Career goals can be difficult to set, especially when you’re in an organisation where there isn’t clear career pathing or you know you aren’t in an organisation that is going to help you grow. However, without some form of direction or understanding of the bigger picture, you can easily watch years go by in a role or an organisation that doesn’t motivate you, drive you and give you a sense of purpose. These three steps will help you set your career goals.
1. What Do You Want?
The first step to setting career goals is to understand what you want long term. Where do you want to be in 10, 20, 30 years? Will you be retired, winding down your career or just getting to where you want to be? Do you want to be married, have children, live in a different country, earn a lot of money or enough to be comfortable?
Understanding where you want to be is the best way to get clarity on what you’re going to have to do to get there. It is also the best way to understand if it will be achievable. For example, if you want to retire at 50, what are you doing now to make that a reality? Is it a reality for the type of work you are in?
2. How Can You Get There?
Once you understand your end goal, you can start to reverse engineer how to get there. For example, you’re currently a Project Administrator and want to become a Project Director within ten years. What experience, skills and knowledge are you going to need to be equipped for the role? What kind of projects are you going to need to work on to ensure you are an effective Project Director? What other skillsets are helpful? Are there any courses or people you know who can coach or mentor you?
Once you understand your gaps and the different options to fill them, you can create a Learning Plan or a Professional Development Plan to ensure you are on right track.
3. Who is Holding You Accountable?
If you are not going to hold yourself accountable or remind yourself to stay on the path when you deviate, get someone else to. A coach, mentor, group coaching session, or frequent check ins with your manager will hold you accountable. It will also demonstrate how serious you are about achieving your goals and allow you to adjust the direction or trajectory you are on in a methodical, structured manner.This will be the key to reaching your career goals.
Setting career goals can be difficult, but once you have set them you will have clarity on where you are at and it will allow you to be more selective in where you invest your energy.
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