How to Achieve Your Career Goals

by | Sep 26, 2022

Many teenagers and young adults have big goals for their career, start working, and quickly realize that they don’t actually know how to achieve what they want. It can be discouraging to feel like you’ve hit a wall early in your career, but chances are it’s just a temporary roadblock: it’s more likely that you haven’t fully mapped out how to reach your goals.


Mapping out your career goals makes it much easier to figure out how you can progress your career and move forward in the work world. Discover how you can set and achieve your career goals with JobsFuel.


Work Backwards

Oftentimes, people get stuck with their career goals because they set a large goal without knowing what they need to do to get there. If you know exactly what your end goal is but feel like you’re miles away from actually achieving it, start by working backward to see what career milestones you would need to achieve.


For example, maybe your goal is to become a speech-language pathologist. To figure out how to get there, you might look up what credentials a speech-language pathologist needs so that you know what you would need to study. Then, you could research schools or programs with good programs of study in the field.


Break Things into Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Nobody can jump from an entry-level job to a senior-level position in a month. If your only professional goals are ones that take years of experience and training, like becoming a manager, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Instead, it’s better to separate your goals into two categories: short-term career goals and long-term career goals.


Short-term goals are goals and tasks that you can take on quickly and complete within a few months or years. Long-term goals, on the other hand, tend to take many years to reach. The good news, however, is that all long-term goals are made up of short-term goals, so achieving those short-term goals will be one of many steps that will bring you closer to your long-term goal.


For example, if your ultimate goal is to become a civil engineer, your relevant goals could be to:


  • Take college courses in civil engineering
  • Take a public speaking course
  • Work a relevant part-time job or internship 
  • Have a successful job interview


Be Specific

Goal-setting is most successful when you have a specific goal to work toward. Career goals like “Advance in my career” or “Find a better-paying job” aren’t particularly precise, so it’s challenging to figure out what to do to achieve them. 


Instead of setting generic goals, pick specific ones that allow you to measure your progress over time. For example:


  • Instead of, “I want to get a certification,” try, “I want to become certified in Adobe Photoshop.”
  • Instead of, “I want better pay,” try, “I want to negotiate a 5% raise. If that doesn’t work out, I want to find a company that pays 5% more than my current salary.”
  • Instead of, “I want to leave graphic design,” try, “I want to transition from graphic design to UX design.”


Talk to a Mentor

When you’re new to the work world, it can be tricky to figure out how to reach your professional goals or tell whether they’re realistic. Talking to a mentor figure, like a boss, experienced coworker, or career coach, can help you get a better perspective on these things. 


Your mentor can offer you advice and guidance on the practicality of your goals, how long it typically takes to achieve specific milestones and the steps you can take to reach your goals over the short and long term.


As a bonus, telling your mentor your career goals makes you more likely to achieve them. When your mentor knows what you want for your career, you may feel more accountable for reaching those goals. If your mentor works in the same field as you, they may even be able to help you find opportunities that you wouldn’t have known about without them.


Stay Flexible

Depending on your career field, network, job satisfaction, and individual circumstances, you might achieve goals at a different pace than you anticipated or accomplish very different goals than the ones you planned to achieve. However, it’s not necessarily bad to set career goals you don’t reach.


While most traditional career resources refer to your professional endeavors as a career path, the truth is that it might be better described as career off-roading because it can be incredibly unpredictable. Some people initially plan on going into one field but discover they like another field far more.


Some stay on track for their intended career but achieve their goals later than expected because of life circumstances. Some have to change their short- or long-term goals because of a rapid change in their industry. There isn’t one right way to plan your career.


Sticking too closely to your original career goals can be just as frustrating as not knowing how to reach your goals in the first place. Instead, take time now and again to reevaluate your career goals, discuss them with your mentor, and decide what’s right for you.


Work Towards Your Career Goals with JobsFuel

Sometimes, it might feel like setting your career goals is easier than actually reaching them. JobsFuel is ready to help you take the steps to achieve your goals, whether that involves finding the best educational pathway for your career, building your personal brand, or landing the job of your dreams. 


With the help of JobsFuel, you’ll feel capable and confident in taking the first small steps down your desired career path.