How to Set Career Goals and Why
What do you want to achieve in your professional life?
Life has just one certain truth: death is unavoidable. Setting goals is the most effective strategy to guarantee that you achieve your objectives, no matter how large or little they may be.
Planning a wedding, purchasing a home, selecting furnishings, and taking a trip are just a few of the chances that life affords for making objectives.
While you’re looking for work, one of the finest times to create realistic and defined objectives is when you’re still in school. The act of writing down or typing down each step that has to be done allows you to plan ahead of time and make more informed decisions.
Although the notion of finding a new job is a straightforward one, the actual procedure may be time-consuming, intimidating, and stressful. Having a plan may make things a lot less stressful.
Begin by responding to the following question: “What are your professional aspirations?”
What exactly is a goal?
Simply said, a goal is something you want to see happen in your life in the future. It might be either a desire or a need. It might be large or modest in size (i.e., long-term or short-term).
The choice regarding the sort of job you wish to follow throughout your career is the most common career objective. You can consider becoming a pharmacist, doctor, fund-raising expert or project manager. You might also consider working in sales or another field. If you’re not sure what you want to do with your life, try these activities to help you figure it out.
Just stating that you want to be a Marine Biologist when you grow up isn’t sufficient. It is necessary to understand how to get there. Knowing your long-term professional objectives can help you to define your short-term professional objectives.
Create a SMART goal for yourself.
You must create objectives in a very particular manner in order to increase the likelihood of achieving them. Here’s an acronym that could be of assistance: SMART.
If you make goals utilizing the SMART technique, you’ll be able to clearly see what you need to accomplish in order to reach your objectives.
If you decide to pursue a career in sales, the following is an example of a SMART objective:
Within one year, you will be working as an entry-level sales representative for a Fortune 500 firm.
You are looking to join a Fortune 500 firm, to be more specific.
Measurable – You can determine if you have achieved your aim by obtaining a job or not.
Attainable – You recognize that you will not be able to leap into any sort of management role, so you set a goal for yourself to join the organization from the very beginning.
It is relevant in that it is consistent with your job goals.
Timely – You aim to complete the task within one year.
There are many distinct sorts of objectives.
It is vital to learn how to set long-term and short-term professional objectives in order to develop a strategic action plan that will be successful. Example of a long-term aim is the desire to work for a Fortune 500 firm within one year after graduating.
How to set short- and long-term objectives for your professional life
Your objectives must take into consideration where you are now, where you want to be, and what you must do in order to move from Point A to Point B. If you want to achieve your objectives, you must first understand where you are. As an illustration, consider the difference between being jobless and being gainfully employed. To do this, you must first establish a long-term goal and then identify all of the short-term objectives that must be met in order to attain the long-term objective.
Once you have determined your final objective, you may do research on what it takes to be considered a top candidate. Recruiting managers look for a mix of education, practical experience, and cultural fit when making hiring decisions. Following that, it’s only a question of creating and achieving SMART objectives.
Long-term objectives are often difficult to fulfill in a short period of time — one year, five years, ten years, or more. Items on this list include things like want to begin working immediately after graduation from college or traveling to London for a vacation the following summer. Whatever your long-term objectives are, they will need a significant investment of time and careful preparation.
Achieving long-term objectives often necessitates the establishment of many short-term objectives.
A well defined set of short-term objectives is analogous to a how-to guidebook. If you decide to work as an entry sales representative for a Fortune 500 firm within one year, you will need to earn the appropriate schooling as well as some relevant work experience. Depending on the organization to which you are applying, you may even be required to have certificates or licenses.
Here is a list of short-term objectives that can assist you in achieving your long-term objective:
Research and identify the credentials that will be required for a forthcoming sales representative job hunt.
Enroll in the courses that will provide you with the knowledge you need to pass any licensure tests.
Within two months, you must pass a licensing test for an insurance license.
After completing the licensing test, you must submit an application to the state board of licensing in order to get the distinction of being licensed to sell.
See how the short-term objectives fit together to serve as a how-to guide for accomplishing your long-term goal by comparing them. Despite the fact that there are now four objectives stated, you are just at the beginning of your journey toward achieving the long-term goal.
Your objectives in relation to your job hunt
It is beneficial to have broad — and even aggressive — personal and professional career objectives, provided that you are disciplined in putting up an action plan and following through on it once you have established them. Once you have determined your short-term objectives, you can begin to adapt your job-search efforts in order to acquire the most suitable position. The ability to be extremely specific about what you want makes it simpler for you to identify the appropriate postings and for your network to assist you.
