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Last Updated on May 4, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Published on June 5, 2020

Best 10 Keyboards Under $90 on Amazon

Best 10 Keyboards Under $90 on Amazon

There are different reasons why you might need to buy an extra keyboard. Your keyboard may be wearing out and one can only imagine the frustration you get each time you type ‘O’ when you actually wanted to type ‘P’.

Apart from your keyboard wearing out, desiring more comfort and flexibility and reducing pain in your wrists and fingers as you type might be your main reason. You may also want to maintain the recommended minimum distance of 40cm away from the screen[1] or just want to have some additional functionalities on your keyboard which are not available on most keyboards.

Whatever the reason, we all want to have the best keyboard that will suit our needs.

Here are the 10 best keyboards under $99 available on Amazon. They were picked based on their ergonomic design and extra functionalities.

Why You Should Trust Us

We checked Amazon to find the keyboards that have multiple functionalities, promises comfort, have received several reviews, and rated at least 4-star from real users. At a price below $100, we believe that you can find the best keyboard for you on this list.

1. Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo

4.3-star, 8950 Reviews

    The Logitech MK 550 keyboard has a constant curve layout and integrated palm rest to reduce stress, eliminate lower wrist fatigue, and help you type more naturally.

    If you want something that allows easy navigation, then this might be the best keyboard for you. It has 18 programmable keys that you will find pretty useful if you frequently use apps that require rapid navigation.

    It also has an accompanying precision laser mouse that makes screen navigation much easier and faster than using your touchpad.

    One of the things that set this keyboard apart from the rest is its long battery life. You can continue to use your keyboard and mouse for 2 years without thinking of changing the battery; the keyboard’s battery can even last up to three years.

    If you are a programmer, secretary, writer, or you do something that requires typing a lot, this is a product you might want to consider.

    Pros:

    • Long battery life
    • A combination of keyboard and mouse
    • Wireless keyboard
    • Integrated palm rest to reduce wrist fatigue

    Cons:

    • Only compatible with Windows-based PC. Additional set up might be required to use with Mac or Linux.
    • The keyboard can be a little noisy when typing

    You can buy this from Amazon for $46.99.

    2. Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Wired Keyboard 4000 for Business

    4.3-star, 5388 reviews

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      This is an ergonomic keyboard with a cord (about 6ft long). It has a comfortable design that enhances your natural hand, wrist, and forearm positions when in use. It also has a cushioned palm rest which helps maintain a neutral wrist position, eliminating wrist pain.

      The keyboard has 5 customizable buttons that you can assign specific commands to make your work easier and faster. This may be the best keyboard for you if you love ergonomic keyboards.

      Pros

      • Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux
      • Relatively quiet
      • Sturdy, doesn’t swivel around

      Cons

      • The keyboard is a little bulky
      • Spacebar might be sticky at first
      • It doesn’t have a wireless version
      • Not good for gaming
      • Some letters and characters might begin to wear off with use

      You can buy this from Amazon for $59.95.

      3. Razer Huntsman Gaming Keyboard

      4.6-stars, 1442 Reviews

        If you are looking for a superfast keyboard, the Razer Huntsman gaming keyboard is one to consider. Its new Razer Opto-Mechanical switches utilize optical technology for unmatched speed.

        The keyboard’s Razer Chroma syncs fully with popular games, and its Razer hardware supports 16.8 million colors on backlit keys. It has fully programmable macros that allow for the execution of complex commands through all keys and keypress combinations.

        This keyboard is originally made for gamers, but many users choose it for its super-fast speed rather than for gaming itself.

        Pros

        • Works for Mac and PC
        • Stiff enough to avoid typos
        • Superfast and customizable

        Cons

        • Because it’s clicky, it might be disturbing in an office environment
        • The Synapse software is bad and might not install on Windows 10

        You can buy this from Amazon for $89.99.

        4. Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard

        4.5-stars, 3115 Reviews

          This is a membrane keyboard for enhanced performance, whether you are working or gaming. It is designed to give you pleasant gaming experience with three zones of tweakable RGB backlight.

          One of the features that make the Corsair K55 keyboard stand out is its dust and spill resistance, so you don’t have to worry about wiping off spills. It also has a detachable palm rest to reduce wrist pain when you are gaming or on a prolonged work.

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          It has multi-key anti-ghosting features so those keypress combinations are executed without hassles. You also have direct control over your audio with the dedicated volume and media control keys.

          Pros

          • Competitive at its price
          • No software needed for RGB lighting
          • Quiet keys
          • Programmable keys
          • Media buttons are included

          Cons

          • Caps Lock and Num Lock indicators might stop working intermittently
          • Game hangs for about 30 – 60 seconds whenever you use a controller

          You can buy this from Amazon for $49.88.

          5. Apple Magic Keyboard

          4.6-stars, 1328 Reviews

            The most remarkable thing about the Apple Magic keyboard is its rechargeable batteries and the fact that it can be used to enhance your typing experience on smaller devices such as the iPad and iPhone.

            This keyboard can pair with any apple device that runs on IOS 9.1 and up. Therefore you can use the keyboard to type long text messages and emails on your iPhone. This may be the best keyboard for Mac.

