If you are spending more time planning your vacations than your career, it’s time to sit down and take a closer look at your professional trajectory. Setting career goals for yourself is more important than you think. After all, as you are spending a vast amount of time at work, you should be happy doing what you do.
With the New Year just beginning, it’s the perfect occasion to set goals and create a detailed plan that will help you achieve them. The steps below will guide you through the process.
Step 1 - Long-term goalsThere is not a right or wrong answer to setting your personal long-term career goals for the next five years. Depending on what you want to do and achieve, this might include being promoted, getting a specific position or even starting up your own business.
Choose your goals carefully. It’s important to have a clear vision of where you are going. You should also remember that your professional goals are connected to your personal life plan. So, ask yourself what kind of life you want to live.
Step 2 - Action planOnce you have successfully determined one (or more) career goals, you can slowly work towards it. Craft a realistic plan that will help you achieve your calls by doing some background research.If you want to climb the career ladder, you need to look at the skills and achievement that are required to take the next step. Be as detailed as possible, as this action plan is important for setting your short-term goals later on.
Step 3 - Self-assessmentBe honest with yourself and conduct a professional self-assessment, looking closely at your strengths, weaknesses, skills and achievements to date. As objectivity is important, you might want to revisit your last performance review or even consult your mentor.
The reason you are assessing your own professional performance is to determine the gap between your current professional achievements and those that are needed to reach your goals.
Step 4 - Short-term goalsCombining the learnings from the two points made above, you should be able to set your short-term goals. These might include developing soft skills, gaining more relevant experience or technical knowledge, working more efficiently or completing professional courses.
Step 5 - Revise and adjustDetermining your long-term career goals might seem easy in theory, but in practice, they are a lot harder to achieve. As not everything always goes according to plan, it’s important to revisit your action plan and short-term goals every six months.
Assess what went well and what didn’t. Don’t worry if you have veered off-track. The reason you are revising your plans is to adjust and take renewed aim at your goals. It’s crucial to remember that failure is often a necessary part of success.