Career Goal Setting and Career Planning

A career goal can be hard to pin down. Once you figure it out, you then need to find a way of achieving it. If you're in the process of trying to figure out which way to point your life, you also need a clear approach to your planning.

Setting a Career Goal

A career goal needs to be something tangible, in terms of achievement. The basic idea of becoming a doctor, biologist, or chat show host is more of an image than a fact. The functional achievement of the ambition is the real career goal.

This is a basic goal setting exercise:

  • Identify your areas of real interest, occupations you know you can commit to the careers involved. Commitment is the primary factor in actual achievement in any career.
  • Define what you'd like to accomplish in each area of interest. Be specific. This is a good way of checking out your vision for your goals. Some things need to be defined to make sense as career goals.
  • What are your real preferences about your definitions? In any question of choice, preferences soon become obvious. They tend to be instinctual choices, good guides to your feelings about the options.

The result of this process will be a pretty clear idea of what you want to do, and why. You've established the goal by defining the result of your choices.

Creating a Career Plan

A career goal is like a destination on a road map. You need to map out how to get there. Some career goals can be quite complex, so you also need to identify all the elements in achieving your goal.

This is an outline of a career plan:

Goal: To become a research microbiologist.

  • Required college qualifications: Masters or doctorate in biology, specializing in microbiology.
  • Required experience to be a researcher: Lab techniques, internship in laboratory work doing practical microbiological research.
  • Undergraduate qualifications: Bachelor of Science in Biology.
  • College entry prerequisites: High School Diploma with emphasis in sciences: Biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering and mathematics.

Note: Some of the basic training relates to ongoing studies in related disciplines throughout a scientific career. It's common in many careers that a range of additional training and qualifications are required.

Putting the plan into practice

This career plan needs to be organized from the ground up. Like a building, you construct a career. The structure may look complex, but it's easily defined in stages:

Basic qualifications: The foundations of any career, these are the basis of constructing the career.

Undergraduate qualifications: These are the framework of your career, the supports for further development.

Graduate qualifications: The basic construction model for the career.

Postgraduate qualifications: The goal, and the basis of career development, where you can achieve the things you want to accomplish.

Each stage requires management. Your plan will need to be kept on track, and you need to look at career options in terms of your goal. Some possibilities help you achieve a goal, others can hinder you. Stay focused on your goal as a reference to career moves. It's a good landmark when navigating a professional career.