Proven Tips to Help You Set and Achieve Actionable Career Goals
Career goals are among the most important goals you will have to set if you want to retire early and enjoy your golden years. The sooner you set realistic goals, the faster you will be able to achieve them and overcome possible obstacles along the way. Exploring career goals early provides a sense of satisfaction and makes it easier for you to reevaluate your priorities.
Setting the Right Career Goals
Anyone can write a list of goals on a piece of paper, but setting the right career goals requires more precise thinking. Below are a few tips that can help you to set strategic career goals and actually accomplish them.
Set Goals According to Your Specialization
To set specific and actionable goals, you need to make sure that they are in line with your specialization. If you want to become a software engineer, you should set short and long-term goals that are directly related to your field.
For example, when it comes time to tackle your educational qualifications, consider if you want to spend the time and money on a bachelor’s degree. Sometimes, attending a top coding bootcamp like Flatiron School is enough to get you started.
Make Sure the Goals are Driven by Passion and Survival
Passion is a great tool that can be used to fuel goals and make the most difficult tasks easier to complete. Unfortunately, passion is fickle and based on emotions, so it should not be the only consideration, especially for setting long-term career goals.
Make sure you combine your passion with practicality by ensuring you choose a field you are confident you can succeed in. You can also select an alternative goal if it becomes time to cut your losses and try something different.
It is often a good idea to get a solid education regardless of what your long-term career goals are. According to NCES, employment rates are much higher among young adults with a bachelor’s degree than those without a high school diploma, at 86 percent versus 57 percent.
Set Realistic Timelines for Accomplishing Your Goals
Short-term career goals should be completed within a few months or a year. Long-term career goals can take two to even 20 years to complete. How long each goal takes will depend on the industry, your level of qualification, your advancement speed, and a host of other factors.
To find out what the realistic timeline for a goal is, learn from industry leaders. There are also articles that contain time frames for early, mid, and advanced career development. Do not set an unrealistic timeline because you will feel discouraged and may abandon the goal altogether if you don't accomplish it.
Add a Reward to Each Goal
Rewarding yourself for reaching a goal can serve as amazing motivation to reach that goal and complete future goals within the required timeline. These rewards also make you feel good, fulfilled, and ready to face the next chapter of your career.
The types of rewards you assign to each goal will vary based on your preference and the weight of the goal. For example, a lawyer could go on a nice vacation when they make junior partner and buy a bigger house when they make senior partner. Find a balance that works for you and set your goals accordingly.
Set Many Goals But Focus on One at a Time
You should set multiple short-term career goals in order of priority and based on the timeline for completion. However, it is not a good idea to try and accomplish too many goals at the same time. You will end up overexerting yourself and this will lead to burnout.
If your goals are to advance to a leadership position, improve your qualifications, and start your own business, you should chase them in a logical order. First, you should improve your qualifications, keeping in mind that you intend to switch careers in the future. After that, you can start gunning for leadership positions, and eventually you can explore your own business.
Setting goals is an important part of building a successful career. Once you have a long-term goal in mind, you can set short-term goals to help you progress on the path to success. At the same time, remember that life is unpredictable. When something derails your career goals, you don’t need to be discouraged. Go back to the drawing board and set new, achievable goals for yourself.