How to Set your Career Goals

When you set goals, you will not only achieve magnificent things; you will also make your ultimate dreams come true.
Elliyani Mohamad Ali
Chief Editor, gradsingapore

Since young, we’re always being asked: What do you want to be when you grow up? Fast forward to now when you’re graduating soon, you’re expected to already lock down an answer and gearing up to walk the talk.

Or rather, that’s the expectation, but not necessarily the reality.

You may be graduating soon, but that doesn’t mean you already have a clear set of career goals yet. But having a defined set of goals is critical in keeping you focused on what you want to achieve, and developing clear plans is the first step in enabling you to reach your goals. Similarly, when it comes to charting your career path, you need to put in effort and thoughts into successful goal-setting and good planning.

It’s not too late to start now. With a successful career plan, you can be more confident to graduate and ready to kick off your career on a good note.

So, buckle down now and start taking notes. It’s time to plan for your afterschool future.

1) Understand your skills and interests

Before you start brainstorming your career goals, understand who you are first. This means identifying your skills and assessing your interests and values.

Begin with listing your skills and knowledge, then compare them with the requirements of your dream job. Be honest with the assessment of your skills, values and interests to narrow down your options in the next step. If you spot any gaps in your skill sets, look at filling them through additional courses or internship stints.

Additionally, Google for free online self-assessment tests to help you assess your strengths, weaknesses and personality traits.

How to set your career goals-Understand your skills and interests

2) Develop both short-term and long-term goals

It can be overwhelming to attempt to achieve multiple goals simultaneously – that’s why you should categorise them into short-term and long-term. Group those goals you can carry out within 12 months into short-term goals, e.g. taking a specific class or finalising your resume. Long-term goals can take several years to achieve, e.g. saving for retirement and starting your own company. Choose what is important right now and focus on that particular goal.

How to set your career goals-Develop both short-term and long-term goals

3) Internships or volunteering

Internships aren’t just for when you’re in school. It is a valuable way to gain work experience, connections, and insight into a job. Alternatively, look at volunteering if internships are unavailable in your field. Make sure you’re able to build your resume, make new connections and decide for sure that this is the career line you’re looking at.

How to set your career goals-Making the most of your internships

4) Don’t stop researching

By this point, you should be confident of the types of jobs you wish to go into, but don’t just stop there! Continue with the necessary research to supplement your industry knowledge, such as attending job fairs, connecting with the industry experts on LinkedIn and reading more of today’s in-demand careers. There are always something to do, but as long as you compartmentalise what’s important and don’t leave everything till the last minute, you won’t feel overwhelmed.

How to Set your Career Goals-Accomplish your goals without being overwhelmed