Whether your goal is to become a contract administrator for a small building company or the chief financial officer of a multinational business, setting career goals and figuring out how to accomplish them is essential to success.
A career goal describes the ultimate position you would like to attain in your career. If it is realistic, it is possible to create an action plan, also known as a personal development plan, to achieve your professional goals.
Developing a career plan is a simple yet vital principle of success. So, start applying the same principles to your work life to give yourself a kickstart. Below are some suggestions to help you set your career goals and create a career plan with specific, measurable objectives:
1. Explore the possibilities
Some people have a very clear idea of what profession they want to pursue. Others have several career choices but aren’t sure which would be best for them. In either case, the first step toward creating a career plan is finding what they are passionate about and becoming comfortable with the reality of their choices.
It’s important to think about where you are going, what you need to get there, and how you will get there. You can also start by researching potential jobs you may be interested in and assess if you have the qualifications needed. For example, if you want to be a CEO, you might require business knowledge, which you can acquire by enrolling in a recognized business school. If you want some flexibility in your studies, you can even sign up for an online MBA program. While considering these options, check out their prerequisites, such as experience or language requirements. You may also want to look into the online MBA requirements for admissions, as applicants for these programs are assessed across the board. This will ensure you hit the ground running when you finally decide on a course of action.
2. Compare options
Decide which option is best for you by comparing. To cut things down, consider the following questions when analyzing each option:
- What is necessary for each job to succeed?
- Are there any weaknesses you would have to overcome to be successful?
- Do you have any strengths in this career path?
Also, think about whether each position seems like the right fit. This process will narrow down your choices and allow you to choose the most appealing occupation.
However, setting career goals don’t just end here. If you want your dreams to become a reality, you need to come up with an action plan (or an individual development plan) that will help you achieve what you have set out to accomplish.
3. Find a guide
Looking for ways to set career goals and achieve them can seem overwhelming. Finding a mentor or someone who has successfully achieved the same goal as your own is a great way to gain advice. Additionally, by following their example, you will be able to learn how to succeed as well as how to prevent mistakes from happening in the future.
Connecting with people in the same field, or even better, those that have achieved a position you also aspire to is an effective method of seeking a mentor. Learning about their academic and professional backgrounds can provide insight into potential career paths. A mentor will assist in your journey by guiding you through areas that may present obstacles and teaching you the right “formulae” for success.
4. Break down your career goals
Once you have identified your ultimate goal, divide it into smaller action steps. Taking this approach will help you develop clarity and motivation. And once your task seems simple enough to achieve, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
Make a realistic career progression plan detailing the jobs and increasing skills, duties, and seniority required to reach your goals. You will then have a roadmap to guide you on how to move forward toward your ultimate goal.
5. Write down your goals
Setting goals or planning your career is only effective when you follow the route you have mapped out. Write down your goals and objectives, as this will help you stay organized, motivated, and on track.
Taking time to record your ambitions can allow you to recognize your progress toward attaining them. Additionally, writing something down makes it easier to adjust targets should changes in circumstances arise. After all, investing the same effort you would into booking a vacation into your career brings its rewards for many years.
6. Be flexible and measure your progress
Adaptability and flexibility are essential in times of change. It may be necessary to reevaluate your objectives based on external factors. Review your goals regularly to make them realistic and achievable. If not, modify them until you find an ideal solution.
Additionally, recognize your weaknesses and set aside time for improvement. If you require help, seek a mentor or enroll in a training program that can assist with these upgrades. You can also take advantage of stretch opportunities to learn and grow in your current role. Make it a point never to cancel out on your self-examination time. Establish these check-ins as recurring events whether you conduct them monthly, quarterly, or even biennially, and put them in the calendar – no exceptions. Utilize this momentous opportunity to evaluate yourself and strive for improvement.
7. Celebrate Success and Reward Yourself
It’s easier to believe in your future performance after seeing your past successes. So, never forget to praise and reward yourself for proud accomplishments. One way to do it is by investing in activities that inspire and make you happy. For example, reward yourself with a nice fancy dinner when you achieve a short-term goal, and on big achievements, take a trip overseas. This will create motivation and the likelihood of completing your upcoming goals. It will also establish a positive track record to give you confidence and boost your self-esteem and self-efficacy.
Setting career goals and planning to achieve them is essential for success. It will provide confidence, direction to reach your ambitions, and a benchmark for measuring progress. Be flexible, keep a journal of your objectives, look for mentors who can advise and reward you for reaching milestones, and celebrate rewards. All of these steps will help you progress in the direction of your ultimate target.