May 27, 2022

Planning Short and Long Term Career Goals

By B&SC Career Services Team

Planning Short and Long Term Career Goals

Making a solid career path plan and goal setting early on is critical for following through and successfully achieving your goals. When creating goals, you must remember that your path may change, so staying flexible and adapting to changes as they arise is vital. By keeping track of progress and making changes as needed, it will help you maintain the motivation you need to achieve your goals.

Key Differences Between Short Term and Long Term Goals

Before building out your goals, it is important to understand the difference between long-term and short-term goals. Typically, short-term goals are defined as accomplishments that take 3 months to a few years. Long-term goals are usually completed in 3 to 5 years, or longer. This is not a set practice, simply a common guideline that makes sense when laying out your plans. Many people plan even longer milestones spanning 10, 20, or even 50 years. Usually, a five or ten-year plan is sufficient, and you are always free to make changes along the way.

Professional goals are not accomplished in a single action. Several steps are normally involved in achieving a long-term goal. An example would be if you were persuing a career as an engineer. First, you need to go to school for a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Then you would need to take exams and gain specific certifications for different types of engineer jobs. Gaining experience by working in the field for further certifications or to get a promotion to better positions can take time. These steps can take 3 years or more which makes them long term goals.

When you are working on short-term intentions, many of them can be accomplished in far less time. Examples of some short-term goals are applying to schools, passing critical exams, and taking on internships in the field in which you’re interested. Some short-term goals can be further subdivided to be completed more quickly. An example of this would be as simple as setting times to study for a crucial exam and a goal to help with your time management of projects.

Tips for long term goals

Planning and achieving your long-term goals can be challenging, yet rewarding. Staying optimistic, yet pragmatic, will go a long way toward achieving your goals. When things don’t go as planned, maintain a positive attitude to avoid making things worse. Use these tips to make the process a bit easier.

1.Think of where you want to be in 10 years

While many things can change in 10 years, including life events outside your career, it is a good idea to visualize where you could be in 10, or even 20 years. Think about location, workplace, and personal goals. Do you want to be in a leadership role? Work part-time? Travel for work? Ten years is a long time frame, but there are ways to break it down, so you are not overwhelmed and your chances of success increase.

2. Work Backwards from your 10 year goal

When making long-term goals, it can help to start with the end goal and work backward. For example, if your end goal is to become a doctor, you would make your plan in reverse factoring in education back to applying for certain schools and programs. This may seem somewhat counterintuitive, but this approach can clearly define more of what you need to achieve. Laying it out in this way can help you see the big picture of all the short-term goals you’ll need to check off your list before you can accomplish the long-term goal.

3. Break up your goals by month

Long-term goals can take years, so thinking in monthly terms can keep you focused on your progress instead of worrying about far-off goals. Staying in the present will help you track your progress and recognize smaller successes. Checking in with yourself monthly will give a constant clear view of what you have accomplished. You will gain confidence, learn from mistakes, and be more adaptable to making necessary changes.

Tips for short term goals

Short-term goals can be effective for your current career, but are also effective when going into job interviews and seeking placement with companies. Making short-term goals, like gaining the position you are seeking, can be very rewarding. Follow these tips to ensure your goals are setting you up for success.

1. Use your long term goals as a starting point

Stepping back, looking at your 10-year plan, and breaking it down into smaller goals will ultimately make your long-term goals more achievable. Many things can happen during this time, so it is important to stay flexible. This step reduces feeling overwhelmed and stressed out about taking on too much. Looking only at the big picture can be discouraging and sometimes feel impossible. Completing smaller goals boost your confidence and build a foundation for longer-term goals.

2. Ensure your goals are SMART goals

When you consider your short-term goals, apply the SMART formula. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Keeping these key points in mind will help you achieve your desired goals. Specifying your short-term goals makes them clearer and easier to follow. Measuring how much you have progressed keeps track of your progress and personal development. Achievable goals are within the bounds of what is plausible to avoid unnecessary disappointment. Setting realistic goals means you’ll get the satisfaction and dopamine boost of a job well-done more often. Finally, keeping your short-term goals timely will help you complete them by the desired due date.

3. Track Your Progress

You may have more short-term goals than long-term goals, so it is important to review these goals frequently and keep track of your progress. You may find that some short-term goals change or are no longer needed within the framework of your overall long-term goals. More success can often be achieved by staying flexible with short-term goals and modifying them as needed.

Excellence in education at Bryant & Stratton College

Bryant & Stratton College works hard to help students achieve their long-term and short-term career goals through a Career LifePrep experience. Available to all graduates of the college, Career Services provides ongoing career guidance such as job search assistance, mock interviews, and resume development – regardless if you just completed your degree or graduated 20 years ago. We are committed to helping our students and alumni succeed for all ands in life!

Ready to pursue your degree and become a career-ready professional? Learn important communication skills and crucial abilities like critical thinking, leadership, teamwork, and time management at Bryant & Stratton College. Request more information today!

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