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Knowing where you want to go helps you set your course. The same is true in your career: setting career goals helps you pave your path to achieve them. Not sure where to start? We’ve come up with some tips for IT professionals and engineers to set career goals that will help them achieve the things they want – and have a happy working (and personal) life.
Whether you’re just starting out in your career or are already a good few years in, making a career plan is the first step to setting your career goals. This should include your short-, medium- and long-term goals. Under each goal range, list the activities you need to undertake to achieve them. You can see an example template here.
While your skills may well be transferable across different sectors, having goals aligned to just one industry will mean you can achieve so much more. Your knowledge-base will expand to include not just your job-specific expertise, but also expertise specific to the industry you have chosen. Becoming an expert makes you a job candidate who will be in-demand across your chosen sector.
Giving yourself the time needed to achieve your career goals is vital. Being realistic about what you can achieve, and what your chosen industry can deliver, against your short-, medium-, and long-term goals is vital to keep your plan on track.
Use the SMART measurements to keep track of your goals:
Here’s an example of what this looks like in action: I want to be Head of IT / Engineering (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant) by 2020 (Time-bound). You can do this for each of your short-, medium- and long-term goals and the actions you’ve specified to achieve them.
Even the best laid plans need to be open for adjustments and alterations based on changes in your personal life, the marketplace and technologies. Something might come along that will mean a goal you set two years ago is no longer relevant. That’s why it’s important to accept that your career plan is a fluid and dynamic entity that can guide you, but also change with you.
For true job satisfaction and a happy work life, you need to make sure that the goals you’re setting for your career are also compatible with the ones you have in your personal life. For example, if a personal goal you have is to achieve something in the conservation world, a career in the oil and gas industry is probably not going to be the one for you.
It’s important to follow the plan you’ve put in place and keep yourself on track towards your goals. Get colleagues, friends and family on board to help keep you motivated and your eye on the goals. Reward yourself when you achieve your goals, recognize how hard you’ve worked to reach them, and take time to enjoy the journey.
If you follow these tips you will be able to get a realistic, achievable career plan in place that gives you both job and personal satisfaction. Good luck!