Career Goals: Examples for Entry-Level Workers
If you’re new to the workforce, you probably have a lot on your mind. You’ve got to impress the boss, mingle with co-workers (note to self: find an office bff A.S.A.P.!) and prove you’re the next rising star. If you're looking for good career goals, examples should cover both the short- and long-term.
Granted, you never know where you career will take you. Your first job could be a great fit (fingers crossed!), or it could make you second-guess your chosen field. Either way, you’ll want to create a few long-term work goals in order to set your career on the right path.
You can always deviate from your initial career direction, just as long as you're working toward something. We’re not saying you need to map out a 40-year plan, but there are some universal targets you should aim for.
Career Goals: Examples for Beginners to the Workforce
1. Find Your Calling
It's totally find to be money-motivated, but a winning strategy will also take your career fulfillment into account, not just a fat paycheck. So when you're considering job offers, look for an opportunity for personal development, rather than cash alone.
During the early stages of your career, one of your main work goals should be finding what industry best suits your ambitions. Now is the time to try different career paths. It’s more challenging to change careers after you've become firmly entrenched in your industry.
2. Develop a Broad Skill Set
Skills take center stage of many career goals. Examples might include leadership skills, extensive certifications, and the like, all of which are based on enhancing your professional development. Today, you’re hard-pressed to find a job that requires one skill and one skill only. Employers are looking for people with a variety of talents. Hence, instead of concentrating on what you want your job title to be in five years, focus on developing skills that will make you more marketable to future employers.
Start by honing your communication skills. You may also want to take a writing class since nearly every industry will require you to write something, be it an email or an annual report.
3. Set a Timeline for Education
Depending on your chosen field, you may have to complete certain training, certification programs, or education to excel in your career. To avoid getting sidetracked, set a goal to acquire the skill or degree within a specific time period (e.g., “I will go to law school in two years”).
However, before enrolling—and potentially taking on student loan debt—think about why you want the degree and if it’s really going to make a difference in your future. Don't go back to school for the wrong reasons only to become frustrated because it doesn’t lead to better career opportunities.
If getting an MBA will increase your earning potential, it’s probably worth the investment; but if the degree isn’t relevant to your work, you might be better off going without.
4. Distinguish Yourself in the Field
To become a leader, you’ll need to raise your visibility at your current company and in your field. Show the boss you’ve got management potential by spearheading an initiative. Working on a group project? Be the one who presents the report to your manager.
Remember that networking both in-person and online can help you demonstrate your expertise. That entails attending events, not just reading about them, and also being active on social media—meaning you need to tweet on a regular basis, not simply have a Twitter account.
5. Align Your Life Goals With Your Career Goals
Think about where you want to be in five years in terms of your personal life, and ask if this is reflected in your career goals. Examples might include starting a family, relocating to a new city, buying a house, or paying off debt. Check Monster's salary guide to see what the average salary is for someone in your industry with five years’ experience, and determine whether you need to make adjustments in order to stay on course.
Develop New Work Goals
No matter how much preparation you do to work toward achieving your goals, know that nothing is set in stone—and that's OK. It's important to be flexible. If you notice your career path is moving in a new and unexpected direction, allow yourself to explore it rather than resist it. The workplace changes, industries change, and you yourself will change too. What's important is that you can identify these changes and adjust your direction accordingly.
Whether you want ideas for career goals, examples of different career paths, or advice on advancing in the workplace, Monster can help. Start by creating a free profile. You can get career advice and job search tips sent directly to your inbox. It's difficult to know what your career will actually look like in the future, but with expert help from Monster, you'll be ready for whatever comes your way.