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Goal Getting

How Short Term Career Goals Can Lead to Your Dream Job

Written by Gary Ryan Blair
Growth Hacking Aficionado I Creator of 100 Day Challenge
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Ask yourself this question: “Do you want to score your dream job, one where you build your career on something which you are passionate about and get paid your true worth?” It’s easy to respond with an enthusiastic “yes!” Where the rubber meets the road, however, is finding out exactly how to make that happen—to make short-term career goals that lead to your dream job.

How do you go about making short-term career goals that will lead to success in a job you love? The answer lies in career development built on your strengths.

1. Play to Your Strengths

Most career advice you’ll come across is quite terrible. Pass out cards, develop a LinkedIn profile, use high-quality resume paper, get referral letters. Most of the time, these things don’t actually help you achieve your goals.

That nonsense stops right here, right now.

When it comes to landing your dream job, you cannot afford to be casual or cavalier. A successful approach demands that you be intentional and actively manage your choices in such a way that:

  • You place yourself where you can make the greatest contribution.
  • You learn to develop yourself and embrace both self-reliance and initiative.
  • You remain flexible, adaptive, and mentally alive during your pursuit.

You have to learn how and when to change what you do. Simply put, you must know your core strengths so that you know where you belong[1]!


2. Strengthen Your Core Goals

When thinking about short-term career goals, consider that a dream job means spending time doing the things that you love to do and are great at. This brings you increased energy, increased confidence, and the ability to create more value for others, which will lead to more productive and rewarding relationships.

Each of us is unique, and if we are going to offer something to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our core strengths.

Fewer things are sadder than watching a person with potential waste away in work that makes little use of their strengths. Work can be one of your greatest sources of success and fulfillment. Yet, too often, the opposite is true.

To achieve success with fulfillment, it is critical that your dream job taps into your core strengths and pays you for what you naturally love to do.

For the great majority of people, to know their strengths was irrelevant only a few decades ago. One was born into a job and into a line of work. The farmer’s son became a farmer. If he was not good at being a farmer, he failed.

Today, the game has changed, we all have choices as to the work we do. We, therefore, have to know our strengths so that we can know where we belong.


There is only one way to find out:

The After-Action Review

The after-action review is your feedback analysis, as well as the best resource you’ll ever have for landing the job of your dreams. It’s an amazing tool when setting short-term career goals, so allow me to explain how it works:

Whenever you make a key decision, and whenever you engage in a key action or project, you must determine and document what you expect will happen.

Over time, you then analyze and review back from actual results to intended expectations. Several action conclusions follow from the after-action review.

1. Concentrate on Your Strengths

Place yourself where your strengths can produce consistent performance and results.

2. Work on Improving Your Strengths

The feedback gained from the after-action review rapidly shows you where you need to improve skills or where you must acquire new knowledge.

It will show you where skills and knowledge are no longer adequate and have to be updated. It will also show the gaps in your knowledge.

3. Identify the Areas Where Arrogance Causes Ignorance

The feedback and information gained from the after-action review soon identifies the areas where intellectual arrogance causes disabling ignorance.

Far too many people —and especially people with high knowledge in one area—are contemptuous of knowledge in other areas or believe that being “bright” is a substitute for knowing.


4. Waste as Little Effort as Possible on Improving Areas of Low Competence

Remember, concentration should always be on areas of high competence and high skill.

It takes far more energy and far more work to improve from incompetence to low mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence and then to preeminence.

And yet most people—and equally most teachers and most organizations—tend to concentrate on improving weaknesses. Don’t bother, because if you invest your time working on your weaknesses, all you end up with is a lot of strong weaknesses.

Your energy and resources—and time—should instead go into making yourself into a superstar performer. Focus on making your strengths productive and profitable, as you cannot build as quickly on weakness.

To achieve superior results, you must use all of the available strengths—the strengths of associates, the strengths of your superior, and your own strengths. These strengths are the true opportunities…the highest and best use of your time.


3. Your Core Strengths Will Set You Free

Your core strengths are comprised of four foundational pillars. They represent the guiding principles on which your ability to maximize your performance is based and which your dream job is built upon with short-term career goals.

Use the following acronym to uncover your core strengths:


Core strengths provide an indomitable feeling of confidence in your ability to produce and deliver quality and consistent results. You possess the internal faith and belief that you can and will be successful.

In what areas are you most confident in your abilities to succeed?


Core strengths are saturated with an attitude of optimism. Optimism is a general disposition to expect the best possible outcome in a given situation. It is the belief that your future will contain outcomes that you desire.

Optimists are people who believe that through positive action in their communities, business, and personal life that they can create a better tomorrow.

In what areas of your life are you most optimistic about creating greater value?


Core strengths operate best in a relaxed state. The word relaxed has a lot to do with being unaffected, easy, spontaneous, and operating in flow.

Once you can tap into your core strengths, you will enjoy a mental state of quietness, calmness, serenity, and happiness. Time will pass quickly, and your work will feel more like play.


In what areas do you enjoy the greatest state of relaxation and a wonderful sense of flow?


Core strengths are driven by boundless enthusiasm. It’s an inspiring zeal that delivers inspiring results, as nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.

Your passion, desire, and hunger about being involved in something of importance will unleash your core strengths.

In what areas are you the most enthusiastic and passionate?

Bonus: Teamwork Makes Your Dream Job Work

It means that you can focus on your core strengths by finding a team to support you. Working well with a team is one of the most important short-term career goals.

Some of the best examples of people focusing on their core strengths are in the field of sports and entertainment.

In these industries, structures are set up to ensure that top performers can focus on what they do best — performing and strengthening their core. For example, a professional golfer has a whole team of people around him or her who provide the support they need to focus on staying at the top of their game.

They don’t carry the clubs, nor do they manage their travel schedule. A professional golfer plays golf.

Learn to delegate to people who possess their own core strengths in areas where you may be lacking skills. Surrounded by people working in their own core strengths, you can focus on what you do best and enjoy the most.

Final Thoughts

You cannot and will not ever overcome the weaknesses with which each of us is abundantly endowed, but you can make them irrelevant to improve your career.

That’s why your challenge in landing your dream job is to strengthen your core skill sets and use them as a launch pad for creating short-term career goals that matter in both the short-term and long-term.


You must make deliberate choices and set clear professional goals to enable your strengths and to make your weaknesses inconsequential.

Focusing on strength leads to a focus on performance and driving superior results. At the end of the day, your dream job will help you to deliver a lifetime of results.

More Resources About Career Success

Featured photo credit: Jonathan Farber via unsplash.com


[1]Harvard Business Review: How to Play to Your Strengths
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