How to Achieve Long-Term Career Goals

February 22nd, 2013

Are you on track for success in your  career? If your answer is “I don’t know” or even “I think so,” it’s time to start setting goals.

In any career, it’s important to think about where you want to go and how you want to get there. And a great way to plan your route is to work in reverse – decide where you want to go, then work backward to figure out the steps that will get you there.

Go Long… But Not Too Long

“Long term” doesn’t have to mean for the rest of your life. Try making plans in five-year increments. What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years?  Divide your goals into two groups: conceptual and operational. Conceptual goals are more big picture and focus on your wants and needs, while operational goals are the steps you take to meet those wants and needs.

Think about your ambitions and your preferences. Ask yourself:

  • What do I enjoy doing?
  • What am I good at?
  • What aspects of a job are most important to me?

Then use the answers to these questions to develop your conceptual goals. For example:

  • I want to work from home to be closer to my kids.
  • I want a job in a creative profession.
  • I want to own my own business.

Let’s say you have five years of experience and your long-term operational objective is to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. That objective will take many years and many steps to reach. That’s why, to back up your long-term vision, you have to devise short-term steps to reach your long-term aims.

Short-term Career Goals

What do you need to do now and in the immediate future to reach those long-term goals?

Just as with your long-term goals, you need to identify both conceptual and operational short-term aims. What things do you need and want that can be achieved in less than five years?

Ask yourself:

  • What skills do I need to have in order to achieve my long-term aspirations?
  • What knowledge do I need?
  • What industry should I focus my attention on?

Short-term conceptual goals might include gaining more responsibility in a current position, furthering your education to make you more qualified for a position you want or finding a source of money to pay for that education. Your short-term targets should support your long-term objectives, so make sure they align.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a recent college graduate looking to land your first job, a professional seeking to advance in an existing career or a person who wants to change careers—it’s never too late to start planning. And if you could use a little assistance reaching your short-term or long-term goals for success, contact the pros at Synerfac. We’ll be glad to help you get there!

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