Setting Career Development/Progression goals for the upcoming year

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Goal Setting is an important part of the process and kicks off the annual performance / appraisal cycle.

Setting Goals

In an ideal world the process of setting your goals should be a collaborative process between you and your boss/ manager.This is not always the case and sometimes you need to set them yourself (but don’t be afraid of catching a quite coffee with your boss/manager once you have a list of goals to get their thoughts and to enable them to help you achieve your goals (after all if they don’t know what they are – they can’t offer assistance).

SMART goals

Whether writing long or short term goals, the most widely used framework is S-M-A-R-T. Your boss and colleagues will probably already be talking about making sure you set SMART goals – so here is a quick reminder.

Specific: Well-defined with specific goals, so that both you and your boss can easily measure progress toward goal completion.
Measurable: Provide milestones to track progress and motivate yourself.
Attainable: Success needs to be achievable with effort  not too high or too low.
Relevant: It should be relevant to the companies objectives (not just your own).
Time-bound: Establish enough time to achieve the goal, but not too much time to undermine performance.

Aligning Goals

Do your research! If you are not getting your goals handed to you on a plate you should ensure that your goals incorporate both your personal objectives and those of your company. Read your company business plan, do your research, ask the question of your boss to ensure that you are on message. This is particularly important if you are looking to be promoted: make sure you know (and understand) what the promotion criteria are.

Tracking Goals

Once you’ve established your goals, the next step is tracking progress on those goals. If you are serious about taking control of your career you should write a career journal. If you haven’t already got one why not get started with our book PROMPT: 52 prompts for setting up and writing your career journal. It’s important to track your progress on goals because you will need to have the information available during the all-important review process.

This is why we’ve created the Career Progression Goals and Meetings Notebook which has a focus on setting goals, developing an action plan and tracking your progress as well as one handy place to prepare for and keep a record of career related meetings, your achievements, training and of course that all important appraisal / review meeting. The notebook can be used with or without a career journal.

Finally having this information handy is also helpful and can be used as a prompt when your boss is not aware of all of the steps involved in reaching a goal and strong documentation assists you in discussions of past projects and successes when review time rolls around. Tracking your goals in a central notebook helps you stay on track in several ways:

  • Organise, manage and reassess your goals frequently
  • Create action plans with milestones for larger goals
  • Track your time to make sure your  efforts are focused on meaningful tasks

Our Kickstarter campaign for the Career Progression Goals and Meetings Notebook is currently live and closes at the end of the month. Grab a copy of your notebook now by supporting our campaign.


Career Dev Prompt #13: Spring Clean… your C.V.


When did you last update your C.V? I highly recommend that you do – even if you have not changed jobs since you last updated you C.V. and even if you are not looking for a new job. Regular reviews can help you keep career-minded and help find gaps in your skills and career development.

PROMPT: Spring Clean your C.V.

Subscribers of our Career Development Prompts Premium Plan will be able to download our Spring Cleaning Checklist/Printable.

Career Dev Prompt #10: Think Innovation



“Innovation is the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs.Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself. Innovation differs from improvement in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different rather than doing the same thing better.”

PROMPT: Even if your job does not require you to be innovative – pick a problem, issue or time drain in your workplace or daily routine and come up with an innovative solution. If you are having issues with inspiration why not get started by using the SCAMPER Method.

Subscribers of our Career Development Prompts Premium Plan (which is only £30 for a 2014 subscription) will be able to download our ‘SCAMPER’ action plan and get access our Question Bank.

Career Dev Prompt #9: Ask for Feedback


Last week we talked about making sure you have a conversation with your boss to learn about what you need to be doing to reach your career goals. The other thing you can be doing is asking for FEEDBACK. You can ask your boss, your colleagues, your clients – basically ANYONE you are doing work for. Don’t be afraid of asking for feedback – and perhaps even more importantly doing be afraid of doing some self-analysis on yourself.

This week, ask for feedback on a piece of work you do (as your boss or client/customer to give you feedback as appropriate). Then note their comments and add their feedback into your action plan.

Subscribers of our Career Development Prompts Premium Plan (which is only £30 for a 2014 subscription) will be able to download our ‘ask for feedback’ action plan.

Career Dev Prompt #8: What does it really take?


As a professional – you should have Career Goals. If you don’t want are you doing reading this blog? Today we are thinking long-term and this week’s prompt is aimed at helping you clarify these long-term goals and potential options for getting there.

I am thinking DREAM GOAL, DREAM ROLE. TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN aspirations. If you haven’t already got this in a prominent place – write it down. Now! Great. Now I want you to think about WHY you want to do this and what you current plan is for getting there. DO you have one? Have you though beyond your next paycheck, pay rise, promotion? Have you thought BIGGER? No? Well Let’s get started. Have a conversation and learn what it really takes to get your Dream Job.

PROMPT: This week I want you to have a conversation (or coffee date) with someone you know that is currently doing the job or is on their way to doing the job. Even learn more about how your boss got where they are today.

Subscribers of our Career Development Prompts Premium Plan (which is only £30 for a 2014 subscription) will be able to download our 8-page ‘have a conversation’ action plan and learn what to ask during the conversation to ensure you get the information you need.

Finding Time for… Career Development

Part of this blog, DIY Career Development, is about advancing your career, but when you are so busy just doing your job – how do you find the time to actually work on your career development? As a professional you need to find time to do your job well, develop a career development plan and carry out the actions required to develop it.

So how do you make time for this worthwhile endeavour?

1. Assess the gaps in your current schedule

I approach it the same way as I approach anything: make time by filling in gaps and scheduling it in. Personally I tend to use my lunch break as and when I need to and I have scheduled in a larger slot on a friday evenings for writing up my Career Journal.

2. Make your Scheduled ‘Career Development Time’ a habit

Once you have scheduled your time for career development – try to make it a routine so that you can make it into a habit. Use the time for Progressing and reviewing your career development so that you get to the point that you naturally do it.

3. Break your Career Development Goals into bite-sized chunks

Think about your allocated slots (whether they are 5 minutes, 15 minutes or an hour) and break down your actions or next steps for each of your goals into actions that will fit those time slots. I use my Career Development Goals Notebook as my to-do list, it makes it easy to break down my goals into simple action points. All I got to remember is to break down into a step that will fit nicely into my allocated time slots.

4. Review your Progress

Finally, reviewing your progress is essential on many levels such as making sure that you are actually making progress, keeping yourself on track and making sure you are managing your time correctly. Try and Schedule in a Monthly Review.

How do you find time for yours?