7 Tips for Setting Career Goals & 9 Examples
As the seasons change, you may dream of a better version of yourself — resolve to make a few changes — and spend some time thinking about your long-term career goals. Why shouldn’t you? You’ve invested a lot to get where you are. But have you really considered the impact that setting career goals can have on accomplishing your professional objectives?
Putting your dreams into action is all about dedication to the cause and a determination to get it done. Like other goals, it will help to write down your career development goals and assign each one a due date. That way, you’ll be able to chart your progress along the way and celebrate when you hit that target.
If you’ve been dreaming of a brighter tomorrow for yourself and your family, but find yourself wondering, “what career goals examples work best for me?” we’ve got some professional goal setting tips for you to consider. But first, let's explore a few real-world examples that can help turn your dreams into reality.
9 Career Goals Examples
One of the best ways to advance confidently in the direction of your dreams is by mastering new skills and learning about how to develop career goals. Take a look at these career goal examples — to help you build a path to success:
1. Boost your professional skillset
With the right training and certifications, you may find your new skills open the door to that promotion you’ve been hoping for.
2. Take on leadership roles
By requesting opportunities to drive or manage a given project, you might just get the attention of your company’s directors or hiring managers. Most higher-level jobs require some form of project management — and by volunteering to lead you’ll gain valuable experience you can reference when the time come to interview for a better job.
3. Finally get that degree
Returning to school may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’ve been away from academia for a few years, it can be daunting. Don’t let that stop you. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement for a reason: they defer to hiring from within because managers are already familiar with what you have to offer. And better still, they know your potential.
4. Aim for higher paying positions
Look carefully at your talents and experience, and search online for qualifying positions. You may find that you can command a higher wage for the work you’re already doing.
5. Improve where you work
Employers will be more likely to hire from within when a candidate has a proven track record of creating efficiencies and driving changes that save money. Dig into how work’s getting done and see if you can get that same job done quicker or more efficiently. When you succeed, be sure to document the change and get word out to your manager!
6. Nurture relationships with coworkers
A great way to make your presence known at work is to become more present and mindful when communicating with colleagues. Seek out books on emotional development and team building in the workplace. You may find people start to seek out your advice — building that kind of deep trust can help foster relationships with influencers at work.
7. Join professional associations
A relatively easy-to-accomplish, short-term career goal is to become a member of a professional guild or group that specializes in the career path you’ve chosen. You’ll have a chance to network with others in your selected field and that can lead to real opportunities.
8. Volunteer in your community
Explore the volunteer opportunities in your area and go with one that you love. If you’re currently in accounting, leverage those skills and volunteer at a charity by helping with their books once in a while.
If it works out, you may be able to write off the time you volunteer as an in-kind donation. The non-cash gift of your hours and expertise can translate into a deduction on your taxes, if you’re volunteering at a non-profit group. Be sure to work with your accountant to get your taxes prepared correctly.
9. Start your own business
If you’ve mastered what it takes to run a business for someone else, why not take that dream and turn it into your own? Entrepreneurs have to start somewhere. Launching a business where the learning curve is cut short can help you leverage best practices you’ve developed elsewhere. You’ll hit the ground running!
7 Career Goal Setting Tips
There’s so much you can do to increase the odds of reaching your career goals. From accurately tracking your progress to remaining realistic about setting up career goals you can accomplish, you’ll find the following seven career goal setting tips useful as you pursue your dreams:
1. Stay flexible
Life has a way of surprising us. By remaining adaptable to changing circumstances, you’ll be better tooled if a career goal you’ve set for yourself doesn’t work out. It doesn’t mean you should give up; it only means you may need to try a different path.
2. Be specific
One important piece of advice is to write down your professional goals precisely. After naming the job you want, build a roadmap to that objective. You’ll benefit from a more detailed version of your plan that describes the steps you’ll need to take in order to get from where you are now to where you want to be. That dream will be easier to realize, and you’ll have a better idea of how to get the job done.
3. Focus on positivity
If you find yourself stuck in a rut, it’s really important to give your dreams room to breathe. Remember, this is a process. You may need to take a step back and reassess. Most importantly, remind yourself that you’re going to do great things and then tackle the next short-term goal with that new-found momentum.
4. Remain a realist
Although you may want to run your own software company someday, it’s going to take a while to get there. It’s a real skill to know how to set career goals that are within reason — it may take some practice. After doing so, you’ll find you’re more relaxed with greater peace of mind, knowing you’ve not set the bar too high.
5. Chart your progress toward your goals
Have a process in place where short term career goals can act as benchmarks towards your long-term ambitions. Career goal setting tips like using a reminder app and placing post-it notes around the house help to keep your objectives front and center.
6. Stick to a calendar
In order for your career goals to remain attainable, it’s key to reach your goal by a given date. That way, you can’t procrastinate. Again, it’s those interim goals that can help you scale out a reasonable time frame so you land on time, ready for your next big adventure.
7. Couple each objective with an action
This will be helpful with both your short and longer-term goals because you’ll know what to do to help you get closer towards your dreams.
The Importance of Career Goals
Setting career goals will help create a framework for career growth. One way to know how to plan career goals that will work for you is to be as specific as possible from the beginning. And in addition to remaining motivated, it’s smart to work on increasing your focus over time. With that increased laser-like attention on your career objectives, you’ll find new capacity to take on more and dream bigger than ever before.
Start Working Toward Your Career Goals Today
Once you’ve started down the path to realizing your dreams, you may find yourself wondering why you waited so long. And after you set your mind to accomplishing your goals by taking those key first small steps, you’ll feel great knowing you’re on the path to success. Bringing your dreams to reality can open up rewarding opportunities for you, both personally and financially.
Looking for more tips and motivation? Join the dream movement today — we’ve got all the resources you need to help support and guide your path along any dream pursuit.