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Career Goals Worksheet with Instructions

written by: Marjory Pilley•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 9/19/2010

Step through an analysis of your work ambitions and create specific and measurable goals using the free printable Career Goals Worksheet discussed in this article. The result will be short, mid-range and long-term SMART goals and valuable insight on how to reach them.

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    Identify Your Passion for Work

    Writing down your career goals will help you achieve success. If you write down a goal and place it before you, then it will remain in your consciousness and you are more likely to achieve it. This principle is repeated over and over again in books such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern and Getting Back to Work by Linda K. Rolie.

    If this seemingly simple act can have such a dramatic effect on life, then why doesn't everyone write down their career goals? One reason is that people just don't know what they want to do. Below are some suggestions to find the answer:

    • Ask yourself: What would I do if I had no financial restrictions and knew I could succeed?
    • Take a career interest or aptitude test.
    • Talk to a career counselor at a college or unemployment office.
    • Ask people you know for suggestions.
    • Remember your interests and talents as a child.
    • What are you doing when you lose track of time?
    • Conduct a brainstorming session and research the results.

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    Establish Career Goals

    The other reason that people don't establish career goals is because they just don't know how to create good ones. It's easy to blurt out a target without much forethought; "I want to be CEO or earn $100,000 next year." However, if you can't visualize a goal, it will go unmet. In order to transform a vague desire for your career progression into a clearly-stated goal, make it SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.) Using this methodology, a free printable Career Goals Worksheet has been developed with questions to make the goal development process easier.

    Here are the instructions to use this worksheet:

    1. Download the Career Goals Worksheet from the Career Planning and Development Media Center at Bright Hub.
    2. Write down where you want to be in your career for three time periods: short-term (1 year), mid-range (3-5 years) and long-term (10 years). Don't worry about the wording. Instead, make sure that you have a strong interest in the career and "own" the desire (i.e., it's not really someone else's goal for you!).
    3. Read the questions under the headings and answer the questions. Try to respond with details rather than "yes" or "no." Your answers will help you develop an action plan to reach your goals later.
      • Specific - Visualize the job you want with as much specificity as possible for each time interval.
      • Measurable - How will you know if you have the job you described above?
      • Achievable - What do you need to achieve the goal? Your answers may impact the time-range for your goals.
      • Relevant - Make sure your career goals are realistic given your other life goals. For example, if you want to work from home or like to travel, then some career goals may be hard to achieve.
      • Time-bound - Attach a deadline to each goal. But, make sure it is achievable given any constraints identified in your analysis.
    4. Set the Career Goals Worksheet aside for a few days. Research questions that you couldn't answer.
    5. Review your responses and create detailed goals.
    6. Post your goals in a visible place and review them periodically. Goal-setting and review is a never-ending process.
    7. Use the analysis in your worksheet to create a career development plan.

    Your career goals may change over time. If so, review the worksheet and make changes accordingly. Or, create an entirely new one if necessary. Take time to set goals for this important facet of your life!

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