Is it true that you are becoming weary of your life behind an office work area? Or on the other hand, do you sense that you aren’t going anyplace with your profession? If you’ve answered either of these questions “yes,” then it is the right time to make a very serious decision. It will be an insane experience, but it will be a satisfying one.
Some people think that goal-setting ends the moment you graduate from college or them moment you land your dream job; far from it. Goal-setting is something that is continuous; once you achieve a goal, you set a new one. Indeed, even in your professional life, you need to set goals to improve in your career and to rise to higher levels.
Well, you have landed that job, what next? You must ask yourself such a question. Where will you be in the next five years? Ten years? twenty years? Do you want to stagnate and remain at the entry level all your life?
In goal-setting, you must decide where you are heading with your career, the experiences you want to achieve, the interests and skills you would want to acquire to improve your career, and the steps you want to follow to achieve what you have set before you.
Successful individuals use goal-setting as a brilliant technique to make progress in their professions. This is because it allows them to have a clear purpose in life each day. A goal can give you a reason to think big and dream big.
How to set goals:
Remember, even in your professional life, you must set goals, and the goals must be “SMART” in the sense that they must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Don’t be vague; you must state what you want to achieve. For example, you can say, “I want to attain certification in 3 months.” This is very specific because it states what you want to attain and in what timeline.
A measurable goal is one that you can tell whether it has been achieved or not. It answers a question like how many? Or how much? In the example above, achieving the certification is the measure of whether you have succeeded or not.
Setting a goal that you can’t achieve is quite discouraging and is a waste of time. State clearly the steps you are going to follow to attain the goal. The goal must also be realistic, taking into consideration your current position and financial status. Do not set a goal that is far much above your capability, as this is bound to fail.
A goal is relevant if it really matters to you and is in the line of your profession. You must also ask yourself whether you have the resources to attain it. If you are an engineer, you need to set goals that are in line with that profession. You can’t be an engineer, and you set a goal that you want to become a doctor unless you are changing your profession.
Ask yourself whether it is the right time to do whatever you are planning to do. You must also set a time period within which it must be attained. If it can take longer, you can break it down into smaller attainable steps.
What is considered professional goals?
Having a goal is a necessary part of life. Your current situation doesn’t matter, and it is not just like having some hopeless daydreams and wishful thinking; it is something you must work hard to achieve. Professional goals are those that shape your character and improve your living standard. In essence, you need to build your own ladder and climb it, not to try to jump on a ladder that the society has built for you.
The goals are for an improved version of you:
Professional goals are those that help you improve in your career. Setting goals play a vital role in both your social and professional life. It involves taking substantial steps to improve yourself. Just go slowly; they say even Rome was not built on one day. It is like taking baby steps in learning new techniques and skills; that is why you have to move gradually but effectively. The process of making your professional relationships stronger, making your professional knowledge and skills to be developed and making your working practices to be efficient is something you cannot do overnight.
Your personal needs and ambitions are what shape your goals. You need to push yourself a bit harder and move away from your comfort zone if you want to achieve something substantial.
Here are some professional goals you might consider in your career journey:
Improve your training and professional knowledge:
Instead of hitting the road in search of a new well-paying job, you can improve yourself so that the current company will pay you more. You might have your first degree, but remember that learning in a continuous process and it never stops. Gaining new knowledge will not only make you work more efficiently but will also help to rise to higher ranks. You can do this by attending managerial classes and training programs during your free time or even online. You can attend workshops offered by the company or seek certification from professional bodies. You can also enrol in various courses to improve your skills. These additional skills are of great help in your life, as it shows your commitment to polish your knowledge and capabilities in your chosen field.
Reduce redundant work processes:
This is connected to improving your training and professional knowledge and is the best way to earn the trust of your employer. Ask yourself if there is anything new you can bring to the company to replace the redundant work processes and improve the efficiency of the company. When you learn a new technique that can improve company revenue, discuss it with your employer to see if it can be implemented. Of course, when your employer agrees, you are the one who will be put in charge of the implementation, and this will improve your standing in the company.
