These Tips Will Help You Set – and Reach – Your Professional Development Goals

It’s one thing to set professional goals – in fact, it’s critical to your career development and also downright exciting to do just that – but you also need a strategy for reaching them.

Because, while your goals may be big and realistic in the long run, they can also be pretty intimidating when you first begin to consider them. Don’t let this stop you, though. You need a roadmap for getting there, step by step.

Make It Happen

When it comes to achieving and maybe even exceeding your professional development goals, you do you. If your employer has resources or programs to help, that’s a plus. But if not, or even if you’re not even currently employed, take the initiative. Define those goals and then flesh out that roadmap to success.

Start with your end goal in mind.

Then work backward. Build into your plan the steps it will take to reach your professional goal, the skills, experience, and other requirements to get there, and a projected time frame.

  • If you’re not completely sure what you need to work on, a good place to start might be your latest performance review. Or, ask your boss – or a mentor, trusted colleague, or professor or another teacher – “If I could improve one thing related to my career aspirations, what do you think it should be?”
  • Set SMART goals – for the smaller steps along the way, as well as your final pinnacle.

    SMART goals help ensure that your objectives are clear and easy to understand, and therefore, reachable. SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific: Your goals should be distinct, not vague. Be sure you know exactly what you want to accomplish, why, and what steps and resources you need.
  • Measurable: You need metrics to track your progress.
  • Achievable: AKA realistic. If you set unattainable goals, then they will be just that.
  • Relevant: Your goals must matter to you and align with your other high-priority life plans.
  • Timebound: Every goal needs a deadline to keep you accountable. Even if circumstances require that you make changes, never abandon your strategy’s timebound/deadline aspect.
  • Make reaching your target a priority.

    There are only so many hours in a day. So, consciously carve out time in your schedule so you can stay on plan with meeting your goals.

  • Hint: Something else may have to go, like spending your lunch hour shopping online instead of reviewing your notes for the quiz coming up in that class you’re taking.
  • Check your progress regularly.

    Remember the “M” in SMART? Schedule regular times to check your progress towards both your smaller tasks and your ultimate end goal.

  • How’s it going? What adjustments are needed? You may want to consider a buddy system: Pair up with a friend or coworker and you can keep each other on track.
  • At PrideStaff Fresno, our best-in-class approach to career development has helped thousands of people find the right jobs, as well as reach their ultimate professional goals. Our team of experts serves as experienced resource persons, connected networkers, and coaches, all rolled into one. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.