What Kind of Professional Goals Should You Create?
Planning for the future is not always the easiest task in-hand, but when it comes to your career, it’s vital in order to grow within your chosen path. Setting a professional goal can help you focus more on getting to where you want to be (in let’s say 5 years), but first of all it is important to figure out where it is exactly that you want to see yourself.
Once you have made this decision on where you want to be professionally, then you can begin to plan the steps that are needed in order to get to this place. Setting short and long term goals is the next step you should take in this instance.
Short term career goals - these are usually goals that you should aim to achieve within a year, and are essentially the building blocks that contribute to your overall long term goal.
Long term career goal - This requires more preparation and is usually a goal you should hope to achieve within a couple of years, maybe 5 or 10 years into the future. This should be a significant milestone in your professional life and will be made easier by successfully completing your short term goals prior.
Why is it important to set goals for work?
To put it simply, setting professional goals are important as they ensure you are focused on personal success and enable you to be continuously motivated
It can be very easy to get comfortable in a role and although you may be doing a good job, it might not be necessarily what is good for you in the long run.
Career advice: Setting personal professional goals that align to your expectations as opposed to your employers, is highly important for growth.
That being said, setting goals doesn’t mean you have to change jobs or get promoted. These goals could align with both your personal and professional life and help you in the long run.
For example: Set a goal to learn more about low latency within a data centre. This will help an engineer or technician both in their personal development and in his/her current job.
Plus point to setting career goals:
Goals are also great if you want to stand out amongst your peers or other candidates (if in an interview scenario). There is the age old interview question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years”? Which can often be a tricky one to answer.
Successful people usually have an idea of what their goals are for the next 5 years and this will help you both in an interview scenario and in relation to promotion opportunities.
What are some examples of professional goals?
There are literally hundreds of professional goals you can set out, all coming with their own benefits. Here I will give two examples of short term goals and two examples of long term goals you can set yourself today.
Example of short term goals
Take a course in something you are interested in to up skill within that area. Pretty self explanatory, but I cannot stress how important it is for continuous self improvement.
If you are a data centre technician and you want to learn more about computer hardware/troubleshooting, a good course to do is the CompTIA examination.
Research other compartments within your company. The more you know about your company, the better. If you work in a cyber security consultancy and you are on the network security team, perhaps join the application security meeting that morning and see what is on their agenda for the week. You never know, it could be your next career move!
Example of long term goals
Become a business owner. Naturally this doesn’t happen overnight, but there are certainly small steps that you can take on a daily basis to work towards this goal. This could be a 5-10 year goal which consists of 10-20 short term goals in the build up to this.
An example of a short term goal that could assist in achieving this long term goal could be improving your public speaking and presentations, or up-skilling in your business administration.
Do a PHD in Electrical Engineering. This would take around 4 years to complete and is a huge educational boost. Setting this long term goal would mean you would set several short term goals, which could consist of doing term assignments or completing projects.
How do you go about setting these goals?
If you are serious about setting a goal, then firstly you need to sit down and begin writing down exactly what it is you want to achieve. Much like in a business scenario, you could set up a Project Plan and map out the phases you need to complete in order to reach your goal targets.
Share your goals with other people who are in a similar situation or with similar interests. It’s easier to stay motivated when somebody else is rooting for you, or even if they are doing the same thing themselves.
Invision your goals, even if it’s just in your own head. If you want to get a PhD, think about the final year project you would do, your assignments and even the graduation when you are standing to receive your certificate. There’s surely no going back now!
Time your goals, although nobody is forcing you to achieve these professional goals you still need to be somewhat disciplined and stay within a time frame. This will make it easier to complete the smaller tasks that the overall goal consists of and ensure you stay on top of things!
Setting professional goals can be daunting, but if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone for a while and start planning, it could essentially be life changing with regards to your career and personal development.
Some people have wild dreams like owning a fancy yacht or a multi million euro business and yes, it’s a huge dream, but there are hundreds of smaller goals that you can be doing in the build up to this.
Just remember: The dream becomes a vision. The vision becomes a plan. The plan becomes a reality.
If you need some further information into how the talent in the market are currently mapping out the career path, you can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to share my insights with you. If you're looking for more career related advise you can find it in the insights section of our website.
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