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How to Set Goals for Career Development

Throughout the years I have worked with thousands of clients and students on developing careers that are meaningful, rewarding, and unique. One of the constants I have seen over and over in those that are most successful in their career development is the ability to set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that helps test a goal to make it more concrete and actionable. 

smart goal setting concept

S – Specific. The more specific, the more successful your goals will be. If the goals are too broad or vague it will be difficult to act on.

M – Measurable. Goals need to be quantifiable so that you can see when you hit your target and celebrate your success!

A – Attainable. Ask yourself if the goal you are considering is within reach based on your current situation. Sometimes you will need to set goals that are small enough to get you to bigger goals you have for your future.

R – Relevant. Does this goal help you achieve your overall mission? If not, consider shelving it all together. 

T – Time-Bound. Is your goal something you can note on your calendar? If not, you may find a lack of motivation to get started achieving it.

By creating goals you can have a tremendous impact on where your career can take you. Whether you define career success as a corner office or the flexibility to spend time with your kids, goals help you figure out what you need to do to get there.  Assess your goals regularly to make sure they are aligned with your longer-term objectives. And test them against this SMART formula to start taking steps towards your career success today!

About The Author

Jennifer Youngblood is the faculty Graduate Cooperative Education Coordinator for the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University – Seattle. Her background includes over 15 year in career counseling in higher education and private practice, as well as corporate HR. Jennifer has a BA and MA in History, a master’s certificate in Computer Programming, and MA coursework in Career Development. She is also MBTI Qualified and is a certified Distance Career Counselor.

About Connor Mckay

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