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10 Great Examples of Career Goals to Achieve Success

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What are 10 Career Goals to Have?

Achieving career success means different things to different people. For some, it’s the corner office and a key to the executive washroom. For others, it’s feeling passionate about their work. Regardless of how you define success, you have a better chance of achieving it by setting goals. As you think about where you want to be in the future, consider working toward some of these goals that will help you get there. Some of these goals can be measurable, but others are not if they relate to new skills and career development tactics.

Career goals can be both short-term goals and long-term goals. Some smart goal examples can include securing a new job, improving communication skills, building a professional network, working on project management, having a performance review, starting your own business, starting a podcast, having a work-life balance, setting professional goals, or to stand out to team members. Having your own goals, aside from company goals, can help you improve in the new year and can allow you to see your own improvements over time in certain areas of focus. Metrics can be used to measure success from your goals by looking at in-person rates of success and communication with coworkers and teams on projects and assignments.

Many goals can be time-bound, but not all are limited to certain time frames as they can span across your career experience. While some goals can be specific goals in certain areas of your career, others can focus on building soft skills or other skill sets, setting professional development goals, having personal development, attending or hosting networking events, or work goals for emotional intelligence. Long-term career goals can be used for personal success or company success overall, like in career development goals, business owners, or achievable goals for a team to complete together. These goals can act as milestones to accomplish throughout your career path, from job interview completeness to set career goals for your dream job.

While there are many examples of professional goals, we think these career goals examples can help you in your career journey:

1. Exceed Performance Expectations

Chances are, your supervisor has provided a breakdown of his expectations for performance in your job responsibilities. How well you meet these expectations can not only influence your earnings (i.e., whether or not you get a raise) but whether you are considered for more responsibility and promotions. Make it your mission to not only meet, but exceed these expectations to move up the ladder faster.

2. Further Education

According to a 2015 study by Georgetown University, people who have master’s degrees earn an average of $17,000 more per year than those with only a bachelor’s degree. More than just increasing your earnings, though, earning an advanced degree – or even just taking classes to build your skill base – can open up new opportunities for you and help you qualify for jobs that might have previously been out of reach.

3. Get Certified

In some fields, like IT, holding a certification in a specific skill or subject matter can make the difference between staying in the same job for years and moving into better paying positions with more responsibility. Even if a certification isn’t required for a specific job, holding such credentials can set you apart from other applicants when you’re job hunting, increasing the likelihood that you can land your dream job.

4. Find a Mentor

Mentors can help guide you through your career, offering advice, insight and feedback to help you navigate the complexities of your industry and make better choices. A mentor can also help you set goals, make plans and provide access to the knowledge and people you need to move forward. Set a goal to find a mentor and develop a relationship that will serve you well throughout your career.

5. Build Your Network

A recent survey by LinkedIn revealed that more than 80 percent of all jobs are found through networking. Building connections is an important part of career success, so if you want to move forward, strive to build a larger network based on real relationships. Join industry groups, attend local business events and conferences and reach out to others in your field to create the connections that will give your career momentum.

6. Become a Thought Leader

Do you have unique insights into your industry? Do you have a fresh perspective on existing information? If so, establish a goal to become a thought leader. Start a blog; comment on other blogs or social posts, and make yourself visible in the community by sharing your ideas and interpretations about trends and news in your field. It will take time, and requires establishing a personal brand to gain a reputation, but with hard work and consistently adding to the conversation, you can establish yourself as an expert and thought leader, which can lead to new opportunities.

7. Learn to Say No and Delegate

Learning to say no might seem counterproductive to moving forward in your career, but success requires identifying which opportunities are right for you, and avoiding or declining those that aren’t in line with your goals. At the same time, learning how to delegate (or even eliminate) those tasks that don’t support your goals is important so you can focus on the activities that move you forward. If you struggle in this area, set a goal to work on these traits so you can improve your focus.

8. Improve Your Time Management

Personal success expert Brian Tracy argues that time is the most valuable resource that anyone has. Are you making the most of it? Or are you wasting time on activities that don’t matter or don’t bring value to your life? Learning to manage your time more effectively and focusing on priorities will not only help you find the time you need to work toward other goals, but will also allow you to spend time on things that bring personal fulfillment, which is just as important as career success.

9. Develop Public Speaking Skills

Public speaking is one of the most common fears among adults, but it’s an important skill to have. The ability to speak comfortably in front of others can help you not only do your job better if you need to make presentations, but should you move into a leadership position, you’re going to need to call on your speaking skills to motivate, educate and inspire your team.

10. Create a Stronger Online Presence

Finally, because employers are looking at candidates’ online profiles as part of the hiring process, you should make it a goal to maintain the best possible presence that speaks to your skills and experience. This means not only cleaning up your social media profiles, but also building your brand so that the first search results employers find create a positive impression. Create a personal website that supports your brand, or try blogging to create a great online impression.


An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in careers, business, education, and lifestyle topics. The author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), which covers everything from career and financial advice to furnishing your first apartment, her work has also appeared in Young Money, Lewiston Auburn Magazine, USA Today, and a variety of online outlets. She's also been quoted as a career expert in many newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Parade. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.

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