Tips on How to Set Career Goals
Whether you’re completely new to career goals or have been looking for a change of pace, defining them is a necessity. While many will believe that career goals merely are defined by the job or position they wish to possess, the truth is the exact goals are those that need to be taken one step at a time. This means setting both long term and short term milestones that will guide you down the path to success and steer you towards where you wish to be. Here are a few tips for making sure that you are on the right path towards your career goals.
When it comes to career goals, there are two schools of thought as far as what you should be asking for in an interview. Some people feel that you only need to ask for a job description, salary, benefits package, or even the direction you wish to take with the company. However, in today’s competitive market, most hiring managers will expect you to answer some question when you apply for a position. These questions range anywhere from what you enjoy doing outside of work, whether you have ever had an off-the-job accident, or even how much experience you have under your belt. Therefore, it is imperative to answer these questions honestly. You don’t want your interviewer to see that you are not worthy of a career move, but instead are hiding behind an irrelevant answer.
To help define your own career goals, consider how the company you are applying to may use metrics to determine just how successful you are. Companies like Microsoft, Pepsi, and Levi each have their own metrics to determine employee effectiveness. If you do not have a clear idea of what these companies look for in an employee, then you may want to focus your focus on a different area of business. Also, keep in mind that these are industry specific goals and not going to be the same metrics that your company would use to determine profitability. For example, if a company is very dependent upon technology for increasing sales, they may not want someone who enjoys working around a computer all day because the work is difficult, or they have not had any real work experience with technology.
As you begin to define your own career goals, also consider the type of employee you would like to be, as well as the type of employee you might be if you follow a specific company strategy. Many companies try to hire employees who can fill one of two roles: either a short term hire or a long term hire. A short-term employee is only employed for a specified amount of time, usually two weeks to one year, while a long term hire is likely to be employed for the remainder of the company’s existence, (within reason).
The difference between these two types of employee is that a short-term hire is typically hired for a limited period of time, so the desired end result is not necessarily to develop into a long-term career. Conversely, long-term career goals often involve long-term planning, development, and dedication. Therefore, a short-term career goal such as becoming an information systems technician could lead to long-term career goals such as becoming a network administrator, or vice versa.
Before setting career goals, it is important to think about why you wish to work in that particular field. You should write down your purpose for being in the position you are in, which will in turn guide you to set career goals. Is your desire to become an information systems technician related to gaining a position in the Information Technology field, or are you hoping that the position will lead you to a position in network administration? If you are hoping for a position in network administration, you may want to focus on the business skills required, and how those will relate to your future career goals. For example, an information systems technician will most likely be required to understand networking basics and how to configure and troubleshoot networks, in addition to basic programming and software engineering skills.
When you decide to set long-term career goals, you should set short-term goals along the way. These should be related to your short-term objective, so that you can evaluate whether or not you have reached your long-term objective. For example, if you plan to become an information systems technician, you may want to work on hands-on projects with customers to learn about the network basics required for your position. By doing this, you will be able to set the goals for your career based on real-life experience and not just theoretical knowledge.
It is very important that you set career goals because without them your career may be derailed. When you begin working in a field, you may only think about the short-term, such as making money fast and easy. However, these are not the right type of goals for people who have the goal of building a successful career. Therefore, make sure that you set long-term career goals before you start with anything else.