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A lot of us don’t spend much time thinking about career goals. Or we focus on the basics. But true career development goals should challenge you, build your skill set and help you grow. 

No matter what industry or role you’re in, any goal you set for yourself should be SMART. Let’s unpack what that means.

  • First, that’s Specific. Pick a particular area of your work or metric you want to improve.
  • Next is Measurable. Make sure your goal can be quantified in some way, like pitching 3 ideas per quarter or growing your customer book by 5.
  • Third, make sure your goals are Attainable. While you want to stretch yourself, you don’t want to burn yourself out.
  • Fourth, consider if your own goals are Relevant to the overall objectives of your department or company.

 And finally, goals should be Time-based. A goal without a timeline is just an idea, so all goals—short-term or long—should have a deadline attached.

By carefully considering and then achieving your SMART goals, you can gain the confidence you need to ask for more responsibility (or even a promotion). Think about what you want out of your career, and then get SMART about making it happen.