Set Career Goals

Do you spend more time planning your vacations than your career? What's more important to you? Defining your career goals will help you make necessary steps toward a satisfying work life.

Step 1: Make a Career Plan

Want to find satisfying work? Start by thinking about your long-term career goal and the short-term activities that will help you achieve it. These pieces will make up your career plan.

  • What is your long-term career goal?
  • What are short-term activities to reach this goal?
  • Write these down in your career plan.

Sample Career Plan

  • Long-term career goal: Project Manager

  • Short-term activities

    • Learn more
      Talk with three people in this career to develop a list of realistic activities within one month

    • Develop related skills
      Take an online project management software course within six months

    • Practice skills
      Use the software at work or as a volunteer experience

    • Get experience
      Ask my boss for a small project that I can manage within six months

    • Gain education and training
      Finish my degree within two years

Step 2: Follow Your Career Plan

You've set your career goals and defined the steps necessary to achieve them. Now follow your written plan.
  • What do you need to make your career goals real?
    • Determine that your career goals are realistic.
    • Look for careers that match your interests, skill set, and salary requirements.Explore the job market and look at lists of growing or in-demand careers.
    • Set realistic time frames and adjust them as needed.
    • Make sure your activities are specific and achievable.
    • Just do it! Make it happen with your time, energy, and money.

  • How will you reward yourself for achieving even your smallest activities?

  • Who will support you and help you?
    • Don't just write down your plan. Tell people about it and get their feedback and support.

Step 3: Review and Update Your Career Plan

You may run into roadblocks or want to change your mind. Don't be discouraged!
  • Take a look at your career plan and adjust it as needed.
  • Change your activities if they aren't working for you.
  • Take a different path to achieve your goals.
  • Understand that the world of work changes quickly and so can you.
Once you achieve your career goals, reward yourself and rethink your goals. Careers are a life-long journey.