            Pros

            • Comes with rechargeable batteries
            • Though made for Mac, it’s also compatible with PC

            Cons

            • The keys are not lit
            • Some keys, especially the arrow keys are quite small
            • Be careful, refurbished items might be sold as new

            You can buy this from Amazon for $94.

            6. Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

            4.1-stars, 20,735 reviews

              This is another great product from Logitech, especially for people on a tight budget. Like MK550, this keyboard also comes with a paired mouse and does have a long battery life as well.

              Although cheap, Logitech still maintained the connectivity signal of 2.4 GHz, so you can use the keyboard within a 10m range and there won’t be dropouts. It also has 8 programmable hotkeys to boost your productivity when you type.

              Pros

              • Long battery life: the keyboard battery lasts up to a year while that of the mouse lasts for two years.
              • Programmable hotkeys to boost productivity
              • Budget-friendly
              • Optical mouse included
              • Wireless keyboard

              Cons

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              • Build quality is low
              • The paired mouse looks cheap
              • There might be random keystrokes delay

              You can buy this from Amazon for $24.99.

              7. Redragon K552-RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

              4.6-stars, 1482 Reviews

                This is a mechanical anti-ghosting gaming keyboard with RGB backlighting and lettering and conflict-free keys (n-key Rollover) to provide ultimate gaming experience.

                This keyboard has adjustable rear feet to give you a typing angle to work fast and comfortably. It also has 12 multimedia keys to enhance gaming.

                You won’t have to worry about your keys in tough gaming conditions as this keyboard is built with metal alloy and ABS with plate-mounted clicky mechanical keys and switches. It comes with a high-speed USB cable and a connection to establish a firm connection so you can enjoy gaming without hassles.

                Pros

                • Sturdy and compact; saves space on your desktop
                • It has swappable switches
                • A good buy for its price

                Cons

                • Clicky keys and loud switches. It may not be suitable where some level of silence is required.
                • Some LEDs might break with continued use
                • Support for Mac is limited, only Windows PCs are fully supported.

                You can buy this from Amazon for $44.99.

                8. Havit Mechanical Keyboard and Mouse Combo

                4.4-star, 1116 reviews

                  This is an RGB lighting keyboard and mouse. It’s an all-metal panel mechanical keyboard with a floating design. It has 104 keys and each of the keys has individual switches with full n-key rollover.

                  The keyboard is ergonomic and has a detachable wrist rest to reduce stress and pain on your wrist. The mouse is also programmable and has DPI levels adjustable up to 4800 DPI. You can even customize your own lighting layouts on the keyboard and it stores and retains your configurations.

                  This keyboard is compatible with Windows, MAC, and Linux. If you like mechanical keyboards, this might be the best keyboard you’re looking for.

                  Pros

                  • Impressive build quality
                  • Great buy for its price
                  • Universal compatibility

                  Cons

                  • The blue switches in the keys are pretty noisy.
                  • Some keys might begin to malfunction with prolonged use.

                  You can buy this from Amazon for $62.99.

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                  9. Havit Mechanical RGB Gaming Keyboard Mouse Headset Combo

                  4.4-star, 6772 ratings

                    This is a complete gaming kit with an RGB lighting keyboard, mouse, and headset, all combined and synced together to give you that ‘rave’ feeling when you are gaming.

                    The headphone’s breathable soft fabric earpads and memory foam provide exceptional comfort. It also has a 50 mm sound driver and virtual surround sound for precision audio as you game.

                    Keyboard and mouse are plug and play and has universal compatibility. The headphone is also compatible with different devices and games, such as PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox, Xbox ONE, Nintendo, mobiles, tablets, and laptops.

                    Although the value for money lies in using it for gaming, it works well for just any other thing that other keyboards can do.

                    Pros

                    • The keyboard is well built and looks great
                    • Keys are solid and clicky
                    • Bright LEDs are bright and come pre-configured with lots of different lighting patterns.

                    Cons

                    • The keys are light but loud
                    • The headset is a bit bulky

                    You can buy this from Amazon for $90.99.

                    10. Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

                    4.2-star, 3101 Reviews

                      You already know that Logitech produces wireless keyboards and mouse combo with batteries that last up to three years at an estimated two million stroke per year of office use. You also know that their keyboard has a cushion palm rest for the comfort of your wrist.

                      What you may find interesting in this particular model is its LCD dashboard that displays the icon status of your battery, caps lock, scroll lock, and number lock all at a glance. This might be the best keyboard and mouse combo by Logitech you can find.

                      Pros

                      • The keyboard is sturdy and does not wobble on a work desk.
                      • Keys are solid and soft, making typing comfortable

                      Cons

                      • Letters might start wearing out after some months of use.
                      • Only compatible with Windows operating systems

                      You can buy this from Amazon for $49.99.

                      Bottom Line

                      You will always find a keyboard with good functionalities for a price of less than $100. It is advisable, however, to choose one that is compatible with different operating systems and can connect to different devices.

                      Find the Best Keyboard for You

                      Featured photo credit: Gilbert Pellegrom via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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