Choosing a career and growing in it is a crucial decision to make as an individual. One of the ways to make this task easy, as it is not an easy one, is to define and set Career/Professional goals and examples for yourself.
This goal-setting process creates a clear picture of what you want, where you want to be, and what you hope to achieve. It helps trigger inspiration, focus on your work life, and also keeps it’s challenging and fun.
What Are Career Goals?
Career goals are targets and heights set to grow and improve your performance in your career and profession. These goals keep you motivated, focused, inspired to learn, and improve.
Benefits of Setting Career Goals
Creates focus and direction
When you set goals, it gives you something to look forward to, and you know exactly what you are working towards.
Hence, you concentrate all your efforts on what is required and don’t have to bother about unnecessary things. It also gives you the opportunity of determining where you want to be and go.
Career goals setting gives you the ability to prioritize on what’s important and make decisions that will contribute to your goals.
Ease of communication
Defining your goals gives you the ability to easily communicate your decisions, choices as well as your purpose, and expectations. It makes it easy to state what you want and the impact it will have.
Makes you accountable
Setting goals makes you accountable; not to anyone, but yourself. You become responsible for your progress and growth as well as your performance. You begin to take responsibility for your actions and choices, and in turn, your success.
Goal setting gives you something to strive and aspire for and in turn, brings joy, determination and motivation. It makes you want to achieve more and do more. On the other hand, it gives a feeling of accomplishment, especially when you reach your goals, and these keep you focused and strong.
Sense of satisfaction
Goal setting is challenging, and at the same time, satisfying. It makes you appreciate your abilities and strengths as well as see your potential. Your goals boost your confidence and make you feel accomplished and proud. It also makes you feel a lot better about yourself.
Effective time management
By setting goals, you know exactly what to do and what you want to achieve. By so doing, you don’t waste your time on unnecessary things that won’t add value to or your career. You begin to get more things done in time and effectively, and also begin to have control over how and what you spend your time doing.
How to Set Career Goals?
When setting career goals, you have to know precisely what you want to achieve in your career. There are also a few steps you need to follow to be sure of what it is you want.
- Determine your interests and strengths: You have to know what you want and what to achieve. Make a list of what you enjoy doing and what you feel are your strengths. This will help in picking a career that suits you as well as know the skills you need to achieve that.
- Outline in detail your long-term and short-term goals as well as the requirements to meet these goals.
- Work with a coach or counsellor: Having discussions and meetings with a counsellor can help you realize personality traits that can be helpful in your choice of a future career. It can also help you reflect.
How to set SMART Career Goals
Set goals that are challenging, clear, purpose-driven, and achievable. This keeps your career fun, exciting, and realistic. The most important thing in setting goals is to ensure your goals are SMART.
SMART is short for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
When setting goals, make them specific. State what it is particular you want to achieve.
For instance, if your goal is “ to be a leader,” It will be helpful. Still, it would be more understandable and clear if it were, “Build my leadership skills by getting more involved in work activities that involve teamwork, planning, and inter-relationship.” This will help you understand what steps you need to take to reach your goal.
This means keeping our goals trackable so you can tell how much progress you have made. Taking the example above, you can track your progress by the number of team activities you’ve been involved in and how many leadership tasks you’ve been given and completed.
When your goals are measurable, and you can track progress, it helps you see how you’ve come and also keeps you motivated.
When setting a goal, be sure to make it a goal that you can achieve. Make sure you have the necessary skills and experience needed to reach your goal.
If you want to be a leader, make sure you know the requirements needed and check if they are what you have. If the requirements need preliminary skills or steps, work on the requirements within the time range.
Your goals should be relevant to your career. Ensure that each goal aligns with the vision or picture you have for your job. Don’t do things because others are doing it, do them because they are essential to you and because achieving them will contribute to the bigger picture.
Your goals should have a time-frame. This gives you a sense of urgency and also helps you stay focused to achieve and accomplish your goal.
This is also applicable in Setting Academic Goals for school.
Career Goals Examples:
- Earn a professional certificate
- Improve networking and communication skills
- Get a promotion
- Get a raise
- Become a mentor
- Become a team player
- Gain a new skill
- Start your own business
- Get a leadership position
- Win a prestigious award
Types of Career Goals
There are two types of Career Goals:
- Long term career goals
- Short term Career Goals
Long term career goals:
Long term career goals are goals that will take a longer time to actualize. It could take two to five years to achieve the goal.
List of long term career goals examples:
- Become a mentor – Becoming so good that other people will look up to you for guidance and direction.
- Start your own business – This is one of the major long term career goals in business. If you are working under your boss, your goal in the future is to become a boss and have other people work along with you.
- Win a prestigious award – This is a goal that requires you to give in your best and get the award in the long run.
Short term career goals:
Short term career goals are goals that will take shorter time to actualize. Short term career goals can take up to a year.
Short term career goals examples:
- Gain a new skill – Gaining a new skill can be a short term career goal that can take up to a year depending on the skill. For instance, if you have a goal to grow your marketing skills, it can be done in a year. Thus it’s one of your Short term career goals.
- Earn a professional certificate – A professional certification can be earned in a year, so you can classify it as a short term goal.
- Get a raise – Getting an increase is something that can occur in the long run, depending on how well you work. The smarter you work, the earlier the raise comes to you.
Setting career goals gives you a clear picture of what you want. When SMART, it can help you succeed and get the most out of your career. Goals make you focused, accountable, and also gives a new twist to your career.
Start setting not just career goals but also life, academic, and self-development goals. They are not easy, but they make living worthwhile.
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