It sounds easy enough. You point in the direction of your dreams and say “that’s where I’m headed” and you’re on your way, right? It’s a good start, but what you have just done is activated a vision, not a goal. Your vision for your career is the overarching picture or idea of what you’d like to have happen. Your career goals are more tactical and involve your action in order to be met.
You have probably heard that your goals should be SMART – that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive. How can we apply this age-old (and effective!) goal-setting methodology to your career? Let’s take a look:
Specific Career Goals
When setting goals, it is important to be specific to ensure accountability and direction. For example, if you want to obtain a certificate, you’ve got a vision. To apply specificity and make this a goal, choose a discipline for your certification. Go the extra mile and choose a training program with courses and dates and you’ll be well on your way.
Measurable Career Goals
It’s easy to get off course with your career goals if they aren’t measurable. For example, in your ideal vision perhaps you would be attending more networking events and becoming more connected. This vision can become a goal, and then a reality, by adding measurement. Endeavor to attend one networking event per month. This is now a box you can check.
Attainable Career Goals
It’s good to believe that nothing is impossible for you, but it’s important to be pragmatic. For example, if your goal is to double your sales this quarter compared to last, look at past quarters and determine whether or not that’s realistic. If it is, your next step is to set smaller stepping stones to get there.
Relevant Career Goals
Stay focused. If your intention is to craft better work friendships, you will need to set mini-goals such as attending one happy hour per month or initiating a walking lunch with a few teammates. Goals like keeping an organized desk or arriving earlier may not be relevant. Measure these goals separately and don’t hold them as contingencies to making friends of your colleagues.
Time-Sensitive Career Goals
If you don’t set a time limit, your “progress” toward a goal could go on indefinitely. Say you want to completely clear your inbox and filter emails into usable folders, set an end date 30 days from now, and set smaller goals like deleting or filtering a certain number of emails per day or per week. This will keep you accountable and help make your goal appear less daunting.
Are your career goals SMART yet? If not, you’re just working with visions and that’s an okay place to start. We advise collaborating with us – Focus of Georgia – to make your career goals and visions a reality. We offer customizable job search options and have the ability to connect job seekers to their perfect-fit roles and companies. Start your job search today!