What are your career goals? Do you have them? Do you need them? What happens if you’re asked what your career goals are in an interview? How do you answer? Is this question even important?
WHAT ARE CAREER GOALS?
In a nutshell, career goals are the milestones you hope to hit as you advance in your chosen profession. A career goal is a well-defined statement explaining the profession that an individual intends to pursue throughout his career. It is important for every employee or job seeker to define their career goals clearly. It helps them to come up with effective action plans.
Career development goals are a way to gain more experience and improve your skills in the workplace. There are a variety of career goals and you can achieve depending on your interests. You might set individual goals or collaborate with team members to enhance your skills.
WHY CAREER GOALS ARE IMPORTANT?
Career goals are objectives to improve your skills and motivation. You can combine your personal interests with skills or performance goals to achieve success at work. For example, if you want to expand your computer programming skills, and your manager needs help creating a website, you can offer to learn more on the topic to assist.
Setting career goals encourages skill improvement. You may learn enough to apply for a promotion, or you could change careers based on your new abilities. Creating goals to achieve over a set amount of time gives you the initiative to work hard, get motivated and advance in your role.
Career development goals may make your job easier as you become quicker and more productive based on what you learn. Setting professional development goals also shows your manager you are serious about your job and want to continue to excel in it.
EXAMPLES OF CAREER DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Here is a list of 10 sample career development goals to help you create your own:
COMPLETE A PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATE OR DEGREE
A great career goal is earning a professional certificate or degree in your related field. Continuing education improves your current skills and can help you in the future if you want to apply for a promotion or change careers. There are a variety of programs available in different industries, and many institutions offer evening courses to accommodate work schedules.
Some employers offer professional development programs to invest in the growth of their employees. Ask your manager or human resources representative if your company has a professional development program so you can continue to learn industry-related skills.
LEARN HOW OTHER DEPARTMENTS FUNCTION
Learning how different departments operate can help you contribute more to the company. When you learn how your role affects different departments, you can alter work habits to make another division function smoother. You could make one of your development goals to schedule a few hours or a day to spend with each department.
ASK FOR FEEDBACK
Asking for feedback from your manager and team members is a good way to see how others perceive you. You should strive to be a valuable member of the team, so it is helpful to determine what skills you should develop. Consider setting a goal to check in with a few colleagues every quarter. They should be able to provide constructive feedback, including what you could improve and where you excel.
IMPROVE PERFORMANCE METRICS
Performance metrics are data collected to measure behavior and activities in relation to overall performance. Increasing your performance metrics at work can prove how your efficiency.
Examples of metrics to track include finding ways to decrease the company’s overall costs and making sure you deliver projects by their deadlines. You can set both short- and long-term goals to work toward. Consider keeping track of your performance metrics to see how you improve over the year. You can also use positive metrics to supplement a request for a raise or promotion.
APPLY FOR A PROMOTION
One way to challenge yourself is to apply for a promotion. A position with more responsibility could help you gain new skills and continue to enhance your career. When you are ready for a promotion, make a list of projects you have completed to discuss with your manager and their impact on the business. You could also mention any skills you are excited to learn, such as leading a team.
ENHANCE YOUR NETWORKING SKILLS
Improving networking skills increases your chances of experiencing new opportunities. You can begin networking by talking to new coworkers or speaking with colleagues in other departments. Another way to network is by attending professional events where you meet new people with similar interests. Some networking events focus around learning more about a new aspect of an industry. Not only could you improve your business-related knowledge but also build a stronger professional network.
DEVELOP YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Delivering and receiving clear information increases workplace efficiency. Consider setting a career goal to improve your written, interpersonal and verbal communication skills. For example, to improve your verbal communication skills, take a public speaking class that helps you feel more comfortable delivering presentations.
Written communication is another important professional development goal to work toward. Before you send an email, proofread it to confirm that it is clear, free of errors and concise. Enable an automatic spell checker on your web browser so each email you send is more likely to be error free and professional.
WORK WELL ON A TEAM
Working efficiently on a team shows your supervisor that they can depend on you. If you are currently on a project team, take initiative and organize meetings to discuss your progress. When you attend meetings, make sure to listen to everyone carefully, then offer your opinion. Considering everyone’s ideas can help increase collaboration during a group project. Additionally, you can try to help your coworkers with any challenges or obstacles they might experience.
VOLUNTEER TO LEARN NEW TECHNOLOGY
It is important to stay current with your industry’s technology. Learning new software or programs related to your field shows that you are willing to embrace new technology and maximize productivity. You could also learn a new technology that helps your team or supervisor. For example, if your manager needs to correct an error on your company’s website, you could learn the basics of a coding language to find the error and fix it.
MAKE A WEBSITE
One way to develop professionally is to make a personal website. On your personal website, you can include your professional portfolio, resume, personal mission statement or blog. When you are applying for jobs, send a link to your website for hiring managers to review additional information about projects you’ve completed and specific achievements. You can also include your contact information on your website to expand your professional network.
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