If you have learned a new technology, it is better to familiarize yourself with it well before you think of introducing it to the company. This means you will be confident in using it and you can answer any questions that the management will ask you about it. Don’t be surprised if you get a pay raise or a promotion because of this.
Improve your relationships:
How you relate with your colleagues and your employer matters a lot. Bad relationships can make you get stuck in one position for a long time. You need to build a healthy work relationship that can earn a positive attitude from your employer and workmates. Remember, at the workplace, you are dealing with different types of people, and each may require a different approach form the others. You may not like some of them, but there is nothing you can do to change them.
It is on you to change what you can, so you need to learn how to cope with them and set any dislike aside and treat your employer and colleagues in a professional and respectful manner. A simple goal is to ensure you great them every morning, no matter how you feel towards them. And when they greet you first, give a respectful response. This alone will make you feel more comfortable in the workplace and your daily work more rewarding and bearable.
Improve your presentation skills:
Better presentation skills can earn you better positions in an organization. We have trainers in this field that you can engage to help you. You need to outshine your colleagues whenever you have presentations so that you can catch the attention of the top management. It is always rewarding to try to stand out in the corporate world. Take part in several meetings and offer to perform specific tasks that can make you visible.
Choose activities that require communication so you can test and improve your presentation skills. Before you are allowed to present something before clients or investors, your employer must be satisfied that you will give the company a positive image. That is why presentation skills are something you must work hard to improve. You may reduce shyness so as to spare yourself from humiliation; you can do your rehearsals in front of a mirror. Once you are sure that your presentation skills are good, you can courageously communicate with either your employer or your audience and ensure they are engaged thoroughly throughout the conversation.
Increase your earnings:
Everyone wants to earn more, so this is an obvious goal for every employee. When you are underpaid or earning the minimum wage, you will not be motivated to work, and this will affect your performance. Many people earn less than what they deserve because many organizations are taking advantage of the fact that there is a high demand for jobs. Such organizations also don’t treat their employees reasonably just because they have many application letters in their files. If you are in such an organization, then you can consider switching to another organization. It might not be easy to get another job, but there is no harm in trying. Talk to a few friends in other organizations to find out if there is an opening. If there is, just drop your application. You might be lucky to be called for an interview and get hired. If you are enjoying work in your current organization, but your salary has not been increased for a long time, say five years, then you need to discuss it with your employer. Many employers need to be prompted into action, and if you just keep quiet, they will never think of increasing your salary.
Attaining a promotion or a management role:
A leadership role in any organization comes with an excellent compensation package. Make this a priority. All the goals should focus on attaining a promotion or a management position in the company. Never stay at the entry level for long. You have to be ambitious so that when a management position arises in the company, the employer will not need to look further. Set your leadership goals well and work towards achieving them. Remember these positions cannot be handed to you in a silver platter; you have to work tirelessly towards them. Your manager will never give you a position that he knows you can’t manage, and rising to such a position takes time.
You need to be patient, persevere, and be committed to your work. Skills and experience are some of the things you need to have, and it takes time to acquire them. You must also demonstrate that you are accountable, diligent, consistent, disciplined, trustworthy, reliable, honest, and favourable towards company policies. These demonstrate that you have the right values and attitude to take the company to the next level.
Many companies don’t offer workshops or further training for their employees. If you are in such a company, make it your own responsibility to gain new experiences. You can achieve this goal if you are ready to step out of your comfort zone. Try to interact with people from other companies and learn from them. Volunteer to take up in some work in the organization or in the community that is in line with your profession, and take that opportunity to explore new areas. Talk to people and learn by allowing them to critique you or to give you feedback. Taking such a challenge will give you exposure and gain some vital experience that will make you a better person and employee. You can also gain experience by observing what other experts do to make their work more efficient.
