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Successful people have goals. It’s their mantra. However everyone at times will struggle with progressing along a chosen career path.  It can be easy to feel suffocated, confined, or lacking direction when it comes to navigating a career.  To keep from veering off track, it is helpful to set up career goals.  Career goals will represent objectives, benchmarks, and milestones in your career.  Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages and examples.


  1. It gives you clarity and focus about what you want to specifically accomplish, or be in your career.
  2. It provides you with forward movement. When you have a strong sense of purpose and compelling goals, momentum helps you overcome any obstacles.
  3. Setting a goal places you firmly in control of your career and your future. Since they are born from your own desires, you will feel more positive that you are working towards what you want.


  1. You may not reach your goal in the exact timeframe. That’s OK, it can be moved and adjusted according to life’s changes or career hurdles along the road.
  2. Not being able to achieve the goal could promote a sense of failure and self-doubt. If this happens, take time to evaluate and problem solve what went wrong.
  3. Setting an unrealistic goal can be disastrous. This also includes placing immense pressure on you to achieve a difficult target and this really serves no purpose.

Career Goal Examples:

Earn a Promotion:  It is always a good feeling to get promoted, and a promotion involves careful planning, commitment, and execution on your part as an employee.  Therefor, you may need to undertake additional work or projects, develop relationships with other team members, and update your resumé.

Earn a Management Position:  After working with a company for a few years, you might choose to advance your position.  If your career goal is to earn a management or an executive position, your goal could range from 6 months to 5 years depending on your field of work.  This type of career goal can require a series of short term goals to help you reach the position you desire.

Start a Business:  A lot of people associate success with branching out on their own, and a viable career goal. This could mean starting a business or opening a practice to become your own boss.  Many people, generally between the ages of 18 – 34 have the desire to start a business.  When opening your own business, it can be helpful to outline a series of short term goals that can help you get to where you need to be. Engaging a business coach is worth the investment.

Get a Job:  For many people, especially in this economy, an example of a career goal might be obtaining employment, particularly after a redundancy.  If you are looking to find employment, there are plenty of short term goals that you can along the way such as job searching every two days, networking and updating your resumé. Remember to be patient when finding a job. It can be a long yet rewarding process.

Study a Degree or Certificate:  Obtaining a degree or a certificate is a great jump start on your career goals and puts you on a path towards success.  Most careers require specific knowledge, education, or a degree when it comes to advancing a career.  Once you are able to obtain proper education, you can look to increasing your career goal options.

Goal setting is a natural function of the brain. Every decision is in effect a goal, which triggers a subconscious process that transforms the decision into an action and onto a result. Like all other paths of discipline, goal setting has positive and negative aspects. The main purpose of setting a career goal is to achieve a dream. We all have them, and goals are basically dreams with legs. So get planning and doing and motivate yourself to achieve what you want in life – it is absolutely possible!