How To Set and Achieve Career Goals

How To Set and Achieve Career Goals

If you want to progress in your career, you need to have a plan. Part of that plan should be achieving certain career goals. Find out more about how you can set and then achieve all of your career goals.

Understanding Career Goals

First, you need to understand what a career goal is. Typically, a career goal is a statement that marks some achievement in your career. It’s a realistic target that helps you make a plan for how you’ll move forward in your career path.

If you have no goals and no plan, you’re likely to struggle to succeed. It could take years longer to get to where you want to be in your career. If you have a plan, you can speed up your progression and make the best decisions for you.

Knowing Your Path

Before you start setting goals, you need to think about what you want from your career. Think about your dream role. Is it in this career or in a different career? Once you answer that, consider the steps you need to take to get there.

Give your ideal job some thought. While you’re evaluating what you want, consider whether it will give you the work-life balance you want, along with the salary and the schedule. Be sure to consider whether or not your path aligns with your desired lifestyle.

Tips for Setting Career Goals

Once you have an idea of your career path, you can start setting goals. Here are a few tips to get you going:

Pick Short-Term Goals at First

When you’re coming up with goals, you probably start off thinking about your long-term goals. But in reality, you should be focusing on your short-term goals. It would help if you thought about what you want to achieve within the next three to five years.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider your educational goals. What courses would make you better at your job or more suitable for a promotion? If there are any certifications that can help you succeed, add those to your list of goals as well.

Then, consider the experience you need for a promotion. Are there any projects you could volunteer for that would give you more experience? It could even be something outside of your work, like volunteering with a local organization. All of your short-term goals should help you achieve the next step or two of your career plan.

Set Long-Term Goals

Only after you focus on your short-term goals should you start thinking about your long-term ones. This step requires you to think about the future. Where do you want to be in 10 years or even 15 years? With these goals, you can create a realistic pathway to your future.

Coming up with long-term goals is no easy task. For some assistance, you can reach out to a recruiter or a mentor. If you don’t have a mentor, reach out to someone in your desired field on LinkedIn. Most of your long-term goals will focus on the following:

Technical skills

Soft skills

Behaviors you lack

Experience you need

Professional or personal development

Be SMARTER with Your Goals

One way to create your goals is to use an acronym. SMARTER refers to being Specific and clear with all of your goals. Next, you should make goals Measurable. In most cases, you can quantify your goals. All of your plans should also be Achievable and realistic, otherwise, it’s easy to get discouraged and off your path.

The “T” stands for Timely. Every goal or step should have a timeframe. Furthermore, your goals should be Empowering. The reason for having goals is to make you feel confident and successful. Finally, all of your goals should be Reviewable. You never know when your path will change, so be flexible with your goals.

Have Flexibility

It’s easy to get caught up with a plan. However, your goals should be fluid. If you receive a promotion offer before you complete a step in your plan, don’t turn it down simply because it’s not in your plan. Instead, evaluate the situation.

It’s also worth noting that people change. Over time, you might realize that your career goal is something you no longer want. Whether you find out you don’t like an industry or you have a change in your personal life, it’s OK to adjust your path and your goals.

Write Down Your Goals

It’s not enough to just have goals in your head. To make them real, write down your goals. If you prefer writing things by hand, have a career plan notebook with all of your goals. Or, if you’re more of a digital person, create a document on your computer and save it. There are even apps that allow you to set goals and create timelines for certain events.

In addition to writing down your goals, you should also track your progress. Crossing items off a list is extremely satisfying. Every time you accomplish a goal, mark it off your list and reward yourself. It doesn’t need to be a major reward and could be something as simple as going out to eat or buying something you love.

Don’t Feel Pressure

If you’re new to an industry, don’t feel any pressure to plan out your entire career. If you don’t know where you want to be in ten years, only focus on the present and short-term future. You could come up with a goal to have a career plan in three years or a goal to decide whether or not your career is right for you by a certain date.

The idea of goals isn’t to create more stress. By goal-setting, you can actually reduce stress. So, if the process seems to be causing you frustration, step back for a few days. Think about why it’s so hard for you to set goals. If that reason is uncertainty about your career, then it may be a good time to evaluate other options.

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