Updated: Jan 17
Are you looking for a way to set effective career goals? This article talks about the importance of setting clear and effective career goals and the steps one needs to take in order to achieve them.
Many people struggle to determine the right career goals. However, once they figure out what it is that they truly want in life and at work, a lot can be done to help you achieve it.
This article will discuss some steps that may be helpful in setting effective career goals.
A goal properly set is halfway reached ~ Zig Ziglar
Goal Setting plays an important role in constantly reminding yourself, envisioning yourself, and ensuring that you are making progress towards where you want to be.
You must have heard of, and even written long-term goals, short-term goals, and SMART goals periodically. But, have you heard of SMARTER goals?
Steps To Setting Effective Career Goals
Heard of SMARTER goals?
Yes, with an ER added to it, that makes goal setting more effective.
S – Specific Goals
Being specific brings in a focused approach. Gliding in generic or unknown waters, as exciting as it may sound, may not help with reaching your goals quickly. Write down why this goal is important to you, and define your outcome well.
For example, “I want to work in the Marketing services department” is a generic goal. An example of Specific would be “I want to be a content writer in the Marketing Services department.”
M – Measurable Goals
Now, this is a periodic activity that will help you measure your capabilities on your goal based on what you have achieved thus far. These will help you with the continuous improvement of your skills or actions to be the best in your field of work.
For example, “I will commit to writing at least 2 articles a week to improve my writing skills”. In addition to this, “I will take up a course on content writing and also use online assistant tools to measure and improve my article’s readability score”.
A – Achievable Goals
Are you setting realistic goals? A reality check is important during goal setting. Set only those, that you are capable of achieving, they encourage you to push more and motivate you to set further goals in the future.
For example, am I capable of becoming an established content writer within the next six months? Do I have the time and skills to achieve it within the set time frame?
R – Relevant Goals
There are two aspects to this. One is if the goal is important to you right now. The second is if the goal is relevant to your current line of work or aspiring line of work. When goals are time-bound, they should be both relevant and important.
For example, I love painting, but is that what I aspire to do? If not, should I stick to goals relevant to content writing alone?
T – Time-Bound Goals
Time waits for no man, and goals set with time frames are more motivating than the ones that aren’t. Our human minds tend to work better and more efficiently when there is a defined deadline.
For example, “I want to be a content writer sometime in the future”, which will lead to procrastination. “I want to get a job as a content writer within the next six months” sounds more like you want to make an effort to achieve it.
SMART so far, to make it SMARTER, here’s what will help:
E – Evaluate Goals
Periodic evaluation of your progress towards achieving your goals helps you stay focused, and works wonders with regards to meeting your deadlines. It helps you determine your stance and strategize better.
For example, "Have I been able to consistently churn out two articles a week?" Or, “How well has my latest article been received by my audience/coach?”, will help you periodically evaluate your stance.
R – Re-adjust Goals
Based on your recent evaluation and stance, re-adjusting your goals, if need be, helps you get back on track with a more focused approach towards achieving your goals. When the going gets slow, you know it is time for re-adjustment of strategy.
For example, to get a job as a content writer, I need to empower my skills with content writing courses instead of continuing with basic writing skills.
Ready To Set Career Goals?
Here’s the gist:
(S) – I want to be a content writer
(M) – by consistently practicing through writing at least 2 articles a week
(A) – and get a job in content writing
(R) – that perfectly matches my interests and skillsets
(T) – within the next six months
(E) – not just with self-help
(R) – with the help of a career coach or by upskilling with content writing courses and research
That being said, SMART(ER) goals could be short-term or long-term ones.
Short-term Goals vs Long-term Goals
Goals setting is a process that keeps changing with time. What you desire in your twenties, may not be as interesting for you in your thirties, may not even be part of your goal setting in your forties, and so on.
Goals are meant to be revisited from time to time and re-written based on your latest interests.
And this is why, it is important to know the difference between short-term and long-term goals, to be able to define them effectively and stay relevant in the long run.
Short-term Goals – Mostly defined to be achieved within a six months time frame. Having multiple short-term goals or breaking down long-term goals into multiple short-term goals helps you stay focused and motivated to get you to where you want to be.
Long-term Goals – These fall into the time frame of more than a year or at times 4-5 years. Long-term goals are prone to changes, and hence should be defined in a way that does not hamper your current state of progress. While short-term goals are intended to be more specific, long-term goals could be more generic to keep them relevant in case of changes in interests/desires.
The more effective your goals are, the smarter it gets!
PS: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they’ve planned for you? Not much.” ~ Jim Rohn