Planning Your Career

Now that you have assessed your skills and interest and explored industries and careers, it is time to strategize your next steps.

Step 3: Set Goals

Why set goals? Goals will help keep you focused on where you want to be and how you plan on getting there. Understanding the length of time you have to achieve your goals will help you maintain momentum and a positive outlook. Celebrating successes along the way to achieving your goals will also help you stay motivated and focused.

Short-term goals (1-2 years)
Mid-term goals (3-5 years)
Long-term goals (5+ years)

You must regularly reflect upon your goals, adjust them to accommodate changes in your thinking and circumstances and focus on carrying out the tasks that will bring you closer and closer to the goals you have set for yourself. Every goal you set, whether short-term, mid-term or long-term, needs to be S.M.A.R.T.

S Specific: Goals should be detailed and focused enough to determine what actions are required to achieve the desired result
M Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable and produce a specific result. Measurements can include quality, speed, financials, productivity or people
A Attainable: Goals should be achievable and action-oriented. You will need to take a pro-active stance to continue working with purpose and diligence towards your goal
R Realistic: Goals should be practical yet challenging. You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps
T Timely: Goals should have clearly defined timeframes or completion dates. Some flexibility may be necessary, but timeframes will help keep you motivated and focused towards completing your goals

Reading Recommendations

"The Leap: How 3 Simple Changes Can Propel Your Career" by Rick Smith
"Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want - Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible" by Brian Tracy

Quick Planning Links

S.M.A.R.T. Goals Setting Worksheet
Developing a Career Plan Tips
MyCareer Plan Template
SWOT Analysis Worksheet