New Month, New Goals: Keep Your Job and Career Goals in Focus

By John Focht

The start of a new month is always a good time to evaluate where you are with your job or career goals. If you haven’t set job or career goals up for yourself, start now. After all, if you don’t invest in your future, no one else will either.

If you haven’t setup job or career goals in the past, start out with just creating a list of short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term goals related to your job you would like to achieve over the next four weeks.

Short Tem Goals:

Your short-term goals should be goals that you can attain in the next four-six weeks.  Your initial goals can be simple goals, like scheduling time with your boss or your Human Resources department.  Talk to your boss or HR about what your career ambitions are, and how you fit into the organizations long-term growth opportunities.

Your meeting with your boss or your Human Resources department could also be more on the lines of asking them what long-term growth opportunities are available to someone like yourself.  Be prepared to discuss your schooling, background, training, and any certifications you have.  You should treat this meeting as you would a job interview.  Bring along a copy of your resume too.  This will show your boss or HR that you are serious about your career.

Find out about any internal or external training opportunities you can attend that will assist you in your job or career.  Sign up for the training.  You should take advantage of any training you company is willing to pay for. Take the training and add it to your resume.

Intermediate Goals:

Intermediate goals are goals that you should target as completing in a three-six month timeframe.  Some goals on this list you may be able to attain in a few days or a few weeks, but due to job priorities, you need to table them for later in the year.

Work with your boss on intermediate-term goals.  Be sure your boss is aware of training or certification you are working toward, but are tabling for later in the year due to current work demand.  Schedule regular meetings with your boss to keep him or her posted on your workload and the goals you set out for yourself.  You want to be able to communicate to your boss why training you scheduled for your self is slipping, particularly if it’s due to day-to-day demand of the job.

Once you have achieved those goals, be sure to make your boss aware that you have past the training or certification.  It may make you more marketable within your team or department too.

Long-Term Goals:

Some goals simply can be complete in a few hours, days, or weeks.  These goals should fall into your long-term goals category.

An example of a long-term goal may be you have gone back to school.  A goal like that will not be achieved for years.  However, be sure your boss, and every subsequent boss you have until graduation, is aware that you are back in school pursuing a degree.

Ensure you are discussing with your boss on an ongoing basis you schooling status.  You are making yourself more marketable to your team, department, and company, not to mention making yourself more marketable to outside employers.

Find out from your manager beforehand if your company will pay for your schooling.  Most companies will if it is related to your job function.  The one catch though, if your company assists or pays fully for your education, you are typically required to remain with that company for a certain period of time.  If you leave the company prior within that timeframe, you will be reimburse portions of the tuition payment back to your employer.

If you set goals up for yourself last month, go back and review those goals now.  See what you have accomplished, what is still on target, and what needs to be adjusted.  Whatever goals you have accomplished over the past month, be sure to update your resume.  It’s critical to keep your resume updated on an ongoing basis.