Setting concrete career goals is a smart idea, and SMART is the acronym used to describe the components of an effective goal. Your career goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Learn how to set reasonable and attainable goals to increase your chances of fulfilling your vocational dreams.
Make an inventory of your strengths and interests. Think about the aspects of previous jobs you've enjoyed the most, such as training other people or working in a team, and add them to your list. Include interests you have outside of work, such as canoeing and photography. This information provides a starting point for goal-setting. When you create your goals, keep the SMART acronym in mind. Instead of writing, "Learn how to fix things," write "Next semester, enroll in an appliance repair class at the community college."
Setting a major goal without creating a road map to that point can be an exercise in frustration. You are unlikely to meet such goals without a series of short-term and intermediate goals along the way. Some short-term career goals may be, "Within the next month, apply to five colleges that have a strong education program" or "Sign up to take the GMAT by next month."
Intermediate goals typically take three to five years to accomplish, according to Nadine Katz, a medical professor quoted in Forbes magazine. Examples of an intermediate goal might be, "Enroll in an MBA program and complete it" or "Participate in two significant architectural digs."
Long-term goals are the grand prize of your career -- at least until you set new ones. Like the previous goals, they should be specific and achievable in a set period of time. A long-term goal might be, "Within six years, become the manager of a large car dealership."