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How Do I Write the Best Short-Term Goals for Applications?

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An application might ask you to list your short-term goals to help an employer make a quick assessment of your motivations for applying, such as why you're applying, how long you might stay in the job or whether you want to use that job as a stepping stone to advancement in the same organization. If you don't take time to write short-term goals carefully, an employer might decide you aren't worthy of an interview.

Finding Perspective

Short-term goals are just temporary ones that help you reach a long-term goal. First, sit down and ask yourself what career you want to have in five, 10 or 15 years. If you have the end goal in mind, you can write better short-term goals that will facilitate your progress toward that goal. For example, you might want to be in management in five years but feel you need some experience in a particular industry first.

Asking Questions

When you know your end goal, ask yourself questions that will help you write short-term goals. Consider what skills, degrees, certifications, licenses or years of experience you need to reach that far-off goal. To be a doctor, for example, you need four years of college, four years of medical school, and additional years in an internship and possibly in a residency. Taking the long view and writing incremental goals for the journey help you decide whether the entire adventure is worth it.

Making Goals Actionable

Write goals in an actionable form. Include one or more strong verbs in the goal that helps readers understand your intention. Don't say "Creative advertising position with medium-sized company." Instead, say "To secure a creative advertising position in a medium-sized company." Leaving out strong verbs creates too much of a question mark inside your reader's mind. He wonders whether you will really achieve your goal.

Concentrating on Strengths

Many people reach a point in their careers when they realize they have had enough time to experiment with different industries and occupational roles. They realize it's important to focus on a kind of job at which they excel. As you write short-term goals, ask yourself if each goal, however wonderfully worded, will utilize your strengths. Be honest with yourself about how much time you have to go about developing weaker abilities before reaching your long-term goal.


Audra Bianca has been writing professionally since 2007, with her work covering a variety of subjects and appearing on various websites. Her favorite audiences to write for are small-business owners and job searchers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Master of Public Administration from a Florida public university.

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