Benefits of career counseling and how to Set achievable career goals
Career counseling can be said to mean the provision of expert and professional career advice. This could be to young graduates or other career persons who wish to succeed in their chosen careers. This is very important to ensure a successful career journey.
Career counseling includes skills development, job selection, building a personal brand, and lots more.
The benefits of career counseling are numerous. A career counselor comes in at that point in your career when you face difficult and confusing career challenges. Having a solid career foundation is very important to have a successful career. Engaging the services of a career counselor to work you through critical career paths can avail you a lot. Some of the benefits of career counseling are:
- Revealing and handling unknown weaknesses
It very important that every career person recognizes that much as they have a lot of strength, the possibility of having unknown weaknesses is also there. Often, these weaknesses may affect career growth and advancement. Assessment tests giving by a career counselor can reveal some of these weaknesses. Based on the assessment, the counselor will be able to diagnose your areas of strength, possible hidden weaknesses, and natural strength.
- Setting achievable and attainable career goals
Another benefit of career counseling is Career Goal Setting. Setting achievable and measurable career goals is one thing that career counselors will assist you to learn how to do and implement. This process helps career people identify important career steps they have to take to achieve optimum career success. This will assist you to make a major career breakthrough.
How to set achievable career goals
- Your career goals should motivate you
This is something people usually forget when coming up with their career goals. Very often, people set certain career goals because they sound good or because they think they should set such goals.
When setting goals for your career, you need to think about yourself. Is the goal important to you? Do you want to achieve it? Does it motivate you? Do you personally value the outcome? If you set goals because you think they sound good or because others expect you to have such goals, you won’t have the motivation to go after them.
There will be nothing pushing you to put in the work to make it happen, which means your chances of achieving the goal will be very slim.
Think about your priorities in life and set career goals that are in line with these priorities. This gives you a sense of urgency and the attitude that it has to be done regardless of what it takes.
A good way of making sure that your goals are motivating is to consider the reason behind the goal. Why do you want to achieve that goal? What makes it so important for you to achieve this goal?
Once you figure out why you are chasing the goal, it will motivate you and keep you going even when doubts and lack of confidence creep in.
- Your career goals should be challenging but attainable
Setting career goals is about finding the balance between being challenging and attainable. Much as your career goal needs to be challenging, it also needs to be achievable. The essence of setting goals is to spur yourself to take action to push your career to the next level, to do something in your career that you have never done before.
Therefore, your goals need to be challenging and also achievable. Great, effective career goals should put you in a discomfort zone.
Your career goals should be accompanied by some fear, uncertainty, and doubt. There should be a risk that you might not achieve the goal if you do not raise the bar and put in a lot of effort. This is what leads to growth. It makes no sense to set career goals if you know you can achieve them without much effort.
At the same time, don’t set goals that are too ambitious and unattainable. Remember my goal of landing on the moon by 2021? The goal is challenging, but it is not attainable. If I told my friends about this goal, they would think I am delusional. For a goal to be effective, it also needs to be attainable.
Your career goal should be compatible with your skills and abilities. If you do not have the skills required to achieve a career goal, it should be possible for you to gain these skills. Setting goals that you cannot realistically achieve will only leave you demoralized and erode your self-confidence.
A good way of determining if your goal is attainable is to consider your limitations. Are there any obstacles that might prevent you from reaching your goal? Is there something you can do to overcome these challenges?
For example, if your goal is to make a change to an entirely different career where you have no training, you might need to go back to college.
Do you have the money to pay for college, as well as the time to attend classes considering your current schedule? If you cannot afford to pay your way through college, then your goal might not be very realistic now.
If you have a way of getting yourself through college, however, your goal is attainable, even though it might take a while to achieve it.
- Determine how you are going to achieve your career goals
There is a popular saying that a goal without a plan is only a dream. If you have no idea what it takes to achieve your career goals, you are only wishing.
For your goal to be effective and attainable, you need to find out what exactly you need to do to achieve it.
Here, you need to ask yourself questions like:
- What skills do you need to learn?
- How long will it take?
- How much will it cost?
- Do you need to make any lifestyle changes?
Answering these questions might require you to do some research. Once you determine what it takes to achieve the goal, you can now break the goal into small chunks or sub-goals that you can work on in the short term.
A huge goal might seem out of reach and makes it easy for you to procrastinate or put it off. Once you break it into smaller steps, however, it appears a lot more attainable.
Breaking it into smaller steps also provides you with milestones to track your progress.
For instance, if your goal is to learn CSS and HTML so that you can become a self-employed web developer within a year, it is easy to leave it at that.
However, by committing to going through two video tutorials every week, your overall goal becomes a lot more manageable and achievable.
- Your career goals should be measurable
Your career goals need to be measurable for them to be very effective.
In other words, you need criteria for determining that your career goal has been achieved. Career goals without measurable criteria may be too ambiguous to achieve.
Consider someone whose goal is to increase their income. This goal is not measurable.
If the fellow’s income increases by $50, will she consider herself to have achieved her career goal? What exactly is she aiming for?
On the other hand, someone whose goal is to increase their income by 10% knows exactly what she wants. She won’t rest until she achieves the 10% increase. A measurable goal provides you with a benchmark for meaningfully tracking your career progress.
