November 17, 2009

Tuesday Tips: How to Set Career Goals

It has been a while since I’ve featured one of our Tuesday Tips here on the blog, so I thought we should get back to that.

Today, I want to talk about the importance of goal setting.

I will never forget a motivational speaker I heard way back in the 8th grade, who talked about the subject of setting goals. He said something to the effect of:
It’s better to shoot for the stars and miss, than to shoot for a pile of s**t and hit!
(Looking back on that memory, I’m realizing that the speaker’s “colorful language” is probably why I so vividly remember that quote.)

Whatever your career aspirations — from professional fulfillment to earning a six-figure salary — goals are your pathway to getting there. Clearly defined goals help you to:

  • Stay focused
  • Remember your values and priorities
  • Stay motivated in the face of discouraging setbacks
  • Be in control of your own destiny

Now that’s great, but what if your goal seems impossibly far off? You set mini-goals or short-term goals. In other words, you map out your course with these mini-goals as your signposts. Take losing weight, for example. Someone with over 100 pounds to lose will probably get very discouraged in those early months and weeks when the big 100-pound goal still seems so far away. Instead, he or she can break up that goal into readily achievable mini-goals — the first 5 pounds, the first 10% of body weight, the first 25 pounds, etc. etc. By setting up these mini-goals along the way, you know that you are on the right course, and you build momentum by getting to “taste success” along the way.

The same applies to your career goals. Your short-term goals might include earning a degree or relevant certification, getting an internship in your field, finding a professional mentor, joining a networking group, etc. You can even break your job search into mini-goals: Send out 15 resumes, make 5 networking calls, go on 3 interviews, and so on.

You can read more about career goal setting in the JobMonkey Job Hunting tools section.

What are your best tips for setting goals — and how do you achieve them?

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