Whatever your career stage, it’s good to have a goal. Setting career goals can help to give you a direction and enable you to demonstrate progress when applying for roles. They can also take you closer to your dream job or allow you to make the most of a dream job you already have. Here’s how.
Give your career direction and focus
Maybe you’ve always had a clear idea of where you want to go in your career. Or perhaps you’ve taken opportunities that came along, but with no real plan in mind. Either way, you might find setting career goals a useful tool to help focus your career and give you direction. Being able to articulate your career aspirations can also be useful when applying for roles, as a way to show how the opportunity fits into your career narrative.
Setting goals doesn’t just have to be about getting to a certain position or level of seniority by a particular date. Career goals can also be about the experience you want to gain and skills you want to develop. It might be securing accreditation in a particular field. Perhaps it’s leading a project team. Maybe it’s developing your digital skill set. Whatever you choose, make sure that achieving your goal is within your control and that it aligns with where you want to go in your career.
Demonstrate your progress with career goals
When applying for a new position, it’s important to be able to show progression. Sharing your career goals with recruiters and potential employers is one way of demonstrating this. The selection panel wants assurance that this role is the natural next step in your career and that you have the skills and experience needed to deliver for their organisation.
How can career goals help? If you’ve been tracking and documenting your progress in achieving your goals, you should be able to point to examples of growth. Examples might be based around outcomes you’ve produced or skills you’ve gained. They could even be about values and qualities you’ve displayed, such as drive, initiative or leadership. The key to doing this successfully is recognising where your career goals and the progress you’ve made in achieving them aligns with the role you’re applying for and your overall career direction.
Secure or make the most of your dream job
Consistently using goals to direct and progress your career can help you to get more out of it. If you’re still working towards your dream job, carefully planned career goals can help you get closer to where you want to be. On the other hand, if you’re already in your dream job it can still be helpful to set career goals aimed at making the most of your role.
Whichever situation you’re in, try to set specific goals. When your goal is a promotion or a new job, you might want to set goals around the skills you need to get there or just actively seeking opportunities. In a dream role, your goals might focus on achievements like making a difference or developing mastery of particular skills. Regardless of what goals you choose, make sure you track your progress and celebrate your success.
I have found setting career goals beneficial in my own career and I hope that you can also experience these benefits. If you’d like to read more insights to help you take your career further, you can browse our blog. Or, if you’re looking for your dream job, view the positions we’re currently recruiting.