Monday, January 22, 2018

3 Ways to Set Meaningful Career Goals

A recent survey by Accountemps finds that 93% of workers say that goal setting is important to their on-the-job performance.

Makes sense.

But here's the part that doesn't make sense: While 51% say they talk to their managers about their goals -- 11% never even bring up the subject.

I'm pretty sure that most managers are not mind readers (despite the fact they seem to know when to call a meeting at the exact minute you're trying to leave work early). So, how exactly is a manager supposed to help you meet your goals if you don't talk about it, or even broach the subject?

Maybe you feel your boss isn't interested in your goals, or that it's her job to bring is up. (Uh, no.) There really is no excuse for not having this discussion with your boss, and there is no one to blame but yourself if you constantly get passed over for promotions or don't get to work on great projects. 

It's time to get past whatever is preventing you from talking about what you want out of your career. Here are some ways suggested by Accountemps, with some additions from me:

1. Write them down. Don't attempt to talk to your boss about your goals if you're not clear about them. You can start more generally: "I'd like to get more interesting assignments," but try to drill down and come up with more concrete ideas: "I'd like to get more interesting assignments, and that means I'm going to need more training on the new software or would like transition from doing X to doing Y."

2. Set a deadline. Many career goals have been undermined by the daily grind of a "to do" list or the demands of a current project. You'll easily come up with excuses and not talk to the boss if you don't give yourself a deadline. In addition, it may take a couple of weeks for the boss to clear her calendar to have a meaningful, one-on-one conversation with you, so set deadlines and stick to them.

3. Dream big. If you're going to take the time to think about your career goals, don't limit yourself to the next six months or a year. Think about your dream job, and then work backwards. What would it take to get you there? You may not have all the answers, so look at those in your dream jobs (check our LinkedIn), and see how they moved into that position. 

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