Developing a career goal is a great way to take charge of planning your career and a useful tool to manage your career effectively. Many individuals may not know how to develop a career goal; follow the steps below to help you determine where to start. There are a few steps that can be helpful in determining your career goal, which include: conducting a self-assessment, exploring industries and careers, and determining factors that are non-negotiable (e.g., geographic location, salary requirements, and health care benefits). The final step of goal setting is writing the first draft of your goal.
Step 1: Self-Assessment
- What do you do well?
- What energizes you?
- If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?
- What high school subjects did you do well in?
- What issues do family and friends come to you for help?
- What do you receive praise for at work or home?
- What are some of your greatest accomplishments?
- What is something you do where you lose track of time when you are doing it?
If you would like to take an online self-assessment to learn more about yourself, you may take TypeFocus. Visit the Self- Discovery Resources page of My Career to learn how you can register to take the assessment.
Step 2: Career Exploration
Explore job industries by conducting research on the type of careers that use your interests and skillset. O*Net OnLine, the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and Bureau of Labor Statistics are great web resources for career exploration, job analysis, and education requirements.
Ask a professional in your career field of interest for an informational interview. Informational interviews allow you to gather information from a direct contact about his or her role. There are various ways to pursue an informational interview. For example, company websites, social networking sites, newspaper ads, and professional associations are avenues a job seeker can take.
Also, while deciding on a goal, consider your current lifestyle and where you would like to be in the future. Some helpful questions to consider are listed below.
- Does the career you want pay a salary that meets your needs?
- Will it offer you opportunities to advance?
- Are you comfortable sitting at a desk all day, or do you prefer to travel?
- Is the career you are considering likely to exist when you are ready for a job?
Step 3: Determining your non-negotiable items
Although we may not speak them aloud, we each have things we are not willing to compromise on. During this step, write out your “must haves” for your future career.
To help get you started, think about the minimum salary you need to have, where you want to live, and desired work hours.
|Must Have||Do Not Want|
Step 4: Pulling it all together – Write the first draft of your goal
Now that you have conducted a self-assessment, explored industries and occupations, and written down your non-negotiable items, what are your future career goals? In the space below, write your career goal. Be as specific as possible.
Example Career Goal
I would like to become a project manager within a large organization (5000+ employees) utilizing my organizational skills, education in organization development, my ability to strategically plan, and my detail-oriented nature. Since I have a family, I must have a salary of $50,000 or more, work within 25 miles of Houston, Texas, and work a 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. traditional work schedule.
What is your goal?
Write your specific goal below.