Feeling stuck in your job or your career overall? Setting goals is a great way to make headway when you’re feeling in a rut and can give you the boost you need to get where you want to be. Without goals, getting that new job or promotion you’ve been hoping for could be difficult.


Professionals worldwide use the SMART framework to help them set realistic and attainable career goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Here are the guidelines for setting SMART goals for your career.


Make sure that your goal is more specific and less general. Instead of saying that your goal is to get promoted to a manager position, say that you want a role managing a team in the customer relations department. The more you can narrow down what you want, the easier it will be to stay focused.


How can you prove that you are making significant steps toward your goal? What measures will you use? If you’re looking for a job managing a team in the customer relations department, set a goal to have lunch with three customer relations managers to gain insight, knowledge, and tips about the scope of their position.


Set goals that you know you have the time and resources to complete. It’s great to dream big, but remember to set smaller achievable goals along the way to attain your big dream. As you’re seeking your career as a manager of a customer relations team, seek out employees in the customer relations department and ask them what they value in a manager. Then, consider updating your resume to reflect both soft and hard skills that match the team’s needs.


Ensure that your goals are in alignment with your overall objective. They also should fit with your overall life goals and values. For example, ask yourself if your career goals make sense given your desired lifestyle, family or personal goals, and relationships. If you’re looking for a managerial position, ensure that the job requirements align with who you are and what you want. If your goal is not relevant to you, it is less likely that you will make an effort to attain it, or if you do reach your goal, you likely will find the results disappointing.


What is your goal’s time frame? Giving yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve your plan can help motivate you to take action steps. If you give yourself a timeline of 6 months but don’t achieve your goal, there’s no need to guilt yourself or give up. Instead, ask yourself why this might have happened, and then use that information to adjust your goals and expectations.


Setting goals can be challenging, but using the SMART framework will help you achieve your dream career one step at a time.

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