Aim at working for your dream company:
When in college or university, you must have had in mind a company that you wanted to work for upon graduation. If you never got the first job in that company, you can make it one of your goals. You might not be experienced enough to work for the company right now, but in future, you can give it a shot. The fact that it is your dream company is enough inspiration to work hard to get a position in that company, and you should list this under your professional goals. This will motivate you to strive to achieve it even if it takes a long time. This is a challenge to should face head-on without blinking.
Owning a company or business:
All employers pay you just a small fraction of what you make for the company. This is enough reason to strive for holding a company or business as your professional goal. This is the surest way of ensuring that you earn what you deserve. You might not have enough capital to start a business now, but that should not discourage you, after all, all goals are not easy to achieve. If you are currently employed then you can start saving towards starting your own business. It feels so satisfying if you become an employer and create opportunities for others.
It is good to start a company that is relevant to what you studied or one that is connected with your passion. For example, if you studied civil engineering or have worked in a civil engineering firm, you can start a business that specializes in that field. It might not be as easy as it is said; it requires so much dedication and commitment to see your business grow from scratches.
How to achieve the goals:
Setting goals are easy; the problem only arises at the time of fulfilling them. The timeframe for a goal can be a day, a week, a month, a year, or even several years. Setting a goal sets you in motion at it gives you an idea of what you need to do to reach where you want to be. This will inform the decisions you make now because you will have your goal in mind all the time. If possible, break down the goals into small achievable steps. When you achieve one step, it gives you the morale to move to the next level.
Here are some tips that can help you in achieving your set goals:
Put the goals down in writing:
Write down the goals and the steps to achieve each. Put this list at a place where you will you can see it daily. You need to identify clearly the short-term and long-term goals. You can also separate them according to which ones require less financial input and which require more. Having these in writing will help you come up with a plan and give you some sort of pressure to keep moving forward and get things done.
Create a plan:
Once you have your goals written down, it is time to come up with a plan. Identify the steps you need to achieve your goals. The steps should be logical, and one should lead to the next one until you reach the end.
Don’t leave your goals open, and remember to give yourself enough time to achieve each goal. Setting deadline doesn’t mean you are pushing yourself so much; it only gives you the motivation to take the first step and guides you on when the goal should be achieved. It also prevents procrastination and temptations to stop working and disregard the goal you set by yourself. And in case you fail to beat your own deadline, don’t feel so much embarrassed. The fact that you never achieved it in the time you set doesn’t mean you will never achieve it. You can set a new deadline and this time around try to correct the mistakes you made in the first attempt. Failure is not a reason to give up, and patience is what matters.
To stay motivated, think of a good reward for yourself after accomplishing a given step. When you have achieved something, it is worthwhile to give yourself some credit; this will motivate you and keep you going. You can also take a rest before you move to the next step because you may be exhausted. Do not overwork yourself because you might go beyond your limits and start slowing down again. At all times, you should be fit both mentally and physically to pursue your goals effectively. Rewarding yourself doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. You can take a favourite drink or buy yourself a small gift.
Work with a friend:
Get a friend to help in monitoring your achievements. You can also get a job coach, co-worker, or someone else you are close to. It is easier to accomplish a goal if you feel that you are answerable to someone else. These people can also encourage you when you feel like giving up. Ever wondered why those who go to the gym have partners? This is meant to keep them pushing even if things seem to be getting hard for them. In the journey of achieving your goals, you also need such a partner. Choose someone who shares the same interests as you or one whose goal is almost similar to yours; you will be pulling one another along. This will give both of you an extra push to focus on your goals.
We have seen that goal-setting does not stop the moment you graduate from college, but it is something that continues even in your professional life. At any given moment, you need to have something that you have yet to achieve. Set goals that can help improve you as an individual and also improve your workplace so that you can progress in your profession. Remember that the goals you set must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Let them focus on improving any aspect that is relevant to your profession. A goal that cannot be achieved is just wishful thinking or a pipe-dream.