Career Development

Complete Guide to Career Goals

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Setting career goals allows people to visualize their professional success and often serves as a method of motivation to propel them forward. Additionally, taking the time to set career goals can also allow you to assess your present skills and find out what you need to learn to become more successful in your chosen sector. In this article,  you can learn more about how to choose your own career goals along with some tips for achieving career goals.

What are career goals?

Career goals are statements or targets that clearly express the sector you plan to work in, the ultimate level you plan to reach within your chosen role, skill set or milestone you want to achieve in your lifetime. Career goals can be short and/or long-term as some career goals may be immediately reachable, while others may take education and experience to achieve. Career goals are important for virtually everyone in the workforce, as they help to keep you focused while also driving you to aim higher in all aspects of your life. 

How to choose career goals

Here are some steps you can follow to set your own career goals:

1. First, list your skills

One of the most important steps to choosing your career goals involves considering what your core skills are. In general, this is one of the best ways to get an idea of which realms you can be successful in moving forward. For instance, if you are great at math, you may want to go into business or accounting. If you prefer working with your hands, you may want to go into construction or the automotive field. 

Either way, taking the time to list out your skills is a great way to set a foundation for your career goals. Additionally, while some skills can be acquired along the way, it makes sense to choose a career path that includes the list of at least some of your natural talents. 

2. Then, make note of your financial aspirations

While financial goals are not necessarily the most important part of setting your career goals, they can play a major factor. For instance, if you want to very financially stable, you will want to aim for career paths that will lead to financial freedom. 

However, if you are fine with a more humble life, you can go for fields that you are more passionate about and may find fulfilling on a personal level. Neither answer is right or wrong. However, you must be honest with yourself because although finding a job that is both financially and personally fulfilling is plausible, it is not always the most feasible option. 

3. Next, brainstorm career options

Once you have taken inventory of your talents and financial skills, you will then want to brainstorm careers that can include both your professional and financial goals. For example, if you are great at debating and want to be financially well-off, your career goals may involve something in the legal field. 

If you have an interest in the arts and are more flexible with your financial goals, you may want to pursue a career in acting or performing. If you are already working in your chosen field, you may set a goal to get a promotion or to become more productive. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are choosing a path that you should be able to stick with. 

4. Finally, research and finalize

Once you have brainstormed your potential career options, you need to take the time to research each potential career path, find out the type of training and education your chosen field entails and finalize your decision. It is imperative to be realistic during this step. 

For instance, if you are not interested in pursuing secondary or postsecondary education, you may want to steer clear of the legal field. Either way, it is important to understand all the steps you need to take to achieve your career goals in order to begin moving forward. 

Examples of career goals

If you are still struggling to make a list of your career goals, here are some examples that may help spark your creativity:

Increase monthly sales target

If you are working in a career that is sales-driven, one of your goals may be to make more sales for professional advancement.

Earn a degree

A common career goal is to earn your first or a higher degree in order to advance in your chosen field. 

Create a website 

If you are creative or prefer to work for yourself, one goal can be to create a website to make you appear more professional, to showcase your portfolio of work and to boost sales or gain new clients. 

Improve communication skills

Having great communication skills is imperative for working in certain sectors. For instance, if you are interested in working in real estate, improving your communication skills can benefit you greatly. 

Become a manager

No matter what sector you work in, working in management typically provides you with more freedom, benefits and job security. 

Tips for achieving career goals

Here are some tips you can consider when working to achieve your career goals:

Be determined

Establishing yourself in any field can be a challenging task. It is important that you move forward with determination and believing that your goals are within reach. 

Write them down

Although it may seem old-fashioned, writing down your goals with a pen a paper is one of the best methods for achieving your goals. This helps to not only solidify your intentions but it also makes it possible for you to see them as a visual reminder and motivator when you are feeling discouraged. 

Ask for help

While it feels great to achieve goals on your own, this is not always necessary. If you know someone who works in the field or position you hope to earn, you should reach out to them to ask for help and tips. 

Make a timeline

In addition to jotting down your goals, you should also create a timeline for achieving your goals. Your timeline should be realistic but also as aggressive as possible to prevent you from getting frustrated or remaining stagnant for too long.