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How to Set Career Goals

Short-term vs. Long-term Career Goals

As shown in the illustration above, there are short-term and long-term goals. The teenager’s primary objective is to become the manager of a company. In order to get there, he needs to achieve his short-term goals, which include passing his high school and college exams, gaining experience by working for a related company, and boosting his experience and skills through further studies.

Short-term goals are those that can be achieved within six months to three years. It may take three to five years or more to achieve long-term goals.

How to Set Career Goals

Defining career goals is just half the battle. An individual must set his mind on accomplishing the goals he sets. However, if one doesn’t develop or map out his goals properly, it will be harder to achieve them. When setting career goals, an individual should ensure that they meet the following criteria:

1. Specific

When setting goals, an individual shouldn’t just focus on being successful. Instead, he should define what success means to him. Ultimate success for one person may just be a milestone to achieving bigger goals for a different person. For one individual, success may be becoming the chief executive officer for a company. For another, success can be attaining financial freedom.

2. Measurable

As one sets his career goals, he should ensure that he also comes up with a way to measure their outcome. This can be done by setting a timeframe, such as “complete MBA degree within three years”. Once the individual is able to attain the short-term goals within the timeframe he sets, then he’s on the right path to achieving his ultimate goal.

3. Avoid negativity

A goal must be something that an individual wants rather than a factor he wants to avoid. So, instead of focusing on leaving a particular job or position within the next five years, the employee should aim at where he wants to be and think about what they can do to move toward getting there.