A career is any work performed by an individual for a relatively long portion of his life. A profession is defined as an occupation for which you must have specific expertise and knowledge for successful performance. Whether you are in a career or a profession, setting goals is important for job satisfaction and success. However, setting goals is not always easy. It takes a strategic plan. In this article, we will define both short and long-term career and professional goals and help you develop your own plan for achieving your personal career or professional success.
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Career Goals Examples
- Long Term Career Goals
Long term goals are those that will require five years or longer to achieve. Many people have difficulty setting long term goals because they feel the end is never in sight. However, having a vision of what you wish to achieve in five or ten years makes it much easier to set short term goals. We have started with your long-term goals, because you will choose your short-term goals to help you succeed with your long-term plan.
- Getting a Promotion
The first step in seeking a promotion is to make a strategic plan. Let your boss know your aspirations and seek their advice and assistance. Ask to have some of what you wish to learn put into your performance objectives. Concentrate on improving both your vocational and soft skills, taking any career development courses your business offers or seeking some on-line. Create a portfolio to present your efforts with certificates of completion to use if you seek a new or different job.
- Changing Careers
If you find yourself completely unhappy in your current career, consider a complete change. You will need to map out a plan, deciding which skills are transferable and what new skills must be acquired. Create a timeline and then set some short-term goals for success.
- Owning Your Own Business
You may decide you have reached the top of the position you currently hold and that there is no opportunity for advancement. If you have the confidence and ability to do so, consider starting your own business. Take a class on how to write a business plan or check out the possibility of owning a franchise. Just remember, owning your own business begins with a huge sacrifice of time and money, but you can end up having financial freedom and independence.
- Short Term Career Goals
Once you have determined your long-term goals, you can make a list of the short-term goals you must meet to achieve what you want. Short-term career goals usually take less than five years to accomplish, frequently a year or less. You should make a list of your short-term goals, considering areas most applicable to your career. Then prioritize the goals and group some where applicable.
- Improve Your Performance
You probably receive some sort of performance evaluation every six months to a year. Concentrate on improving areas so you are ready for any available promotions. Ask your manager to include professional development goals and make sure they understand your desire for career success.
- Improve Your Communication Skills
Communication forms the foundation of effective teamwork, so important in today’s career climate. Additionally, learning how to communicate with various levels within the organization can help you avoid problems, increase your cultural awareness, and insure understanding.
- Create a Personal Website
Creating a personal website provides a platform for showcasing your skills and preparing for the future. Include professional milestones and skills. An effective website can help if you are changing careers as it can act as a portfolio.
Constantly add to your list of industry contacts. Networking can provide valuable opportunities, opening doors and introducing you to those who can help you achieve both your long and short-term goals.
- Earn a Degree or Professional Certificate
Whatever your profession, it is important to continue learning and remain current with the latest developments. Pursuing a postgraduate degree, such as an MBA, not only improves your skillset, but provides verification of your professional abilities. Additionally, a degree or professional certificate can mean promotion and salary-increase opportunities.
- Change Jobs
If you decide your current position does not meet your needs and desires, it may be time to change jobs. Staying in a dead-end job only leads to frustration, stress, and disappointment. However, if you make your intentions known, those to whom you report to may make it reasonable for you to stay by providing some of what you feel your job lacks.
What Are Your Career Goals?
Have you ever wanted to work at a specific company or in a particular job, but were afraid to launch out and give it a try? With the right motivation and a plan, your dream can become reality. Effective goal setting helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed. Before you begin defining your short and long-term goals, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the one activity you enjoy the most and are you able to do it in your chosen career?
- Do you have a special talent you what like to use in a career or profession?
- What do you perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses?
- Do your define career success by how much you make or how much you enjoy your job?
- What is your dream job and is it possible to attain it?
- Where would you like to be in 5 years, ten years, and fifteen years?
Instead of thinking about what you do not like in your present job, think positively about what you do want. Set realistic short and long-term goals, defining short and achievable tasks for each one. Prioritize your career goals, listing them in order of importance and achievability. Make sure you set dates and times for achieving your goals, as well as your salary expectations.
Your professional goals are shaped by your personal needs and ambitions. You may wish to make more money, reach the top of your profession, or develop your skills and knowledge in your current position. Regardless of your goal, you must have a plan. Doing so will benefit you professionally in three ways:
- Create Personal Accountability
It is important to take charge and get things done. Setting goals builds a structure for accountability as you must hold yourself accountable for completing each goal. Additionally, those your work with and to whom you report will see your responsibility, a desirable asset for career growth and promotion.
