Career Goal Setting
Where Will You Be When You Retire?

Before you attempt career goal setting, it is important to make sure you are setting goals for the right career field. You don’t want to waste time planning out your

career in auto mechanics if you are only doing that job temporarily while going to law school.

You would be better off setting your job goals to become a lawyer or chase other career goals made possible by your law degree.

You can decide what career field is right for you by answering a series of questions:

    1. What excites you and grabs your attention?

    2. What type of people do you enjoy being around?

    3. What are five things you would love to know more about?

    4. What topics do you know so much about you could talk about it for days or months?

    5. Are there any causes that you really believe in and would love to work for in some capacity?

    6. What businesses capture your interest?

Give yourself time to really explore what you would like to do for the rest of your life, even if it seems to be impossible from where you are right now. Once you are sure what career field you want to enter, it is time to start the process of career goal setting.

Why Are Career Goals Important?

Guy at his computer

Career goals give you valuable guidance when making important decisions for your future. For example, imagine you are fresh out of college with a degree in journalism. You start going on interviews for a variety of positions, all of which require a degree in journalism, English, or a related field. You are suddenly offered three different positions, all in different locations, and with different pay ranges. How do you make your decision?

If you have not invested in career goal setting, you will have no guidance in this decision. You will likely make a fast decision based on the job that will pay the most right now. You may realize years later that you are stuck at that one pay rate with no hope of a raise, while someone who took one of those other positions offered to you are now making much more. You made a poor choice by not thinking about your future career.

Job goals allow you to make the best decisions for your overall career, without getting stuck in the moment. You always move forward toward that ultimate goal.

Tips for Effective Career Goal Setting

Your career goals have to be all of the following if they are to help you in the future:

    "Realistic -Measurable -Specific -Time Efficient"

When you start career goal setting, use these goal characteristics as a test to ensure the goals you set will lead you to success. Before you actually start setting job goals, spend some time thinking about where you would like your career to be in the future.

First think about where you would like to be by the end of the current year. Then think about where you would like to be by the end of next year. Then think about where you would like to be in five years, ten years, and then where you would like to leave off when you retire. At what age would you prefer to retire?

You now have the information needed to start setting job goals for your future. Start with that final ending point where you see yourself retiring. That is your ultimate career goal, and all of your shorter term goals should lead you in that direction. You can now use career goal setting to come up with specific, realistic, time efficient and measureable goals for this year, next year, and all years to come.

Tracking Your Progress

“Measurable” is one of the most important characteristics of your career goals. If you cannot measure your progress, how will you know if you are on the right track? Come up with a way to measure your progress toward your goals and then take action so you have something to measure.

You may measure your progress by noting when you secure different types of positions listed in your goals. You may also measure your progress by going for higher positions that increase your pay rate. How you measure will depend on what your goals are, and what career field you are entering.

When the big decisions come up, allow your goals to choose the best path for you. This is how you meet that ultimate career goal in the end.

What do you think about career goal setting? Have you successfully set and met your own job goals? Share your information below so others can benefit from your experience!

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