How to Create SMART Career Goals

We all have things we want to accomplish in life and in our careers, but how do we get there? How can we make it from where we are now, to where we want to be? The answer is setting SMART goals and working hard to achieve them.

What is your ultimate career goal? What do you want to be? You are the only one that can make this decision, because you will have to live with this career. Choose something you love and are passionate about, because you will spend a lot of time doing it.

Regardless of whether you want to be an astronaut, a marketing manager, a business owner, a computer programmer, a doctor, or anything else, you must create SMART goals for yourself to get there. Read on to find out what you need to do to create goals that are SMART.

Specific – To actually accomplish your goal, it has to be specific. What exactly do you want to become? When do you want to accomplish your goal by? An example of a specific career goal is – I want to become a Program Manager within 2 years.

Measureable – You must have criteria to measure the progress of your goal. This is essential for tracking your progress along the way. If we use the example above, and your goal is to become a Program Manager within 2 years, you need to create trackable milestones along the way. Completing Sutherland’s LEAD training program, and gaining experience doing manager-level tasks at least once a month are both examples of ways you can measure your progress.

Attainable – When setting a career goal, reach for the stars, but also make sure the goal is actually attainable. For example, becoming a doctor within one year is not an attainable goal. It takes years to get through medical school. The example we are using here, becoming a Program Manager within 2 years, is an attainable goal. Others have done it before, and if you work hard, so can you!

Realistic – To achieve your goal, you must be willing and able to commit to it. The goal must be something that you can actually complete. Traveling to Mars next year is an awesome goal, but it’s not realistic. In this example, becoming a Program Manager within 2 years is realistic if you commit to it and work for it.

Timely – Your goal needs to have a time frame that you are going to complete it in. Without a time frame for your goal, there is no sense of urgency. You need to create a deadline for your goal, commit to meeting your deadline, and work hard to make it happen. In our example here, 2 years is our time frame.

We all have things we want to accomplish in our careers. Creating SMART goals and working hard to make them happen will definitely help you get there!

Meet our Author!

My HeadshotBy Jennifer Cruse| Senior Social Media Strategist
Jennifer attended West Virginia University and earned both a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications. She began working for a group of colleges before graduating with her Master’s. In this role, Jennifer helped manage all marketing activities. This included more traditional marketing like TV and radio, and also modern marketing like social media and digital ad campaigns. Jennifer is experienced in creating high-level strategies and operational tactics. She believes marketing is both an art and a science, because it takes an artist to create and a scientist to measure the results. Jennifer is super excited to be in her current role as Senior Social Strategist at Sutherland! When not working, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her two sons. Playing outside, swimming, and basketball are some of their favorite things to do! She also enjoys reading about all things science and technology!

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