is outside your comfort zone. By demonstrating your ability to be successful outside of your comfort zone, shining in difficult roles and consistently performing beyond expectations, you will stand out from others. You will be the one your company leaders and customers look to for expertise and be in full control of the direction of your career.

Author's Bio: 

Andria Corso is an award winning career and leadership development coach and Strategic HR consultant with areas of expertise in career and leadership development, talent and succession management, and executive coaching. She is currently the owner of C3-Corso Coaching & Consulting, (http://www.andriacorso.com) an Executive Coaching & HR Consulting firm that specializes in working with clients to reach their highest potential. Andria has over 15 years of HR leadership experience insider Fortune 100 companies, including 11 years inside Lockheed Martin Corporation. Andria specifically works with clients on career transitions, career advancement & career development so they can reach their highest potential. She is the author of From Gatekeeper to Trusted Advisor: Success Strategies for Today's HR Professional which was published in 2010.