How to Create SMART Career Goals

We all have goals that we want to accomplish in life and in our careers. Maybe you aren’t fulfilled in your current job and want a more rewarding career or maybe your goal is to be the first person in your family to graduate from a training program.

Regardless of what you want to achieve, setting SMART career goals can get you there! The most effective goals follow these five guidelines: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Using these criteria to create your SMART career goals gives you a higher chance of success. How exactly do you create SMART career goals? Keep reading as we share with you exactly how!

Specific

First, SMART career goals must be specific, so that you know exactly what to do in order to reach them. Here is a great example of a specific goal: I want to graduate from a Medical Assisting program in Westmoreland County within 18 months in order to begin a more rewarding career. This is a specific goal because it answers the following questions:

Now that you have answered these questions and created a specific goal, you know exactly what to do to achieve the goal.

Measurable

Next, you need to make sure your SMART career goals are measurable. Creating measurable goals ensures that you can track the progress you make toward your goals. As you take steps to reach your goals, you will be able to tell if you’re on track to meet them or if there is something you need to change.

Separating your larger goal into smaller chunks is the best way to do this. With the goal of completing a medical assisting program to start a more rewarding career, you could create milestones along the way for each class that is part of the program. This way, you are one step closer to your goal for each class you complete.

Attainable

As you create your SMART career goals, it’s essential to create ones that are attainable, because it’s hard to stay motivated to work toward a goal that’s not actually achievable. An example of an unattainable goal would be going to Mars next month. While this sounds like a great goal, it’s not actually attainable, because the technology to go to Mars doesn’t yet exist. Setting super high goals can seem like a good idea, but it can actually be demotivating, because you know you can’t accomplish them anyway.

In our medical assisting goal example, some things you should consider to ensure the goal is attainable for you is if can you commit the time required for the program, do you have the support system needed, and do you have any prerequisites that are required.

Relevant

The next thing you must do is ensure your SMART career goals are relevant to you. Here are some questions you should ask about each specific goal: Is this something you really want to achieve? Do you care enough to put in the work? Does this goal align with your other goals? Does this goal fit into your long-term plans?

For example, our medical assisting goal is relevant because it will help reach your dream of starting a more rewarding career. By achieving this goal, you’re working toward a long-term goal of being in a career that brings you more meaning and fulfillment.

Timely

Last, you need to ensure that your SMART career goals are timely. Creating a timely goal means that it has a time frame that you will complete the goal within. If you create a goal with no deadline, there is no sense of urgency to work toward the goal.

Create a deadline to reach the goal, but also create smaller deadlines for the milestones along the way. For example, with our medical assisting goal, you can create a deadline for taking each class, finishing your externship, and passing certification tests.

Achieve Your Goals with United

Now that you’ve created your SMART career goals, you’re ready to achieve your professional dreams! If you want to work in healthcare, helping your community by providing excellent patient care, United Career Institute has the fast track programs to help you get there.

Learn more and request information about our Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, Medical Office Administration, and Phlebotomy programs to get started today!

How to Create SMART Career Goals

For all of us, there are things we want to accomplish in life and in our careers. Maybe your dream is to be the first one in your family to graduate from college. Or maybe you are unhappy in your current job and want to get into a new, more fulfilling career. Maybe you already have a great job and want to advance within your current company.

Whatever it is that you want to achieve in your career, creating goals can help get you there. For goals to be effective, they need to follow a few guidelines. Your SMART career goals should be these five things: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

When you create SMART career goals that meet these criteria, you have a much higher chance of reaching your goals. So how do you create SMART career goals? Read on as we share exactly how!

Specific

The first thing SMART career goals need to be is specific, because with very specific goals, you know exactly what you must do to reach them. Here is an example of a specific career goal that someone may have: I want to graduate from a Medical Assisting program in Fayette County within 18 months in order to start a more fulfilling career. This goal is specific enough to work toward and accomplish because it answers these questions:

  • Who: I want to…
  • What: …graduate from a Medical Assisting program…
  • Where: …in Fayette County
  • When: …within 18 months…
  • Why: …in order to start a more fulfilling career.

By answering the questions above when creating your career goals, you know exactly what you need to do to achieve them.

Measurable

The second thing you need to ensure when creating your SMART career goals, is that they are measurable. Goals need to be measured so that you can track your progress along the way. By doing this, you will know if you’re on track to meet your goals or if there is something that needs to be adjusted in order to meet them.

The best way to do this is to break down your larger goal into smaller chunks. In our Medical Assisting program goal example, we could measure it along the way by listing each class that must be taken as part of the program. In doing this, every time you pass a class, you are one step closer to your goal.

Attainable

When creating SMART career goals, the third thing you need to consider is whether the goals are attainable and achievable. This is an important step because when goals are not attainable, it’s hard to stay motivated to keep working toward them. For example, going to Mars within the next month sounds like an awesome goal, but it’s not attainable, because we don’t currently have the technology to go to Mars. So, while it can seem like a good idea to set your goals super high, doing so can be demotivating because you know they can’t be accomplished anyway.

Using our Medical Assisting program example, a few things to consider to ensure this goal is attainable are the following:

  • Do I have the time to commit to the program?
  • Do I have the support system to succeed in the program?
  • Do I have the prerequisites for the program?
  • Do I have the resources to pay for the program?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you’re well on your way to achieving your goal of completing a Medical Assisting program. If you answered no to any of these questions, don’t worry! The United staff can help you through the process!

Relevant

For your SMART career goals, the next thing you need to ensure is that they are actually relevant to you. Is the goal something that you really want? Do you care enough about it to put in the necessary work to reach the goal? Does this specific goal align with your other goals? Does the goal help you get closer to your long-term goals and dreams?

In our Medical Assisting program goal example, it is relevant because completing the program will help accomplish the dream of starting a more fulfilling career. So, by achieving one goal, you are actually working toward a longer term goal of having a career that provides more meaning and fulfillment.

Timely

The last thing to consider when creating SMART career goals is that they must be timely. This means that each goal should have a time frame in which it will be accomplished. Without a deadline and timeframe for your goal, there will be no sense of urgency to continue working toward it.

When creating your goal, in addition to including a deadline to reach the goal itself, add deadlines for specific events along the way. For our Medical Assisting example, you could create deadlines for when you will take and pass each class, complete your externship, and pass your certification tests.

Achieve Your Career Goals

Now you’re on the way to creating your own SMART career goals! If you’ve ever dreamed of completing a fast track training program, starting a new career, or working in an industry that allows you to help people on a daily basis, we have the programs to help get you there.

Learn more about our Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Office Administration programs and request information today to get started!