Essentials for conducting a successful job search
Absolutely, establishing appropriate short- and long-term objectives is critical to getting your job hunt off to a successful start. It’s hard to know what to look for until you first identify what you’re looking for. Once you begin your job hunt, you’ll need to show your ability to attain your objectives via your resume in order to be considered for the position.
Delete the term “I am responsible for…” from your resume writing lexicon, as a general rule.
Hiring managers are looking for resumes that include accomplishments. Consider the following scenario: your previous employment required you to bring in 50 new customers each month. Many job applicants will include something along the lines of the following on their resume:
“I am in charge of bringing in 50 new customers every month.”
Fantastic! But, did you truly go through with it?
According to technical definitions, bringing in 50 new customers per month is a long-term objective. It was necessary for you to do something every day in order to achieve this. It’s possible that you divided the work into smaller pieces. Setting a short-term target of calling 75 prospects everyday and closing two sales would put you one step closer to achieving your long-term goal of acquiring 50 customers by the end of the month.
Make use of the STAR approach while writing your resume to describe your short- and long-term goal successes.
Bring in 50 new customers before the end of the month in this scenario.
Action/Task: I made 75 phone calls every day to prospects in order to complete two deals.
As a result, 52 additional customers were onboarded.
You’ve successfully transformed the phrase “Responsible for…” into an action. Here’s an example of what it may look like:
At networking with 75 prospects per day, I was able to onboard 50+ new customers by the end of each month, well exceeding my client quota.
Your professional objectives should be clearly stated in your CV as well. Make certain they are by doing a free resume review.
Career objectives as opposed to an out-of-date CV objective
It is important to note that you should begin displaying attainment of career objectives from the very beginning of your resume, rather than only inside the description of your previous professional experience. The benefit of writing a professional overview paragraph is that you may include information on career objectives that you haven’t yet achieved that are relevant to your job hunt as well.
We are all well aware that the usage of a resume goal has gone the way of the Dodo bird. When you write a career summary paragraph, you’re providing facts about your professional background that will help a hiring manager determine whether or not you’d be a suitable match for the job or firm in question.
Personal aspirations vs professional career aspirations
Interaction between professional and personal aspirations is possible and encouraged. Workplaces that are more flexible and even allow for remote work are becoming more popular. People who work in occupations that they like are more productive, it is a proven truth. Whenever you create your professional objectives, be sure to include the kind of jobs that you would find personally rewarding.
How to respond to the question “What are your professional objectives?” in a job interview
The first step in answering the question “What are your professional objectives?” in an interview is, of course, to have goals in the first place. Following that, you must learn how to properly explain your qualifications to a hiring manager during an interview.
To begin, ensure that you have a clear and brief explanation of your professional objectives. External readers (hiring managers, persons from outside your current job) must be able to connect to and comprehend the content of this description. Always remember to express your career objectives in a manner that is relevant to the organization for which you are applying – the hiring manager is looking to see whether you see yourself in the position and if you can picture yourself working there in the near future.
Next, be prepared to provide specifics on how you want to achieve (or at the very least progress toward) your professional objectives. Many hiring managers are trained to probe deeper during interviews, and this may be a follow-up question to assist the hiring manager discover more about you and your vision for yourself after you have stated your career aspirations.
To conclude, be prepared to show your capacity to be flexible and adaptable by describing how you are willing to change your short-term goals in order to attain your long-term objectives, if this is required. Another reason why it’s critical to have clearly stated short-term objectives is to avoid confusion. It is far simpler to change a single step on a route than it is to construct a new one.
One more question: with whom and when do you discuss your objectives?
When you share your aspirations with someone, there is a psychological disconnect that occurs. Talking about what you want to accomplish and receiving positive feedback (i.e., affirmation) from individuals around you might cause your brain to malfunction. The pleasure you get from receiving favorable feedback on your objective makes you less motivated to put up the effort necessary to achieve it.
“Tips to help you create and achieve your objectives,” as Derek Sivers discusses in his TEDtalk, is a good example of this. The first published study recommending that you keep your objectives to yourself was conducted in the 1920s.
The bottom line is as follows:
It is impossible to live a life without having some kind of goal in mind, whether we recognize it or not.
Simply said, taking the time to develop SMART objectives makes everything simpler, even the job hunt. Don’t spend your time applying to a hundred jobs that aren’t going to satisfy your needs. Define what you desire and go for it with all your might.
Goals for professional growth are given as examples.
Here is a list of ten example career development objectives to assist you in developing your own:
1. Earn a professional certificate or a bachelor’s degree.
Earning a professional certificate or degree that can help you develop in your job is a fantastic career objective. The benefits of continuing education include that it enhances your existing abilities and may assist you in applying for future promotions or switching jobs. Different sectors have a wide range of programs to choose from, and many universities offer nighttime classes to meet working professionals’ busy schedules.
