Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to advance in your career? Or maybe change your career path entirely and find a new job?
Whichever it is, the first step to achieving this is to set career goals. But since we know how most New Year’s resolutions end (we abandon them within the first month of the new year), it is crucial to set achievable career goals.
We will teach you how.
Why Setting Career Goals is Important?
Setting for your career gives you a direction, a destination to go for. Having a clear vision for the future helps you focus and strive to improve your skills in order to get to where you want to be.
Let’s say you’re looking for a job. Most of us tend to become desperate when unemployed and so we start applying to every job ad we see. However, this is the wrong approach because we are wasting time applying to jobs we don’t even want. And chances are that because we apply to so many jobs, we don’t commit to these applications and actually harm our chances of being hired.
That is why setting career goals is of utmost importance.
But setting achievable career goals is even more important because if you start with unrealistic goals, you will only get disappointed. For example, you can’t become a highly-paid basketball player this time next year if you’ve never played basketball in your life. Unrealistic goals are a waste of your time.
Your Skills Are Crucial
Speaking of unrealistic goals, it’s easy to know if you’re setting one or not. For example, if you want to get a job in finance but you don’t have any finance-related experience, then you’re probably off to a wrong start.
It’s best to stick to your skills and work to further improve them.
However, if you’re fed up with your occupation, then a career change might be best for you. Start thinking about what is it that you would like to do. Once you figure that out, you might have to invest a lot of time and effort into acquiring these skills and learning all about this new field.
If you want to change your career path but you’re not sure about what you would like to do, talking to a career coach is a good idea. A professional will help you discover what’s the best path for you.
Be Specific When Setting Goals
The first step towards setting achievable career goals is to think about what you would like to do/where you’d like to be in a year, two, five, etc. But you should be as specific as possible.
Saying that you want to succeed in your career in 2020 isn’t very specific. Instead, focus on setting specific goals such as getting a promotion or finding a new job in a certain field.
Saying that you want to be successful next year is not unrealistic but it depends on what success means to you. So what exactly do you want to achieve in 5 years, for example?
Define what success means to you.
Say “I want to write and publish a novel” instead of “I want to be a great writer”.
Or “I want to start a home-based internet business” instead of “I want to become a successful entrepreneur”.
Find a Way to Measure Your Goals
How will you know whether you’ve advanced towards achieving your career goals? Your goals need to be measurable.
What does that mean?
That means you need to come up with some criteria that will help you measure your success. For example, if you’ve started your home-based business but haven’t made any money, did you achieve your goal? What about your novel? Did you define the minimum number of words you will write daily?
Defining these criteria will help you track your progress. It’s like setting smaller goals to achieve your big goal. For example, you can plan on writing at least one page every day. In this way, you will easily be able to tell whether you’re moving forward or not.
The important thing is to stay focused on your goal consistently even though you might get bored or tired at some point.
Your Goals Shouldn’t be Too Easy Either
Yes, we said that your goals must be achievable but they do have to require certain effort on your part. They should challenge you and inspire you to move forward and get out of your comfort zone.
A certain level of positive fear and uncertainty will push you to grow. Because in truth, you will inevitably grow and learn as you face challenges and obstacles on your path to success.
But once again, be mindful when setting goals. They should be ambitious but not too ambitious (remember the basketball player example?) and they should be attainable with a decent amount of effort.