If you’re new to the workforce, you probably have a lot on your mind. You’ve got to impress the boss, mingle with co-workers and prove you’re the next rising star. Granted, you never know where your career will take you. Your first job could be a great fit or it could make you second-guess your chosen field. Either way, you’ll want to create a few long-term goals in order to set your career on the right path. Here are ways to create career goals that pay off in a huge way.
Find your calling
Some people are very money-motivated, but most are looking for career fulfillment, not just a big paycheck. That’s especially true of the newest members of the workforce who took their first job because they saw an opportunity for personal development. It’s more difficult to change industries later on in your career when you have a family to support and need a steady paycheck.
Develop a broad skill set
Today, you’re hard-pressed to find a job that requires one skill and one skill only. Employers want to hire people with a spectrum of talents. Hence, instead of concentrating on what you want your job title to be in five years, focus on developing skills that will make you more marketable to future employers. Start by honing your communication skills. You may also want to take a writing class since nearly every industry will require you to write something, be it an email or an annual report.
Set a timeline for education
Depending on your chosen field, you may have to complete certain training, certification programs or education to excel in your career. To avoid getting sidetracked, set a goal to acquire the skill or degree within a specific time period. If getting an MBA will increase your earning potential, it’s probably worth the investment; but if the degree isn’t relevant to your work, you might be better off going without.
Distinguish yourself in the field
To become a leader, you’ll need to raise your visibility at your current company and in your field. Show the boss you’ve got management potential by spearheading an initiative. Working on a group project? Be the one who presents the report to your manager. Join an industry group or association and regularly attend networking events.
Align your life goals with your career goals
Think about where you want to be in five years in terms of your personal life. Looking to start a family in your hometown? Build your career there. See what the average salary is for someone in your industry with five years’ experience, and determine whether you need to make adjustments in order to stay on course.
Develop new goals
No matter how much preparation you do to work toward achieving your goals, know that nothing is set in stone—and that’s OK. Your goals may change with time, and it’s important to be flexible. If you notice your career path is moving in a new and unexpected direction, allow yourself to explore it rather than resist it. The workplace changes, industries change, and you yourself will change too. What’s important is that you can identify these changes and adjust your goals accordingly.
By Damilola Faustino