Setting Career Goals

Successful people are goal oriented. Career goals are milestones or objectives set to help you evaluate your professional progress. They are effective for people looking for a job and those pursuing advancement. Why? You have to know where you plan to go in order to get there. Career goals serve as a working outline to keep you on your personal path to success.

There are basic goals to concentrate on when setting your plan. The first is increasing your skill set. To stay competitive, you have to continually enhance your knowledge. Another overall goal is monetary gain. Being underpaid can make you bitter and decrease performance. Of course, money is always a deciding factor, but let’s not forget an even more important consideration. You should feel happy about what you do eight hours a day. Then, next to satisfaction, there is the search for stability. Once you are ably to attain a stable position it is easier to concentrate on personal development.

Break these basic career goals into bite sized pieces to set specific goals. Write down concrete ambitions and refer back to them. Here are some examples of specific goals:

  • Switch companies
  • Earn a promotion
  • Create personal standards at work like never skipping lunch.
  • Learn to communicate more clearly
  • Feel more upbeat at work.
  • Develop positive work friendships.
  • Join management ranks.
  • Acquire a new skill.
  • Pursue a certain award
  • Better organize daily goals.
  • Clean and organize your desk.
  • Become an entrepreneur.
  • Select a mentor or become one yourself.
  • Make yourself known as an expert in your field.
  • Start under promising and over delivering.
  • Make a personal connection with clients.
  • Be more creative.
  • Gain more referrals
  • Avoid procrastination to reduce stress.
  • Become a collaborator instead of an instigator with coworkers.
  • Update your filing system
  • Don’t overwork yourself
  • Work around people I like.
  • Read a self-improvement book.
  • Request a raise for x amount per year
  • Apply for a career development grant.
  • Update your cover letter and resume.
  • Send out x resumes.
  • Shadow someone in a job you want to learn more about.
  • Request additional responsibility.
  • Sit for an aptitude test.

There are just a few examples. Depending on your situation, choose short and long term tasks that will help you fulfill your career goals. Don’t write the list and then file it away. It will not do you any good in the bottom of a drawer.

You must work towards the steps and evaluate your progress at least yearly. When you hit a goal check it off your list. Crossing something off the list gives a great sense of accomplishment and momentum toward future goals. The list is also very helpful before a performance review. It will give you a record of your achievements for the year. Use this information to negotiate a better position or a higher salary. When looking for a job, keep your list handy to keep your career goals in mind.