Stuck in a career rut? Hate your job? Not sure how to get to the next step? Then professional goal setting may be your answer.
It was for me.
More than once in my 20 plus year career, I felt miserable or unsatisfied with my work.
It wasn’t until the last few years that I finally found work that I loved and professional success, but it had nothing to do with finding the ‘perfect’ job.
It had everything to do with professional goal setting.
Why Professional Goal Setting Matters
Setting professional goals is critical to setting yourself up for career success. Professional goals give you clear direction, motivation, and they hold you accountable.
What Does Success Look Like?
Before you set your goals you should understand what success looks like to you.
- Do you want to be CEO?
- Do you dream of running your own business?
- Do you want to do meaningful work that gives back the community?
- Do you wish to spend more time with your family?
The answer to this will guide your specific professional goals.
How to Set Professional Goals
When setting your professional goals, it can help to ask yourself the following questions.
- What do you love/hate about your current work?
- What activities energize/drain you?
- What are or aren’t you really good at?
- What’s stopping you from getting you to where you want?
SMART Goal Setting
The best way to set yourself up for career success is to set SMART goals. SMART goals are:
- Specific – use words that clearly set out what you want to achieve.
Eg. Change jobs vs. Get a new job in the IT industry by the end of the year.
- Measurable – include a means of measuring your goal.
Eg. Earn more money vs. Earn a salary of at least $50,000 within the next two years.
- Actionable – choose a powerful verb to begin your goal.
Eg. Be a higher performer vs. Perform better in all areas at my next review.
- Realistic – create goals that you can reasonably achieve.
Eg. Own a multi-billion-dollar company vs. Start my own business by the end of the year.
- Time-bound – give each goal a timeframe it must be completed by.
Eg. Get a university degree vs. Get a university degree within five years.
You should document your goals and limit the overall number to a realistic number of between five and seven.
Your goals should include a mix of long and short-term timeframes and may represent a range of areas such as productivity, efficiency, education, and personal development.
Evaluating Your Goals
Regularly reviewing your goals is critical to ensuring you stay on track for success. Sit down on a weekly or fortnightly basis and evaluate your progress as well as any actions that need to be taken.
Get Help with Goal Setting
You may wish to speak to a business or career coach to help you how to set goals. You may also benefit from seeing a counselor for help with specific goals, as well as guidance for creating positive change in your life.