Examples of Successful Career Goals

By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC


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Setting goals for yourself is important, especially when it comes to your career. To achieve the greatest success, you first have to ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable.


Read on for real life success stories and some easy-to-follow steps that could help you get on the fast track in your career.


What Are Your Goals?


To set attainable career goals, start by reflecting on the following:


  • In 5 years, I want to be...
  • I want to be earning...
  • What skills will I need to do this?
  • Will I need to change my career to achieve this?


By asking yourself the simple questions above, you'll begin to get a clearer idea of what you want from your career and what you'll need to do to achieve it.


What Are Your Strengths and Skills?


Sarah's story...


Sarah was a receptionist at a shipping firm, but she wanted to be the executive assistant to the company CEO one day. Sarah knew that she had the key strengths required to be an EA, but she wasn't sure how to land her dream role.


She began helping the other EAs with some minor administrative tasks, but her extra work seemed to go unnoticed.


Sarah decided to take action to make sure that she would progress. She had a great relationship with her manager and told him about her long-term goals. She was fortunate to work in an office where the culture was promoting from within and her initiative was appreciated.


She went to her manager with some specific ideas of how to advance. For example, she asked if there were any in-house training programs that would bridge her skills gap. She was clear about the skills she wanted to develop. She researched outside training programs including online webinars which would allow her to miss less work. She found out the time commitment, the syllabus, the price and the amount of time she would need off in order to pursue the training. She was also clear on how the training would help her in her current role.



She made sure she asked for her manager’s thoughts, advice, and feedback about her ideas. She wanted to make sure she got an outside, objective opinion about her goals from someone who supervised her and knew her work as well as her work ethic.


The manager put Sarah into a training program, and in just three months she became the executive assistant to a director in the company. She's still got a little way to go to achieve her main aim, but she's taken the first steps to getting there.


The lesson...


Make a list of your key strengths. Think about what you enjoy about your current job and what you don’t like. Think back to your past jobs and write down what you liked and disliked about that job. Sometimes we overlook what we are good at because we think, “That’s so easy anyone could do that.” Wait. Halt. Hold on! That is an indication of a talent. If it’s easy for you, and probably even fun, believe it or not, it is probably not that easy for others. Think about what topics people come to you for advice. Your strengths don't necessarily need to be only work related, just include all of your strong points. You never know which strengths will fit into which position.


Once you know your skills, you'll know what you're capable of achieving. Then take action to make the most of your strengths!


Changing Careers with Your Current Skills


Bill's story...


Bill had been an accounts manager for almost 7 years but he needed a change. He liked his company and got along well with his colleagues, but he wanted a more challenging role.


In reflection, Bill decided that he wanted to continue using his management skills and build upon them, but it was unlikely that this was going to happen at his current job, so he decided to change his career.


He now works as a sales manager for a much larger corporation. His new target-based role gives him the challenge he was looking for.


The lesson...  


In order to successfully change careers to capitalize on your skill set, start by looking at your current role and think about what you'd most like to change. This will give you a great idea of what you don't want to do in your next job so you can find an opportunity more suited to your desires.


Obtaining New Skills to Go for Your Dreams


Jan's story...


Jan had no higher education and worked full-time in a clothing store. She had been working at the store since high school, and had always wanted a career in fashion. She loved clothes but just didn't want to sell them.


Jan knew that she had a very small chance of landing a job in the fashion industry with her current skills and experience, so she decided to retrain. She was able to keep her current job part-time, which now supports her fashion and design training.


The lesson...   


When deciding on a new career, be realistic. For example, if you want to be a teacher, yet you have no teaching credentials, it's going to be tough to make that transition without further training. Think about what you want, but also determine what you must do to make it achievable.


These stories exemplify how you can successfully reach your career goals, regardless of your current situation. The key is to decide what you really want and then take appropriate action to make it happen. When you do these things, the sky is the limit!


Here some resources for additional training that may help you get started. Be sure to check with professionals in your industry for additional resources and advice.