- Assess your commitment to achieving your career goals
Imagine a friend has invited you to a party at a place you have never been to before. To help you get there, your friend sends a pin drop of the location to your phone. With this pin drop, you can use the map on your phone to find the place where the party is happening.
However, you have to get into your car and drive yourself over. Your career goals are like the pin drop shared by your friend. They help you know where you are going and how to get there. But they are not enough.
The same way you have to drive yourself to the party, you have to put in some time and effort to realize your goals.
Having determined what you need to do to achieve your career goals, you now need to assess yourself and determine whether you will be committed enough to follow through with what needs to be done.
This is especially important if your goal is a challenging one.
Achieving your goals will not be easy.
Are you willing to put in the time and effort it takes to achieve it? Going back to the example of learning CSS and HTML, will you commit to going through two tutorials each week, or do you think it is a lot of work?
It makes no sense setting goals if you will not be committed to them. If you doubt that you might not be committed enough to follow through with your goal, this is a sign that you need to revise your goal or set a new one that you will be committed to.
The inability to commit to your career goals might also be a sign that your goal does not motivate you.
A goal will only be realistic and achievable if you can make the commitment to yourself that will do whatever it takes to achieve the goal.
- Put your career goals in writing
This is the final step of setting realistic and achievable goals. Once you have come up with realistic and achievable goals for your career, you need to put them in writing. Get a notebook or a piece of paper and note down your goals.
When doing this, use the word “will” instead of “might” or “would like”. For instance, if your goal is to increase your profits by 20%, write
“I will increase my profits by 20% by the end of the year,” not “I would like to increase my profits by 20% by the end of the year.”
Using the word will provide you with passion, commitment, and will power to pursue your goals. Using the words “would like” or “might” presents your goals as a nice-to-have, not something you need to do at all costs.
Once you have your goals written down, place them in a visible place where you can see them every single day, such as on your bedside table, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or desk.
You might be wondering if this step is important. Many people set their career goals but never bother to write them down? Why do you need to write down your goals? Putting your goals in writing has several benefits.
First, it helps visualize your goals. Before writing down your career goals, you need to visualize them clearly in your mind. Visualizing your goals motivates you to work harder and increases your chances of achieving the goal. Research shows that those who visualize their goals are more likely to achieve them.
Writing your goals down also helps to transform them from abstract concepts to something real. When you just think about your goal, the goal is not physically real. It only exists in your mind, and it’s easy for you to change your mind. But once you put them down in writing, they become real and tangible.
You can visually see them and you are more likely to feel committed to achieving them.
Finally, putting your goals in writing serves as a reminder. I mentioned that you should place your goals in a place in a visible place where you can see them daily. Looking at your goals every day reminds you of what you are working towards and keeps you motivated daily.
The importance of writing down your goals is backed by science. According to a study conducted by Dominican University psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, by simply writing down your goals, you are 42% more likely to achieve them.
Therefore, after you come up with goals for your career, finish the process by writing them down.
- Your goal should be time-bound
The other day, I was talking to a friend about goal setting and he said his goal was to make a lot of money and buy a Rolls Royce Phantom 8 2020. I asked when he planned to do this, and he simply answered “someday.”
This is something very common with a lot of people. They know what they want to achieve, but they simply do not have a timeline for when they want to achieve it. Without a timeline, your goals will not be very effective. If it doesn’t matter when you achieve your goals, nothing will push you to start working on them today?
Having a deadline for your goals has several benefits. First, it keeps you accountable. A deadline provides you with a critical metric for measuring your outcome. You know that if you do not achieve a certain outcome by a certain date, then your efforts will be deemed as a failure, regardless of how much progress you might have made.
The risk of failing puts pressure on you and pushes you to start taking action. Without the time constraints, there is no accountability and no sense of urgency since you can always do it later. Lack of a timeline leads to procrastination.
Second, having a timeline allows you to break your goal into manageable chunks. Once you know the timeline within which you need to achieve your goal, you can break down the goal into smaller goals that you need to achieve every day or every week.
For instance, if your goal is to make $1 million someday, you might not worry so much about how much you make every single day since you will eventually get to the target, even if it takes you ten years. If your goal is to make $1 million within a year, however, this means that you need to make at least $2740 daily.
Knowing what you need to do in the short term allows you to prioritize and focus on activities that move you closer to your goal. If you know that you need to make $2740 every single day, you are unlikely to waste time on TV shows and social media until you make sure you have reached your daily target. A timeline provides you with a way of tracking your progress. Let’s assume that your goal is to write a book within a year.
If you find that you are yet to start writing the book halfway down the year, this is a clear indicator that you are not on track to complete the book by the end of the year. It tells you that you need to work twice as hard as you had planned to if you want the book to be ready by the end of the year.
Once you start setting your career goals, make sure they are attached to a deadline. This will make them realistic and will provide you with the motivation and inspiration you need to start taking action.
- Guide on how to make good career choices
This is yet another important benefit of good career counseling. Every career person should know that there is the possibility of having unknown weaknesses. Often, these weaknesses may affect career growth and advancement. Assessment tests giving by a career counselor can reveal some of these weaknesses. Based on the assessment, the counselor can diagnose your areas of strength, possible hidden weaknesses, and natural skills.
The truth is that career counseling is very important in professional development and advancement in that it helps to identify and define strength. It also helps in job search and application support and self-development support. Contact us for the best of career counseling and guide. An excellent career counselor offers career resources that produce excellence.