How To Set Short Term Career Goals To Improve Your Career

The roadmap to a successful career begins with a well-designed career plan. It maps the journey from your current position to where you envision yourself in the near future. Short term career goals help you define your objectives for a specific duration to enhance your job prospects and opportunities. It implies defining feasible objectives for the near future, regardless of your sector or hierarchy within an organisation. They make you more competent and productive in realising your career objective. Specifically, the near future means the objectives are typically fulfilled within a few days, weeks, or months. 

Typically, they serve as the foremost steps toward fulfilling larger goals. Being easy to achieve and manage, you can implement short-term career goals to work on smaller projects.

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Let’s first go through the benefits and examples of the short-term career goals and then explore how to set short term goals for interview and other future enhancements!

Benefits of setting short-term goals

1) Provide a clear path toward career success

The short term career goals are used to collapse larger goals. Working on smaller tasks will gradually hone your skills. Although they don’t replace your larger, principal goals, they suggest a path to fulfil them, working as small stepping stones to reach the ultimate milestone. Following this path guarantees you career success.

2) Manage and schedule tasks

Short-term career goals let you track your progress toward achieving mid and long-term objectives. They analyse whether you are progressing in the correct direction or you must make some modifications to the defined smaller goals. They assist you in approaching long-term objectives by working on multiple smaller, manageable tasks. Moreover, they suggest the priority order you can follow to advance your career effectively. They define a clear path toward career success and reduce procrastination. 

3) Accurate progress tracking

The process of setting up these career goals uses precise metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators). They help you to chart your position in the career graph and suggest the path yet to be followed. These measurements assist you in accurately tracking progress and reaching close to your dream job by eliminating potential vulnerabilities.

4) Prepare for job interviews

One of the effective ways candidates can elevate their career graph is to define short term goals for interview preparation. The pathway toward achieving these goals involves practising interviews and building a professional network. They help you to develop transferable communication skills that help you in your professional journey.

5) Streamlines career success

When you frequently establish and fulfil short-term career goals, you stay focused on enhancing your professional journey. The clearly defined career path keeps you away from distractions. Hence, you can quickly and effectively achieve the set goals.

Other benefits

  • Obtain quick feedback
  • Get a quick head-start toward career success
  • Easily define feasible deadlines
  • Understand your strengths and identify the areas that need improvement

Examples of short term career goals

The short term career goals examples mentioned below give you innovative ideas that you can adopt for your career success.

  • Enhance your technical skills
  • Update your resume with the latest work experience
  • Grow your professional network and connect with industry professionals
  • Research and attend industry conferences
  • Enrolling in an online education course
  • Building a personal website
  • Exhaustively research your industry
  • Reading a book on leadership
  • Organising your workspace
  • Improving your time management, communication and negotiation skills 
  • Attending networking events
  • Inheriting confidence
  • Reaching early on work
  • Complying with deadlines
  • Setting up a professional social media account
  • Seeking additional sources of income
  • Learning a new language

 How to create short-term goals?

Occasionally, you may find it challenging to figure out your career goals. You may be lured to skip it entirely. However, the following section helps you to begin with small, achievable steps and set up short-term goals.

1) Adopt the SMART Approach

This approach keeps you focused on your actions so that they prove to be useful and practical. It forecasts situations where you may encounter issues. Moreover, it lets you deduce alternate plans to stay focused on your career track. The SMART goal method is defined as below:

Specific: It suggests that you clearly define achievable goals. You would translate your objectives into concise sentences which define the career path you must follow.

Measurable: For every proposed goal, the approach finds a way to measure it and track your career progress.

Attainable: It suggests that you must ensure adequate time, skills, and resources to fulfil your goals within the anticipated duration.

Realistic: It suggests that you must only define feasible and practically achievable short-term goals that you can actually achieve. Ensure you don’t set your goals so high that you can’t work on them.

Timely: It states that you assign deadlines to each goal and track them at regular intervals to continue moving forward.

2) Define goals that motivate you

Make sure your career goals match your purpose. Spare time to analyse your ambitions and the reasons behind devoting energy and time towards those goals. Asking the following questions will fuel motivation within you and can keep you focused on your career path:

  • How will the defined short-term career goals positively influence your personal development?
  • Do the defined goals equip you with dignity and a sense of accomplishment?
  • What’s the significance of achieving your short-term goals?

3) Compose a plan

This approach states that you must first consider your starting point and goal. Subsequently, you must build a continuing and achievable plan to perceive career advancement. Define the timeframe that best suits your capabilities and ambitions. You can set deadlines along the way to evaluate your progress.

Various ways exist to plan your goals. The simplest, most fundamental way is to prepare a prioritised list, i.e., categorising the easiest and hardest tasks to accomplish. You can note down your goals and track them at regular intervals. Moreover, you can regularly check your records to determine whether you are on the right career track or not. Consequently, it keeps you moving forward toward career success. Individuals who follow a well-thought plan are more dedicated and organised in their careers.

4) Set milestones

It indicates the approach you must adopt to measure success. You can set milestones that help you focus on one skill monthly. Gradually, you can complete each milestone and learn all the skills required to fulfil your goals. For example, if you want to change your job from sales to marketing, you can set milestones that guide you in cultivating the skills and experience that marketing companies seek.

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5) Ascertain that your goal is relevant

Your defined goals must align with your values and assist toward fulfilling your long-term goals. Make sure each smaller goal you set is relevant and continuously brings you closer to where you envisioned it. It is always recommended to work on a single career goal at once (based on your competence).

You can ask the following questions to yourself to ascertain that you are defining relevant goals:

  • Does the defined goal align with your interest and ambitions?
  • How will fulfilling this goal benefit me?
  • Does fulfilling this goal contribute to long-term goal fulfilment?

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Defining short-term career goals keeps you focused on your career and helps you to fulfil your ambitions more effectively. They improve your multitasking ability and work productivity. Practising relevant short-term career goals works as a building block to pave a path and help you fulfil your long-term career goals. Moreover, they equip you with the skills required to crack job interviews. Whether going for a career in Product Management or the field experiencing extensive growth, Machine Learning, setting short-term goals provides optimum benefits across all domains!

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What are the differences between short-term and long-term career goals?

The key difference between short-term and long-term career goals is that short-term goals focus on your current situation and are easier to accomplish, whereas long-term goals drive strategy and direction in the far future. Generally, short-term career goals are achieved within a day, week, month, or year whereas long-term career goals take more time, patience, and planning to achieve.

Do short-term career goals benefit you with multitasking?

Yes, you can work on several short-term goals simultaneously and improve your multitasking ability. This is because they involve smaller tasks that are easily manageable. For example, short-term career goals can be worked on simultaneously, such as earning a certification, attending professional workshops, boosting self-confidence, improving your technical skills, and asking for feedback from the manager.

How do short-term career goals drive motivation within you?

Small achievable goals defined within a clear time frame provide results faster than long-term goals. So, it keeps you motivated towards its fulfilment and increases your work efficiency to continue moving forward.

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