How to Set Achievable Professional Goals? 9 Tips
How often did you promise yourself to learn a new skill, change job, or to acquire a management position but failed to pursue this goal? Millions of people dream of something big and write New Year’s resolutions, but only a few of them actually obtain what they’re after. So, what’s the secret of implementing your career goals?
Goals that are easy to accomplish share a few common characteristics. First of all, they are reasonable, inspiring and very specific. Without clear career goals, you are likely to be stuck in the same role for years or end up in an unfulfilling position. Goals are the roadmaps that take you to the dream destination in the long run. Below, you’ll find out how to implement your goals of getting a promotion, acquiring new knowledge or landing a new job with the help of a resume writer online.
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9 steps to set effective professional goals
Step 1. Define an overarching professional goal
Obtaining a Master’s degree, taking a Spanish class or conflict management workshop are all great examples of career goals. However, it’s more efficient to define your ultimate long-term goal in a career first. Think of whether you see yourself in 15-20 years from now. Do you want to be a CFO in a large retail company? Do you want to start a marketing agency or run all aspects of your business? Or maybe, you want a big family and need a high-paying remote developer position that would allow you to spend more time with your loved ones? Determining the big goal first will help you set the smaller ones in line with it and achieve it faster.
Step 2. Ask questions to figure out what you want
If you feel stuck in the position or experience a career crisis, it’s easy to lose a sense of purpose. In this case, take advantage of this exercise. Find a quiet place and ask yourself what you would be doing if money wasn’t a concern? What career success means to you and what lifestyle would you like to live as an accomplished professional? What activities do you enjoy most and are any of them part of your job? Do you feel that you have a calling? Asking these questions stimulates creativity, and you might work out the right career direction and set goals according to it.
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Step 3. Make sure your purpose is achievable
After dreaming big, it’s time to come down to earth and set short-term goals. They should be realistic and serve the primary professional target. If you work in an entry-level position in finance, setting a goal of becoming a CFO in two years is probably unrealistic. However, making it to the associate role is quite achievable. Similarly, if you’ve never learned Spanish before, don’t expect that you’ll become intermediate in 2 months. Setting overly ambitious goals and not achieving them will discourage you. Instead, set the goal to achieve a beginner level, and as you’ve achieve it, you’ll set a new goal and keep moving towards it.
Step 4. Be as specific as you can
Most people struggle to reach their goals because they lack specifics. “Learn new professional skills” or “find a new job” are too vague and don’t give you a clear picture of what you need to accomplish. “Learn to code in Python on the level enough to pursue an entry-level developer job”, “Make 10 calls to prospective customers” or “Send a resume to 5 companies and make 10 new LinkedIn connections” are good examples of how a good professional goal should sound like.
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Step 5. Set deadlines
Ground the goals you’ve outlined within a specific time period. Define how many weeks or months you allocate to reach a certain workplace goal. If your target goal takes a few months, be sure to break it down into smaller bite-sized goals. The sense of urgency that the timeliness creates will prevent you from procrastinating. On the flip side, breaking down the relatively big goal into smaller ones will psychologically set you that the goal is achievable.
Step 6. Polish your resume to perfection
Whether you plan to land a new job in the next few months or not, you still need the best possible version of your resume at hand. Why? If you meet an influential person in your field, aim for a promotion or decide to pursue an MBA, a good resume will help you stand out. Having a copy of the resume at hand opens doors for more opportunities, especially if it’s written well. If you struggle to describe your skills and experience in a compelling way, our staff resume maker can assist.
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Step 7. Visualize
A powerful positive thinking technique, visualization can help you obtain professional goals either. Once you’ve defined a set of goals you want to achieve, find time every day to imagine the successful result. For instance, if your goal is to improve low-functioning relationships at work, visualize the process of teamwork and positive collaboration. If you want to obtain the MBA to get promoted to a leadership role, imagine yourself managing the organization, assigning tasks, etc. As you turn visualization into a daily routine, you’ll set yourself up for a positive outcome.
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Step 8. Take advantage of tech helpers
The hardest part about achieving professional goals is to stay disciplined and organized. Many career goals require taking daily actions. To stay on track with them, try one of the task management and organizing apps. Such tools as Wunderlist, Trello, or Momentum allow planning, scheduling, and tracking daily activities that you need to take on the way to your goal. The smartphone is always with you, so it’s easy to check with your to-do lists on the go.
Step 9. Allow yourself some flexibility
In your way towards the goal, you might find out that the initial plan doesn’t work as expected. For instance, if you want to obtain a second degree, you might struggle to combine the studies with a full-time job. Therefore, flexibility in your case will mean either to opt for short-term courses or online degree. Also, you might figure out that certain goals have lost their relevance, so there is nothing wrong about giving up what is no longer fulfilling. Your goals aren’t carved in stone. They are meant to make your career meaningful, so if you’ve found a shorter way to your long-term ambition or would like to pursue a new career direction, go ahead and set new goals.
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