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Is Setting Personal Career Objectives Necessary, and What Are the Advantages?


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Whichever career you may be considering as a student, or that you might already be involved in, it is sure to be competitive. The level of competition will vary greatly at the entry stage; it is all a matter of supply and demand. If your desire is to be an astronaut or a veterinary surgeon, the competition to get those coveted places is enormous. If you have chosen nursing, then entry will be easier. However, whichever career it is, once you have entered that career, there will be competition to progress to a higher level, and it is here that having clear career objectives will be necessary.

It is true that some people may have a successful career without ever having set themselves any personal career objectives; at least, any written objectives. However, as with any competition, those who plan their success the best do give themselves an advantage over those who do not. This applies as much to career objectives as it does to as it does to business objectives and other personal objectives.

Advantages of Setting Career Objectives

There are numerous advantages to setting career objectives, at the various stages in the pre-career and career cycle. Ideally, career objective setting should begin late in school, college or university, at some time prior to applying for any jobs. Thereafter, it is worth reviewing those objectives regularly, even annually as you would normally with business objectives.

The following are some of the more obvious advantages of setting career objectives for yourself:

1. The process of objective setting forces you to, among other things, think clearly about your future career, and consider in detail the field in which you wish to work, the position you would aim to hold, the skills you need to acquire, and the work you need to plan.

2. By going through such a detailed thought process, you may identify before it is too late that a particular career is not for you, or you may in fact reinforce your decision to follow a particular career path. Either way, you are more likely to end up in a career that suits you, at least for the time being.

3. Once you have set your career objectives, they give you a structure on which to pin your career development. You can put together a career plan based on these objectives, and then monitor progress and carry out regular reviews of the way your career is developing.

4. Establishing career objectives, and writing them down, shows you are somebody who has clearly thought deeply and into the future about your career, and what you want to achieve. Not only will this help you to keep track of your career progress, it will also impress employers and potential employers.

5. Regular monitoring of your career objectives will help you to discern when you are not making sufficient progress, and help you to pinpoint why that is so. That can enable you to take corrective action to put yourself back on target for your goals, or to reassess the goals and make them more achievable.

6. Having career objectives may also help you decide that a certain career is not for you, if you have set reasonable objectives and then found you could not reach them and felt no further motivation to do so. You may therefore be in a position to switch to another career sooner than someone who was not monitoring their progress against objectives.

Other advantages to setting career objectives may no doubt be cited, but those above are some of the most common. Generally speaking, though, taking the trouble to set objectives for your chosen career is likely to benefit you in more ways than one.

This career development article was written by Roy Thomsitt, owner and part author of the Routes To Self Improvement website.

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  • Posted On January 10, 2007
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