5 Ways to Set Short and Long-Term Goals for Your Career

By Dianna Howell

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

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Career goals are an important part of your professional success. They are just as indispensable to entry-level employees as they are to leaders seeking growth.

Let’s discuss five of the most important aspects that you should consider when setting both your short and long-term objectives.

1. Understand the Company’s Mission Statement

Where do you see yourself in five years? Having clearly established goals is the key to a prolific career.

Whether you want to ace an interview, secure a position in the retail industry, or work in the corporate offices of a company, you will need to outline a professional plan and stick to it as much as possible.

This process begins with understanding the mission statement of the organization.

According to the Business Dictionary, the purpose of this written declaration’s existence is to clearly define the direction in which it is headed, as well as what it wants to see get accomplished.

So you should go into the interview with your corresponding objectives already set.

This will give you the necessary incentive to start on the path toward success and demonstrate to your employer that you intend to get the job done.

This creates a mutually beneficial relationship between two parties who share the same philosophy.

Being like-minded is incredibly important for corporate culture, so choose your occupation wisely.

2. Determine Time Frames for Your Goals

Wanting to achieve various things is a good start, but they should also be time-specific. How long do you reckon it would take you to obtain visible results regarding a certain project?

Generally, short-term goals fall along the lines of learning new skills, breaking into novel industries, or gaining immediate experience in domains such as team building and leadership.

Long-term goals should be a lot more complex than that. Of course, you need to be able to say a lot more on this topic than “be extremely successful in my field”.

What does success mean to you specifically?

Everyone aims for triumph, so in order to set yourself apart from the crowd of dumbfounded employees, you must be able to distinctly describe what you mean by that.

3. Don’t Be Afraid of Taking on a Challenge

There will be moments in your career when you will be faced with trials concerning your aspirations.

Thus, you need to be ambitious and brave when setting both your short and your long-term objectives.

Is there something that you can achieve professionally that few employees have the courage to attempt?

Stepping up to the challenge and being the person to get the job done doesn’t only enhance your reputation in the company but also improves your skills and helps further your professional growth.

Dealing with sticky situations as work is best-approached head-on and with a clear perspective on things.

4. Keep Your Expectations Accessible and Realistic

Pushing your limits is a great way to learn new things, but did you know that unrealistic expectations are the death sentence for any shred of motivation?

If something seems too far out of your comfort zone, don’t over-exhaust your body and mind trying to accomplish it. Maintain your ambitions to an accessible level, and you will thrive.

5. Be Flexible and Ready to Adapt Your Objectives

Although you might be tempted to believe that attaining things on your own means you are a valuable asset to a firm, that isn’t exactly true most of the time.

As explained by Sara Canaday for Psychology Today, in-depth monthly feedback from your manager can change the way you look at your goals for the better.

Depending on the response you get for your work, you will be able to become much more flexible and adapt your activity.

As an outcome, you will find that some short-term goals become long-term or that your approach might not have been the best at first.

It’s important to learn from your mistakes and listen to your superiors when they point them out.

After all, they have been employed there for longer and know their way around things better.

Unless they are being rude or unreasonable, you don’t have a motive not to accept constructive criticism.

Every career goal needs a time frame. Depending on the nature of a task, as well as the company’s mission statement and your own expectations, aspirations can be met in a few months or in a couple of years.

Regardless of what your objectives are, remember to accept and learn from the feedback you are getting. This is the key to success.

How Can You Set Career Goals?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Dianna Howell
Dianna Howell
Diana Howell is an HR Manager. She runs JobInterviewAdvice, a collection of job interview resources for career searchers. Diana graduated from MBA Managerial and Organizational Behavior, the University of Chicago.
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