Most people do not feel the need of setting long-term and short-term goals in life. But goal setting is an important part of the career planning process. One can do that by making one's goals measurable and realistic.
Short-term work goals can improve your career prospects by helping you define your objectives for a certain period of time. Irrespective of your domain of work and responsibilities within your organization, setting realistic goals for the future is likely to make you more productive in work. Setting up short-term goals for work is an important step to take, but doing so takes commitment and dedication to accomplish them.
How Goals Can Impact Your Career Progress
In your career planning process, setting goals is a significant component. To have a successful and satisfying career, define your goals and devise a strategy to achieve them.
Your career action plan must have both long- and short-term goals. Since career plans and goals, even very well-planned, don't always work out, it is essential to include plan-B, that you can implement when plan-A fails.
Why are short-term goals important?
Apart from dividing a bigger and complex objective into several smaller ones and making it more achievable, short-term goals also keep you motivated on your way to long-term success. Because you can test the 'success' of achieving the short term goals on the way of your career journey. Creating smaller milestones means that you are always focused on your next target.
Short-term goals will have a direct positive impact on your professional life that consist of small changes and adjustments that help you be more productive. They can be as basic as making sure you get in 10 minutes early every day or keeping a clean and well-organized desk. Other direct short-term goals for work can be improving your communication skill, making your social media accounts or maybe earning an additional professional specialization.
Criteria of Short-Term goals
Make very specific goals
Your short term goal can't be just like 'I want to be a CEO'. Rather try this- 'I will get up at 6AM everyday, like most CEOs do'.
Take measurable goals
Set a deadline for achieving your goals and a way to determine when you have reached them. You can even break them down into smaller milestones that you can measure along the way.
Don't set Negative goals
Your goal should be something you Want to Achieve rather than something you Do not want. Make a promise to yourself like- "I will get that certification done by next 2 months". Rather than saying- "I do not want to become stagnant with my present skills only".
Attach each goal with an action
For example, if your goal is to crack an interview, review the related topics regularly or practice mock interviews per week for one month.
Don't ever give up. You may encounter obstacles that threaten your progress. In that situation, modify your goals accordingly. But keep breaking up your long term target into short term goals, and keep achieving those, no matter what.
As you progress in your career, your goals may change—and that's FINE. Take time to assess your career, education, experience, and skills every few months so you can re-prioritize your goals that you want to achieve.
Types of Short-Term goals to have, for career growth
Earn a new Certificate or Degree
Professional fields always keep changing and updating, with new technology and new methods. This is why constant learning is an important short-term goal. There are various physical institutes and online courses available today, that provide short term courses and certificates after completion.
Improve your networking and communication skills
Learning how to communicate and reaching out to relevant professionals can potentially help you achieve your long-term career goals. Networking can provide you with valuable industry contacts that may lead to new career opportunities. Aside from making networking more efficient, improving your communication skills is likely to help you better coordinate with your employer, coworkers and be more of a team player.
Switch your job
Changing a job and to go to new workplace can also be considered a short-term professional goal. Sometime you will feel stagnant, like a certain job or organization is not able to help you further your career development. By changing that job, even for a short time-span, you will keep yourself motivated and maintain your desire to improve, which will ultimately benefit your career.
While at work, do NOT play around
The time you invest during work hours can add-up over time and set you on your way to achieving your long-term goals. So get rid of the time-wasting habits during work hours, such as browsing the Internet or talking to friends and family. Take this as a short time goal, to achieve this practice or culture. It will help you become more productive and achieve more in the time you spend at work.
Get to work a bit early
Arriving at work or a your class/ lecture just 15 minutes earlier each day is a short-term goal that can really improve your long-term career prospects. It easier to concentrate and organize your plans for the day when fewer people are around. It you will create an image of a hard-working and dedicated person. And it will keep you relaxed.
Keeping your desk organized
Keeping your desk or any other workspace neat and organized can significantly improve your productivity and morale. It will also emphasize that you are a highly-organized individual.
Today's world is driven by technology, which is why being tech-savvy is an essential skill even if you're not an engineer. In addition, each person should know how to utilize the technology effectively, both for professional purposes and personal growth.
Everyone can enhance their technical skills in little time with good guidance and resources. Look for online sources that cover such industry developments, and check them regularly so you can stay on top of them.
Observe people around, and learn
This is a very helpful short term goal you should set for yourself. Try to carefully observe how your coworkers, superiors, or even random people around you deal with certain workplace situations, especially the ones with good experience in their work. This will potentially expose you to new ways of doing certain things, and it will automatically bring a positive change in your working mindset.
This is a very useful video from the INDEED team, related to this topic: