Why is setting career goals important? As you've probably heard many times before, it's pretty hard to get where you want to be if you don't have a route map of how to get there. But let's turn that saying around: you can't make a route map until you know where you want to go.
So let's make some career goals — ones that you can actually use as signposts along the way to your ultimate dream job.
1. Define the dream.
This is where you put aside all thoughts of limitations, and write down what you really want to do in your work life. Even if it's something totally different from what you're doing now.
· What activities you enjoy and are good at.
· What types of position you feel most comfortable with: being the leader or the follower, doing your own thing or contributing to an established mission.
· Which is more important: soul satisfaction or salary.
2. Determine a timeline for achieving the goal.
This is where you perform a reality check. If you've just graduated college, it's going to take longer to reach the C-suite of a Fortune 500 company, than if you're already a professional graphic designer and your goal is to move the next step up to creative director.
3. Break the big goal down into intermediate goals.
This is where the vision becomes doable. If you're in an entry level job right now, it might seem impossible that you could one day own your own company. But you can easily manage the first step: take a course or read some books on how to become an entrepreneur. Then the second step becomes a realistic target, and so on.
· What specific skills and experience your dream job requires
· How you will acquire those skills and experience
· Who can help you achieve your goals
· How your intermediate steps will work with your current commitments
Each step is a both a target and a reward for you to celebrate on the road to your career destination. With planning, patience and persistence, there's no telling how far you can go!