Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Professional Goal Setting: What You Need To Know

As we move into the latter part of the semester, we must begin planning for the next. Selecting courses, signing up for extracurricular activities, and rearranging work schedules, are all a part of the process. While transitions can be overwhelming, it is best to be prepared for them by keeping in mind the bigger picture. This "bigger picture" is defined by the goals we set and the actions we take to move forward in our personal and professional developments.


Why Set Goals? 

Setting goals keeps you motivated and inspires you to think long-term and prioritize accordingly. This is especially useful in the job-search process. If you can project into the future your ideal work situation, you can take the appropriate steps to move forward in pursuing your career endeavors. 

By organizing time and resources, you can maximize your experiences. Setting clearly defined goals can help you focus on the task at hand, bringing you closer to achieving your goals. 

Where to Start ...


1. Establish your needs and values 

  • Needs: things you personally need to be your best self 
  • Values: activities, preferences, and behaviors that you naturally gravitate toward and hold in high esteem
    • Once you differentiate between the two, you can identify how they work together in helping you pursue your goals  

2. Decide what you want: Identify your short-term and long-term professional goals

  • First, establish your long-term career goals and then determine the short-term activities that will help you reach them
  • Once this is done, WRITE THEM DOWN! Writing down goals is a critical piece in constructing and executing your career plan

3. Follow Your Plan

  • Make SMART goals 
    • S - Specific 
      • Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How ?
    • M - Measurable
      • How will you evaluate your success?
    • A - Achievable 
      • Can these lead to an attainable outcome?
    • R - Relevant
      • How do these fit in with your responsibilities?
    • T - Timely
      • Set target dates to guide you
  • Remember, you want your goals to be realistic and achievable!

4. Review and Amend Your Plan

  • Sadly, not all of our goals will be achieved; but don't be discouraged! Like anything, as you set off on your career path, you will face obstacles along the way. Reflect on your current situation and how your goals fit. Amend them as need be and move forward! Don't get stuck harping on the goals that have not been met. Maybe they were not meant to be, and that's okay!

5. Celebrate Your Successes! 

  • As you move forward on your career path, surround yourself with loving and supportive people. Not everyone will understand your motivation to succeed or your desired career, but don't allow their thoughts to sway you from pursuing your dream. The ones that do, however, will be key players in helping you stay on track and move forward in your field. As you accomplish smaller goals and continue to reach toward the long-term goals, celebrate your achievements! Reward yourself for your hard work and determination.

Setting goals can be challenging and may seem insignificant, but I can assure you it is instrumental in helping you accomplish your professional and personal aspirations. Some final tips to help you succeed, include:

  • Decide what you want to achieve in your life (and write it down!) 
  • Separate what's important from what's irrelevant (balance is key) 
  • Motivate yourself (by remembering what you have accomplished thus far)
  • Believe in yourself and build your self-confidence (always!) 

So as you plan ahead for your next semester, next year, and next work experience, remember to challenge yourself by setting goals. These goals will keep you on track, and will enable you to go farther than imaginable! 

Don't forget ... 

Stop by the Center for Career Development to learn more about goal setting and pursuing, resume building, internships, and more! We are eager and willing to help you progress in your career development!!

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