Planning for your career is great, but plans are only good if the proper actions are taken. Thus far, you have been researching and planning for your career exploration process. In the final stage of career exploration, you will be taking action towards turning your career dreams into reality. To achieve your dreams, we will discuss the importance of goal setting.
During this final stage of the Career Exploration process, you will write a career action plan. This action plan is a set of self-identified goals which will guide you to reaching your desired career. Everyone’s career action plan will differ to accommodate for unique personal circumstances and career aspirations. When thinking of your career action plan, it is helpful to include both long- and short-term goals.
Why Set Goals?
Goal setting is very important when taking action in order to reach your dream job. The goals you set – whether short or long – will be the stepping stones which bring you closer towards your desired career. It is also helpful to consider foreseeable barriers which may prevent your goals from being completed. This way, you can plan your actions accordingly when such barriers arise.
We recommend that you adopt the SMART goal setting method, because this will help you make well-informed decisions about setting goals for your career. SMART is a useful method which allows goal setters to stay focused on what they need to do. Simply put, SMART refers to the five characteristics of a good goal: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
What are SMART Goals?
Specific: Specific goals clearly state out what you will do and how you will achieve it. Using action words will help you make specific goals. Avoid goals which are vague or general.
Measurable: Measurable goals provide a way for goal setters to evaluate their performance. These are goals which may use metrics or data for support. Consider if your goal can be measured with deadlines and percentages so that you can clearly identify when progress is being made.
Achievable: Consider your current situation and determine if your goal is realistic. Choosing unrealistic goals will only set you up for failure. If a large goal seems difficult to achieve, try breaking it down to smaller steps which are more easily managed.
Relevant: Relevant goals should be paired with a relevant action. Your career-oriented goals should make sense within your job-function. This means that every action you take will be contributing towards the final goal.
Time-bound: Keep your goals in check by making them reachable within your own time frame. Be specific about when you will complete your goals or when you will meet specific benchmarks. Keep in mind that longer goals may be harder to account for. Therefore, it is recommended that long goals be broken down into smaller ones.
SMART Goal or Wish
The difference between a vague goal and a SMART goal is the difference between a “wish” and a “plan.” While the two may seem similar at first, there are key differences which make SMART goals more realistic and achievable.
Plans are a lot more SMART than wishes. People who make wishes may dream about achieving their goals, but only those who follow their plans will actually succeed. SMART goals help individuals by providing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound guidelines which keep people accountable and motivated.
Take Action Now
You now have all the resources needed to begin taking action towards career exploration. Feel free to revisit any of our Career Exploration themed blogs in January to read about each of the four steps and how you can achieve your career goals.
Career Loans is here to help as well. Internationally Trained Individuals (ITIs) living in Saskatchewan or Alberta may be eligible for our free counselling and micro loan services. Eligible candidates will be connected to professional career support counsellors who will work with you to meet your career goals in Canada. Visit our website to find out more and apply.