Career Goals

What are your long term career goals?

When deciding if you should go to university, or if it's time to retrain for a new career, you need to assess your career goals.

 

 


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These days there are many different patterns of work available to us. In the past, most people were expected to get a job and stay there pretty much for the rest of their working lives, perhaps climbing the career ladder and moving within the company or moving to another company in the same industry.

So career goals were not something which required a lot of thought. People started at the bottom and the goal was to get to the top of the ladder or as close as possible.

Nowadays, the job for life is very rare and it is common to move around from one company to another and to change careers several times during your working life. In addition, it is also common to have what is known as a portfolio career, that is, having several sources of income at the same time. This could mean a combination of employment and self employment.

 


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Defining your career goals

Start at the end - your final career goal

When do you want to retire and what sort of lifestyle do you want? Or perhaps you want to have a career which is so much fun that you never want to retire. Spend some time writing down your final career goals.

It could be that you want a second career when you are older, for example, you'd like to have enough money in the bank to allow yourself to follow a dream which doesn't feel possible now, such as being a writer or artist.

It may be that you will have a first career which will give you the experience and financial resources needed for your second career. It could also be that you are interested in different things and want a combination of different jobs either at the same time or in succession.

Or it may be that you want to progress in your chosen field and work your way to the top or to gain experience in different fields with a view to setting up your own company.

So start out with where you want to end up and work backwards until you reach today. This will help you create a blueprint to design your own career. Remember that you can change your plans at any time - it's not unusual to want something very different at age 20, 40 or 60. If this is too general for you now, let's get more specific

You may not know what you want to do for the rest of your working life, after all, career goals change with experience. So instead you can think about where you want to be in 10 years time - this will give you a clearer picture of what you need to do right now. Let's say you want to reach a certain point on the career ladder within a specific industry.

Define the exact position you'd like to be in: middle management in an IT company, chef in a top restaurant, head of department in a school or whatever it is.

Next define the step before that one. So for the school example, it could be several years of experience teaching your subject. Then go to the step before that, which would be getting a teaching job, and before that, getting your teaching qualification. So the first major step would be getting a degree in your subject.

Depending on where you are now, that might be the next step, or you may need to get the entry requirements for university first.

Apply this technique to your own career goals. The teaching example is pretty straightforward, your goal may not be. So spend some time researching what you need to do. If you have a specific company or organization in mind, contact them to find out what sort of experience and qualifications they look for. You can do this by going to open days, career fairs, looking at their website and reading any information they send out.

It may be possible to get some work experience with them or do a little work shadowing. If not, be creative - try to find people who already work there and ask if you can get some advice regardng your career goals, get some job application packs or look at the recruitment section on their website.

Changing Career Goals

Of course it isn't possible to make an exact plan for your career - life doesn't always go according to plan, but this will help you decide what you really want to do and show you what you need to do to get there. And if you decide on a different path along the way, you can use these techniques to help you with your new career goals.