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How to set SMART Goals for Your Career

Posted by: Gavin Au-Yeung Date: December 8, 2020 Category: Blog

Setting goals is a process that opens up exciting possibilities for goal setters who are hoping to improve their lives. At the same time, it is easy for goal setters to get carried away by creating unrealistic or unachievable goals. While we encourage everyone to “dream big,” it is also important for goal setters to be smart about their career goals. SMART goals refer to goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Considering all five aspects of SMART will help you create realistic and manageable goals. Continue reading to learn more about setting SMART goals and avoiding unrealistic goals.

Related article: 7 Questions for Career Goal Setting


The more specific your goal is, the better. The idea is to target a specific area for improvement. Specific goals are helpful because they provide very clear directions and guidelines as to how your goal can be accomplished. On the other hand, you want to avoid vague goals that may seem far-away and difficult to achieve.

Guiding Question: What am I trying to accomplish?


A SMART goal will include some sort of number or quantifying figures to measure growth. Having a measurable goal is a great way to identify progress being made. A specific and measurable goal will provide a clear “finish line” for you to measure your success. Marketers use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to gauge success. In a similar fashion, your goals should have KPIs which identify your own progress.

Guiding question: How will I know that my goal has been achieved?


Choose realistic or achievable goals so that you aren’t setting yourself up for failure. Goal setters should do plenty of research about their desired outcome to understand what is realistically achievable. On the other hand, unrealistic goals will be difficult to meet and may cause you to lose motivation in pursuing future goals. Avoid aiming too far or shooting for unobtainable goals.

Guiding question: Which obstacles or requirements may get in your way of achieving the goal?


Take relevant action that will help you reach your final goal. In other words, all your goals should align with your broader career goals. This may mean making many small-goals in order to achieve your larger career-related goals. By having multiple short-term goals, you will eventually achieve your final goal. However, if your short-term goals are irrelevant, they will not contribute to your overall success.  Avoid goals that stray away from what you truly want and don’t lose sight of your final goal.

Guiding question: How do my actions contribute to my main goal?


Keep your goals on schedule by giving them a timeframe or “due date” that is realistically achievable. Giving yourself a target deadline for these goals will provide additional motivation for you. On the other hand, goals without deadlines may seem open-ended. Avoid being too lenient with deadlines because you may end up procrastinating and avoiding your goals.

Guiding question: When can this goal be achieved?

Hoping to Achieve your Career Goals?

Internationally trained newcomers have plenty of skills to offer the Canadian workforce. However, securing a job in a desired career field often takes time and planning. Goal setting is a great way for job seekers to find meaningful careers. Career Loans is here to help skilled newcomers in Alberta and Saskatchewan return to a desired career field. Through our free services, members can receive career and financial counselling so that career goals can become a reality. Eligible members may also apply for a micro loan of up to $15,000 to help cover the costs of achieving your goals.

Learn more and register today by clicking here!

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