- Give Motivation
Setting goals can motivate you to be more productive with your time and energy. List small, achievable tasks and mark each one off as accomplished and reward yourself for a job well done.
- Provide Direction
You need a roadmap so that you will not waste your energy rabbit trailing in areas that will not help you reach your goal. You need to focus all your attention on short term steps that will help you reach your long-term goal.
Your professional goals should be as individual as you are. However, you should include strengthening your professional relationships, building effective work practices, and developing additional professional skills and knowledge. In the next section, we will give you some examples of professional goals.
Professional Goals Examples
Successful people seldom work alone. You may not personally like everyone you work with, but learn to set aside any personal difference during work hours. Treat co-workers and other colleagues professionally and create a reputation of cooperation. Being a good team player is very important in today’s work environment. Additionally, find those with whom you share common professional goals and then work together to reach them.
Professional goals provide vision, clarity, and are measurable. It is important to visualize what areas need improvement, create clear statements about how you will achieve each goal, and measure your success. Keep this in mind as you read the following list of professional goals examples:
- Pursue New Experiences and Opportunities
Perhaps one of the easiest and quickest professional growth opportunities is exploring new options within your current career field. Try volunteering for special projects and any in-house career development and training. Exploring the area in which you are currently working may offer opportunities for meeting your professional goals you were unaware of before.
- Improve Your Work Performance
While you are pursuing the professional goals you have set, make sure you make the most of each day in your current position. Display a positive attitude, arrive early, leave late, and address any areas a performance review might indicate as an area in which you need to improve. You want to make sure you shine in your current position to impress everyone on your way up the ladder to success.
- Increase Your Professional Knowledge and Training
Look within your current position for workshops, professional training, and the ability to earn professional certifications. Keep a portfolio as evidence of your continuing learning. Make sure your performance objectives include professional development opportunities. Additionally, learn about the job responsibilities of your coworkers, those who work in lateral departments, and those to whom you report; you may discover a job that meets all your individual professional goals.
- Increase Your Earnings
Another example of a professional goal is the desire to make more money. There is nothing wrong with letting those in charge know you have an interest in increasing your earnings. Remember, sometimes we do not get because we do not ask. If increased earnings are one of your top professional goals and you truly believe you are in a dead-end job, it may be time to look elsewhere for opportunities.
How to Set Your Career or Professional Goals?
Now that you understand the difference between career and professional goals and long and short-term goals, you are ready to set your own. We have given you four simple steps for doing so:
Step #1 – Plan
Begin looking at careers that match your skill set, salary requirements, and areas of interest. Explore the job market to create a list of possible areas for promotion or seeking a new and different job. Make a written plan, including:
- Short-term activities
- Network opportunities with those in your field or in the one in which you wish to work
- Ways to develop and practice necessary skills
- How to increase education and training
- Places to volunteer to develop a new skill
Step #2 – Set Achievable Steps
Identify necessary steps to achieve your goals, remembering to use a reality check for each step to avoid frustration. Make sure each step has stated activities that are achievable. Talk to others about your career goals and enlist their help when possible.
Step #3 – Give Yourself Deadlines
Deadlines provide motivation. Make sure you set realistic time frames and adjust them when necessary. You want, however, to avoid procrastination. Do not let failure in one area keep you from success; if one goal begins to bog you down, work on a different one.
Step #4 – Reward Yourself
Every time you experience success pursuing your goals, reward yourself. Take a day off to do something you love. Treat yourself to your favorite dinner or buy something new. Watch your budget; remember, you don’t have to spend a great deal of money to enjoy yourself.
It is important to constantly review, revise, and update your career plan. Things change, and we do not work in isolation. Sometimes failure is out of our control. For example, if you have your sights set on a certain position within your company and the position is redefined into something you do not wish to pursue, it will be time to reassess your goals and make some changes. Also, if something doesn’t work for you, try a different path. Doing so will help you avoid discouragement and keep you motivated.
A good career is a life-long journey. Many people simply go to work every day and do the same task over and over. However, to attain real job satisfaction, one must set both short and long-term goals. Doing so not only allows one to grow professionally but also improves one’s earnings and job satisfaction. Start today on the path to your own career or professional success; the rewards are great!