Career Goals

Throughout my years working with students and graduates who are striving to achieve career success, I’ve encouraged them to establish career goals to help guide them.

I have urged them to set their sights on “Long-term career goals.” These goals will assist them in achieving their ultimate career position over time.  I also urge them to set smaller, supporting “short-term goals.”  These goals will provide planning and focus on the individual elements needed to accomplish to achieve their overall career goal.
To understand what a “career goal” is, let’s define what the word “goal” means by thinking about how it is used in everyday conversations. First, let’s think about the word goal in terms of sports. Like a hockey “goal” or a basketball “goal”. Or, we can look at something common that many of us focus on from time to time – a goal to lose weight.

Next, let’s think of a goal in terms of something you want to obtain, whether it’s an object (car, boat), status (manager, president), money, a new job, or a promotion.

By looking at the word “goal” in these examples, we can see that an “end result” or achievement is desired. We also see that both scenarios require a “necessary effort” be put forth by an individual to accomplish their desired “end result” or achievement.
In simple terms, let’s agree to a personal Goal as:

The desired end result or achievement that can be reached or accomplished by putting forth the necessary effort.

Then, by the definition, every goal should have two parts:

  • An End Result or Achievement
  • Necessary Effort

For planning and focus in reaching Career Success, our basic definition for a goal can be used in three distinct ways: “Long-term Career Goals”, “Short-term Goals”, and “Building Block Goals”. Short-term Goals generate shorter results or accomplishments leading toward your Long-term Goals. In addition, for helping in accomplishing more involved short-term goals, I encourage the use of what I refer to as “Building Block Goals” which are short and concise defined tasks necessary to achieve a short-term goal. Which of these various goals do you think are important and why?

David Royka
National Director of Professional Relations

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