Ready, Set, Goals!: 5 Ways To Setting Effective Career Goals

by Angel McNeil, Contributing Writer


Over the past few posts I’ve shared best practices to help you find and plan your next career move. Today we’ll focus on what happens when you get in the door.

We know that the hard work doesn’t stop once we’ve received a company email address and a box of business cards. We know in order to improve and grow within our companies and as professionals we have to set goals. But how many of us actually do it? Today we’ll talk about 5 ways to create goals for your career. Let’s go!

1. Create a Mission Statement

Yes, individuals can have mission statements too. Just as organizations and companies use mission statements to tell what they are and who they are about, you as a professional can create your own mission statement for the same reason. Creating your mission statement can help you hone in on what is important to you, where you see yourself, and what is important to you. Using your own mission statement can help you start to pinpoint what you need to do in your career to move closer to who you are as a person.

2. Break It Down

Once you have created your mission statement you can prioritize what goals you need to set for yourself. While it is not impossible to try and achieve all your professional goals at once I would recommend deciding what you need to do first in order to move you where to go. Use your mission statement as a springboard for the goals you plan to create.

3. Make them SMART

smartSMART= (goals that are) Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented, and Timely. This simple idea can help you to achieve your goals and be able to articulate what you want and what it looks like. We might set a goal that says “I will submit my paperwork on time” but that goal is too broad. If we take that same goal and make it SMART it might say I will submit all budget reports to my manager every Friday by 4pm. This goal tells us what we are striving to do, when we are supposed to do, and who is involved in that goals. SMART goals lend us a level of accountability and motivation. Boom!

4. Find a Mentor or Accountability Partner

Everyone needs support. While we are fully capable of doing things on our own it’s black-women-mentoroften fun to add someone to your team who will keep you motivated or accountable towards reaching your goals. Is there someone who you know will make sure you are meeting those goals? Is there someone who has achieved a goal you have set for yourself? Think of the person or persons you can call on to help you reach your professional goals. Share your goals with them and decide how often they can check in with you to make sure you are on track.

5. Reflect and Revise

Once we write our goals down and share them with others it’s important to check in and reflect on your progress. When reflecting think of what evidence you have that shows you are meeting or missing your goals. If you’re on target, excellent! If you find that you just aren’t where you want to be either reflect on what you can do better or revise your goals to make them ore attainable. The great thing about goals is that they aren’t permanent. You can change them as you move along. Treat your reflection time as you would a meeting. Decide how often you plan on reflecting and place it on your calendar. Chances are you will honor that appointment if you write it down.

The best thing about goals is that you can make them whenever you feel the need to push your further. Goals can help us to reach the next level of our career or even uncover skills that you didn’t know you had. It can also show those around you how serious you are about your career. So pull up a notepad and pen or your laptop and start reflecting on where you want to go in your career or your current work situation.

What is your number goal for your career right now?

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