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How to set a career goal ?

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Subject: Career question for you
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11 answers

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Will’s Answer

Hi Jaden,

I just want to add one piece to many great suggestions from fellow CareerVillagers already.

Begin with you because you know yourself best on Day1 of setting your career plan. Your answers to a few questions below might help:

1. Start with ability and interest at high level:
- What am I interested in?
- What knowledge and skills I have?

2. Try to match ability and interest
- How much I already know about what I am interested in?
- What capabilities I have on things I am curious about?
- What experience I have on the relevant aspect if there's any, like internships?

Self-awareness is a mission critical part of your career plan because it keeps you thinking and reflecting on yourself. As times goes, you might develop new interests and need to adjust your career goal accordingly. That's absolutely normal and being prepared through infinite learning is the only way to get yourself prepared.

Good luck!

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Emily’s Answer

Hi Jaden, thank you for your question. It is awesome that you are thinking about setting goals for yourself. Sometimes half the battle to achieving your goals, are just setting them in the first place, so great job!

In my opinion, the best way to set a career goal, or any goal for that matter, is to write it out and structure it in the S.M.A.R.T. format. Each point below explains this method:
1. (S)pecific - Your goal should be as clear as possible. An example of a specific goal is:
a. "I want to earn a position as a programmer for a VIDEO GAME COMPANY"

2. (M)easurable - Set milestones along the way to prove you are making progress toward your goal. An example of a measurable goal is:
a. "I will apply to THREE open positions as a programmer at a video game company"

3. (A)chievable - Your goal needs to be realistic and attainable. An example of an achievable goal is:
a. "I WILL UPDATE MY RESUME WITH RELEVANT PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES I'VE LEARNED AND RELEVANT CODING PROJECTS I'VE DONE, so I can apply to three open positions as a programmer at a video game company."

4. (R)elevant - Your goal should be one which matters to you. An example of a relevant goal is:
a. "TO ACHIEVE MY GOAL OF GAINING TECHNICAL EXPERIENCE, I will update my resume with relevant programming languages I've learned and relevant coding projects I've done, so I can apply to three open positions as a programmer at a video game company."

5. (T)imely - An end-date can help you stay motivated and on track. An example of a timely goal is:
a. "To achieve my goal of gaining technical expertise, I will update my resume with relevant programming languages I've learned and relevant coding projects I've done, so I can apply to three open positions as a programmer at a video game company, THIS WEEK"

So overall, your SMART goal would end up being: "To achieve my goal of gaining technical experience, I will update my resume with relevant programming languages I've learned and relevant coding projects I've done, so I can apply to three open positions as a programmer at a video game company, this week".
(This advice and other tips for SMART goals can be found at each of these links: )

Ultimately, this strategy helps lay out steps for you to keep in mind and can help you stay on track.
Good luck with setting your goals, and remember to take these written goals with a grain of salt. It is okay to go off track a bit, but keep in mind that S.M.A.R.T. goals will help you stay focused.

Emily recommends the following next steps:

Set a SMART career goal for yourself (write it down in a place you will remember)
Narrow down which career field you are most interested in by going to college/job fairs, getting your resume reviewed by professionals, people at school, etc.
Talk to professionals in these sessions about your S.M.A.R.T. goal and get their feedback
Every 2 months or so, check back on your S.M.A.R.T. goal and adjust it for the next few months

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niyaz’s Answer

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1. Need to know about servers, Networking concepts and any one of the programming knowledge.
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Biju’s Answer

1) Set a long term vision
- When setting long term vision, stretch high
- Aim for a time frame of 7-10 years
2) Set a short term vision
- Aim for a timeframe of 3-4 years
- Be more prescriptive
- Do not focus on goals like title, salary etc.
- Focus on influence in decision making, Span of control, ability to make changes, recognition etc..
- Salary, Title etc.. will follow
- have a line of sight towards achieving those goals
- Identify steps you need to take, lessons you need to learn, people you need to meet etc.

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Emitom’s Answer

Hi Jaden,

Before setting your goals, I would speak with people in your network, such as colleagues, mentors, and your manager to talk about your short and long term hopes and desired achievements for your career. You can also ask them for feedback and development points to help guide your goals. From there, I recommend setting your goals using the SMART format. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound. After setting your goals, share them with your network so they can help support you in achieving your goals.

Let me know if you have further questions!

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Jaclyn’s Answer

Hi Jaden,

It's great there are multiple fields you are interested in! For starters, you should research what each of the fields entails and figure out if that fits your ideal lifestyle in the future. Look into the salary, career progression opportunities, working days/hours, etc. After you've narrowed it down, start taking classes (either offered by the school or online) that can introduce you to these topics. Set a timeline so you can hold yourself accountable and ensure you are working toward the goal.

Good luck in your search!

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Nikita’s Answer

That's a great question! To set a career goal, think about your ultimate vision and break that down into short term goals. Additionally, I would recommend writing them out and setting personal deadlines for yourself as a way of measurement. The key to this will be having realistic expectations and at least on a weekly basis reviewing your progress.

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Samantha’s Answer

Decide what your goal is gonna be
Set a deadline for this goal
Make sure its realistic and achievable
Then do little things each day to get you to your goal.

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Jacob’s Answer

Hi, Jaden,

I think you have some helpful answers already, but want to add a few thoughts of my own. I think setting career goals can be daunting. An organization I encountered a few years ago, the 80,000 Hours Organization (check out their website here:, helps people contemplate how to best set career goals and solve the world's important problems. They offer a free career planning course that you can find at this link: I think it is super helpful.

I hope you find this useful - good luck!

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Yuan’s Answer

There will always be long-term goal and short-term goal. Besides the goal, the most important thing is you need a concrete plan for short-term goal and checkpoint/review of your achievements. Then adjust your goal/plan along the way.

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Gayatri’s Answer

Hi There!
There are various resources online to set practices, goal charts, timeline and provide templates to chart out your professional & personal goal. However the idea in starting up to set a goal is as simple as visualizing that goal in your head. The more you think, visualize and understand what you want to be, who you want to become and what you want to contribute towards helps to roll out that cycle of charting down steps and pointers to achieve it. I would recommend to read this book "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne which will help you to think positively and bring out that attitude required to set things rolling.