How to set Career Goals

Find out How to Set Career Goals the SMART way. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. This makes you focused and encourages you to reach your goals.

Thinking about making the next big step in your career? Plan ahead and learn how to set career goals the SMART way. 

Why Setting Career Goals is Important

Goal setting is important because it gives you a framework to achieve success. Once you set goals you know what you are working towards and it makes you focus on achieving them. 

Long Term vs Short Term Goals 

There are two types of goals you should be focusing on: 

  • Long terms and short term goals. 

Both work together in reaching your full potential. 

Short term goals are

  • Immediate goals. 
  • Assist in reaching your long term goals. 
  • Shorter timespan. Usually a couple of weeks or months. 

Long Term Goals are:

  • Larger goals. 
  • Take longer to achieve. Could take several years. 
  • Includes things like getting promoted, completing your degree, getting a certain job.

How to Set Goals

When setting career goals it is important you use a strategy that will make you complete it within your given time frame. To do this set goals the SMART way. SMART goal setting is: 

  • S – specific  
  • M – measurable 
  • A – attainable
  • R -relevant 
  • T -timely 


Avoid being vague when setting career goals. Be as specific as possible. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What do I want to achieve?
  •  Why is this important?
  • Who will be involved?
  • Which resources do I have? 


You must find practical ways to measure your process. Ask yourself how will you know that your goal has been met. 


Your goal should challenge you, but it should still be realistic and attainable. Ask yourself: 

  • How will I accomplish my goal?
  • How realistic is my goal? Consider finances, resources and other factors when answering this. 


Is your goal relevant to your other long-term goals? If you want to be an accountant, it may not make sense to have completing a beauty course as one of your short term goals. 


You need a deadline to focus your goals. This will push you and give you something to work toward. Consider the following: 

  • When do I want my goal to be complete?
  • What can I do six months from now?
  • What can I do today?  

Career Goals Examples

If you still need some help with how to set career goals, here are some examples that might work. Use them as a guideline when you set your own goals.

Short Term

Remember, these should only take a few months to complete. They are the building blocks to your long term goals.  

Gain a New Skill

Get a new skill by completing a short course. Short courses usually take two to nine months to complete. 

Get an Internship

Spruce up your CV and look online for any internship opportunities. You can also try volunteering

Improve Your Networking Skills

Looking for ways to network? Create a profile on job sites like LinkedIn and Indeed.  

Long Term

Where do you see yourself in ten to fifteen years? Your long term goals should speak to this.  

Get a Degree or Certification

Get credible qualifications and apply for our distance learning courses. They are perfect for busy, working students!  

Become an Expert in Your Field

Keep up to date with current trends and become an expert in your field. Do so by improving your skills and moving up the corporate ladder.  

Reach a Leadership Position

Get to the top with a managerial post. Up your leadership skills with a management course

Whatever your goals are, we are here to help you succeed. Our courses are designed to give you credible, up your earning potential and help you make your mark. 

Reach Your Goals and Succeed! 

Ready to reach your goals? Let us help you. Contact our course consultants today on the following: 

  • Call us for free on 0800 39 00 27 
  • Or fill out a contact form for a call back
Last Updated: 2 December 2021