Why is setting career goals important? As you have likely heard many times before, it's rather hard to get where you want to be if you don't have a route map for getting there. So let's turn that saying around:
You can't make a route map until you know where you want to go
Where do you want to go? What are your career goals? Let's talk about career goals — ones that you can actually use as signposts along the way to your ultimate dream job.
- Define the dream
This is where you put aside all thoughts of limitations, and write down what you really want to do in your work life, even if it's something totally different from what you are doing now. You might think about the following:
- Activities you enjoy and that you are good at
- Types of positions you feel most comfortable with: being the leader or the follower, doing your own thing or contributing to an established mission
- Identifying what is more important: soul satisfaction or salary
- Determine a timeline for achieving the goal
This is where you perform a reality check. If you've just graduated college, it's going to take longer to reach the C-suite of a Fortune 500 company than if you are already a professional graphic designer and your goal is to move up to the next step of creative director.
- Break the big goal down into intermediate goals
This is where the vision becomes doable. If you are in an entry-level job right now, it might seem impossible that you could one day own your own company. But you can easily manage the first step: take a course or read some books on how to become an entrepreneur. Then the second step, the third step, and so on becomes a realistic target. Think about:
- The specific skills and experience your dream job requires
- How you will acquire those skills and experience
- Who can help you achieve your goals
- How your intermediate steps will work with your current commitments
Each step is a both a target and a reward for you to celebrate on the road to your career destination.
With planning, patience and persistence, there's no telling how far you can go!