How to Set Effective Career Goals

November 16, 2022 | Career Coach

Comments (0)

Kadine Cooper
Kadine Cooper, one of our Career Coaches in Residence, offers her tips for setting effective career goals.

What do you want to get out of your career? We all have dreams of what we would like to accomplish in our career.

Some people imagine being at the head of a business, leading the rest of the team to success. Others just want a job where they feel like they are making a difference.

One of the best ways to make your dreams a reality is to set effective goals and intentions.

Setting realistic career goals is how you visualize your target and come up with a solution to help you achieve it. While there is no guarantee that your plan will always go off without a hitch, the right goals and intentions will at least keep you pointed in the right direction.

The key to successfully setting goals is ensuring that they are clear, realistic, and achievable.

Consider these top tips for establishing successful targets.

Start with clarity

First, exactly what do you want to achieve? Studies show that we are more likely to succeed in our goals when we make them clear.

If you are not sure where to begin, ask yourself what your ideal job would allow you to do each day. Think about what kind of tasks you like and dislike in your current job or past employment.

It might even be a good idea to look up some information on the careers you have considered pursuing before you start applying. Consider reaching out to a professional in the role for an informational interview. This will help you to see what kind of day-to-day tasks are involved in each position.

Aim high, but be realistic

The more ambition you have, the better. However, it would help if you still were somewhat realistic.

For example, if you are still in your first year of your accounting degree, but your goal is to become the CFO of Microsoft by the end of the year, you are probably not going to achieve your target.

Setting unrealistic goals could be setting yourself up for disappointment or failure

Your goal cannot be to just make a lot of money without doing any work. It is important to take the time to think about the skills you have, the things you enjoy, and the talents you can use to actually make an income. For instance, if you love working in your marketing role now, but you think you could do more, perhaps you could aim to become a manager of a marketing department or the owner of your own marketing company within the next 5-10 years.

Visualize a path

Once you have a goal, you can begin to think about what you are going to need to get there. Chances are that you do not have all the resources you would require to get your dream career just yet. Otherwise, you would probably already be doing it. So, what are you missing?

If it is a certain set of skills, maybe you could look into taking part-time courses that will increase your proficiency in those areas. If it is just that you need to “know the right people,” maybe you could dedicate more time to building your network and socializing with others in your industry.

Ask yourself what is missing to take yourself from the point where you are today, to the point you want to be at ten years, five years, or even one year from now. Be clear about the steps you are going to take.

Check out Career Cruising for career profiles and help with job searches. 

Get Committed

Ultimately, it’s going to take time and work for you to get the career of your dreams. Decide here and now whether you are committed to making your dream a reality!

If you are, then THE TIME IS NOW to push yourself, to proactively take steps toward your desired outcome as often as possible. Even if it is just dedicating an hour a week to networking with professionals in your field or looking for a career coach or mentor who can guide you through your career progression, start somewhere.

You are going to need to start that journey by taking the first step. Make your choice, buckle down, and let's go!

Need some guidance setting your career goals? Book a free one-on-one appointment with a Career Coach in Residence

Post written by Kadine Cooper, 2022-23 Career Coach in Residence. 

The Career Coaches in Residence program is generously supported by Linda Dagg and Kenneth Wiener and RBC.