Tips for Setting and Reaching Career Goals

Sometimes the idea of deciding what your career goals will be puts great pressure on you to make the “right” decision and that can stop you in your tracks. To help with this, we recommend that you break your goals into more manageable pieces. Simplify the process by looking at your goals from two perspectives—what you want to accomplish down the road and what you can do now.

Setting Goals: A Few Tips  

  • Goals need to be realistic and attainable in order for you to see progress.
  • Articulate what your goals are and stay concrete in what you are going to achieve. Ask yourself: what is my next achievable step to reach this goal and what have I already accomplished?
  • Track your progress, have an action plan, and keep moving forward toward the next step in the process.
  • Set a specific timeline that you feel you can accomplish your goal by and stick to it.
  • Review your goals along the way in a timely manner. This will help you see your progress, and you can adjust as needed.

Short-Term Goals AKA Incremental Steps

  • Identify goals that you can work on immediately.
  • Examples might include: drafting a resume, researching career options by major or skill, conducting an informational interview, or obtaining an internship.
  • Usually these are goals that you will accomplish in the next few months or in the next few years.
  • Set your goals to keep moving in a particular direction and allow for some change along the way. Goal setting will organize your approach and keep you focused on achieving career success.

Long-Term Goals AKA Your Career Path

  • These goals help to direct you and keep you focused on your career direction.
  • Usually these are goals that you will accomplish in 4+ years.
  • Examples might include: moving into a chosen career field for the first time, pursuing a master’s degree, or going after licensure in your field.


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