This might serve as a short-term or long-term goal, depending on the amount of education you are aiming to achieve. Consider setting a short-term goal of finishing an online course that takes four hours or setting a longer-term goal of earning your master’s degree.
A number of businesses provide professional development programs as a way of investing in the advancement of their workers. Inquire with your manager or human resources representative about your company’s professional development program, which will allow you to continue to gain industry-related skills.
2. Gain an understanding of how other departments operate.
Understanding how various departments function will assist you in making a greater contribution to the firm. When you understand how your position impacts multiple departments, you may make adjustments to your work habits to help another division run more efficiently. If you want to further your career, you may set an objective to spend a few hours per week watching each department that collaborates with your team.
3. Seek input from others.
Obtaining feedback from your boss and team members is an excellent method to learn about how people see you and your abilities. Given that you should want to be an important contributor to your organization, receiving constructive comments from individuals who monitor your work may help you recognize your own strengths and choose which talents you should concentrate on developing.
Consider making a goal for yourself to check in with a small group of coworkers on a regular basis. When feasible, get input from coworkers with whom you have cooperated in other areas of the company in order to acquire a diverse range of viewpoints on the situation.
4. Increase the effectiveness of performance metrics.
Performance metrics are data that is gathered to track and assess behavior and activities that are related to overall performance. In the workplace, increasing your performance indicators may demonstrate your effectiveness.
Examples of KPIs to measure include your contribution to the reduction of the company’s total expenses and the frequency with which projects are delivered on time and under budget. You have the option of setting both short- and long-term objectives. Consider keeping track of your performance indicators in order to monitor how you progress over the course of the calendar year.
Including good metrics on your CV may also be used as supporting information to reinforce a request for a raise or promotion, or you can use them to your advantage during an interview.
5. Submit an application for a promotion.
Applying for a promotion is one approach to put oneself in a new situation. This might be either a short-term or a long-term objective. Begin by determining the next level in your career advancement and evaluating your capabilities for that position. As a short-term objective, if you narrowly satisfy the qualifications and merely need to show extra talents, such as leadership, this may be a reasonable choice. It is possible to set a long-term goal for yourself if you discover that you need to earn extra skills, education, or experience.
You may benefit from seeking a job with more responsibility since it would let you learn new skills and advance your career. Whenever you feel you are ready for a promotion, compile a list of the tasks you have done that you can discuss with your boss, as well as their significance to the company. Also include any abilities you are keen to acquire, such as team leadership, that you would want to develop.
6. Improve your ability to network with others.
Expanding your networking abilities boosts your chances of improving your business-related knowledge and of developing a better professional network, among other benefits. You may start networking by introducing yourself to new employees or conversing with colleagues from other departments.
Attending professional events, where you may meet new individuals who share your interests, is another approach to expand your network. Networking events might be geared at learning more about a new component of a business, or they can be geared toward a certain subject or talent in particular.
7. Improve your ability to communicate effectively.
The ability to communicate and receive clear information boosts the efficiency of the workplace. Consider making it a professional goal to strengthen your written, interpersonal, and vocal communication abilities in the near future. As an example, if you want to enhance your verbal communication abilities, enroll in a public speaking course that will help you feel more confident while making presentations.
Another key professional growth aim to strive for is the improvement of written communication skills. Be sure to proofread your email before sending it to ensure that it is clear, error-free, and brief. Configure your web browser to use an automated spell checker so that each email you send is more likely to be error-free and professional in tone.
8. Perform successfully as a member of a team
Working effectively as part of a team demonstrates to your manager that they can rely on you. You should take the initiative and plan meetings to discuss your progress if you are presently a member of a project team. When you attend meetings, be sure to pay close attention to what everyone has to say before expressing your own perspective.
When working on a collaborative project, taking into consideration everyone’s ideas might assist to promote teamwork. Additionally, you might strive to assist your colleagues with any issues or barriers they may be encountering at the workplace.
9. Become a volunteer to learn about new technologies.
It is critical to keep up with the latest technological developments in your sector. It demonstrates your willingness to adopt new technologies and enhance efficiency by learning new software or programs that are connected to your sector of work. Alternatively, you may learn a new technology that will benefit your team or supervisor. For example, if your company’s website has a mistake and your manager has to repair it, you may study the fundamentals of coding in order to locate and rectify the problem.
10. Create a website for your business.
Creating a personal website is a good method to advance your professional career. Personal websites may be used to hold your professional portfolio, résumé, personal mission statement, or blog, as well as other types of information and content.
When you apply for positions, provide a link to your website so that hiring managers may study extra information about projects you’ve finished and particular accomplishments you’ve made along the way. Including your contact information on your website will allow you to develop your professional network even further.