3 tips for setting career goals
Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or you’re a seasoned professional, continued growth and development are important aspects of your career journey.
When it comes to determining your career destination, you are in control. Do you know where you’re going? How will you get there? What steps do you need to take? This is where career goal setting comes in – by setting goals, you create a road map for yourself.
Here are 3 tips to consider when setting career goals
1. Be intentional and specific
It seems simple, but the first thing to do is identify what you hope to accomplish. So often when people set goals, they select targets based on what they think they should want or what other people want for them. Set goals that are important to you. If you’re passionate about it, achieving the goal will be much more enjoyable and feel more rewarding in the end.
The more specific you can be when setting your goals, the easier the planning phase will be. What is it you’d like to accomplish? For example, instead of making your goal “find a new job”, look deeper at your wants and ambitions and identify where you want to work, what type of work, etc. A more specific goal would be “find a marketing job at Stryker”.
Ask yourself “why” you want to achieve this goal. Will it make you a stronger candidate for future opportunities? Create a better work/life balance? Knowing what motivates you will help you hold yourself accountable.
Finally, is your goal achievable? While setting a stretch goal can be motivational, make sure to set goals that are attainable. Goals that are achievable build on skills and opportunities you already have – they do not depend on fate or chance. If your goals are realistic, you should be able to create a clear outline to work toward them.
2. Create and share your plan
It doesn’t matter if you’re setting a long-term goal that will take several years to achieve, or if you’re looking to set short-term goals with a quick turnaround time, it is important to map out what steps you are going to take. For long-term aspirations, breaking them down into smaller, short-term goals can help you build momentum to stay motivated while you work toward a bigger objective.
Start by making a list of everything you need to do to accomplish your goal. Once you’ve got your list of tasks, create a timeline and assign due dates to your list to help you stay organized and on schedule. You may find it helpful to look into time management tools to help you stay on track.
Once you have a plan in place, share it. Write it down, tell others about your goals, find an accountability goal partner. As you share your objectives with more people, you will build a network to help encourage you and help you succeed.
3. Check and reflect
Holding yourself accountable may be the most important step in setting career goals. Take the time to reflect on where you are versus where you wanted to be. Did you make your deadline? If so, celebrate the success! If you missed it, consider what you could have done differently. The lessons learned from missed opportunities can help shape your path forward.
Allow yourself the flexibility to know your plan isn’t set in stone but can change over time. Maybe you discovered a new passion, or your priorities have shifted – that is ok!
Setting career goals is an important undertaking that helps give you structure and a path to success.