A shortcut to defining your career goals

“Going with the flow” with your job search may feel less stressful in the short-term, but outsourcing your career management to job agencies can derail you — and your career — if not kept in check. For the most part, you must commandeer your own job search with the use of the right tools and strategic approach.

1. Build introspection

What is it that you wish for, going forward in your career? Do you seek a specific salary, or are you driven by values? Perhaps it’s more about title, and your goal is to become a manager or, ultimately, a senior executive leading a division, or even a company. Write it down. Create clarity – but don’t ignore the deeper reasons mobilising your aspirations; these deeper reasons should influence your judgement on whether or not you have the “right” career goals.

2. Become super responsive

Related, allow for a change of course during this journey. The best way to do this is to think about your career often, and to go deep every year or two to reevaluate and adjust your career trajectory.

In addition to writing thoughts down, it is useful to voice them aloud to someone you trust and to bounce feedback off your peers. Reading articles and books on career goals may also help you sharpen the edges from your vision as you mature in your career trajectory.

3. Understand that work and life goals are integrated

Some people merge their careers and personal lives well, others are perfectly fine using their career as a means to achieving happiness; a happiness which they live outside of their office hours. Your life goals influence your work goals, and vice-versa.

4. There is no excuse for not defining goals

While long-term goals can create a vision for which to aspire, short-term goals create traction. Without long-term goals, you may find yourself hopping from short-term goal to short-term goal with no real gain. Therefore, no matter how packed your schedule is, it is extremely important to determine your true career goals.

Pick your “vision” and move ahead. You can make adjustments, as mentioned previously. While life may seem short, it is generally long enough to make a few tweaks, mistakes and even transformations along the way.

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