Setting Long-Term Career Goals for Success with 8 Examples

Setting Long-Term Career Goals for Success with 8 Examples

|May 3, 2021

Having long-term career goals gives you a sense of drive to attain more as you grow in your field. Setting specific goals that are realistic while at your office standing desk can set you on a path to improve your career and achieve certain accomplishments, and aspirations.

You can set goals whenever you are given a task, project, or milestone. Additionally, you can set goals towards education, promotions, or job openings your company may have. You can even apply it to personal life and other areas you can improve in your career, regardless of how minor they may seem.

As a manager, you already understand how important setting goals are, so you must efficiently approach long term employee goal setting, as it gives the framework to achieve milestones and projects, and to be successful. Having the desire to complete things is just the start as everyone can have that, but goal setting is what provides the path for you to realize the said desire.

What is a Long-term Goal?

Long-term goals are typically large goals that you set to achieve over a period, which could be several years or months. You can opt for setting personal goals to advance various categories of your life such as health, hobbies, and education. Setting these personal goals can help you to achieve success in your career also and they also create a productive work environment.

What is a Long-term Goal?

This kind of goal is not short-term, so it does not happen over two days, a week, or a month. Long-term career goals can include getting that special job in your field, getting promoted to the position you have had your eyes on since day one, or completing an extensive and complicated project or milestone. When setting your long term career objectives, you must remember Rome was not built in a day and your goals are not going to be realized quickly either.

How to Set Your Career Goals for Success

How to Set Your Career Goals for Success

Whenever you decide to set your long-term career goals, if you plan to be successful, you must utilize the SMART method. Utilizing this method can see you setting long-term career objectives that are relevant, attainable, time-based, specific, and measurable. They can direct you on the path to be successful. Goals must be:

  • Specific - To ensure more effective planning your goals should be as specific and as narrow as that new ergonomic office chair. Instead of telling yourself that you want to save or earn some money, layout the details on how you plan to earn the money. For example, you may do so by gaining leadership skills and being more productive. Also, indicate how much you want to save or earn.
  • Measurable - You should try and define your goals by having markers so you can know when you are close to it or you have achieved it. Ensure you can check your progress. 
  • Achievable – Be realistic when setting your long-term goals. Ensure you can reasonably accomplish your goals in the timeline you have stipulated. You are aiming to push yourself, not set yourself up for a disaster.
  •  Relevant – You should ensure your long term career employee goal aligns with your values and objectives.
  • Time-Based - You want to set a clear start date and an end date for tasks and goals. You can even have buffers in the form of smaller deadlines, markers, and reminders.

Setting Professional Goals

Your long-term career goals should address both your current state and your bigger long-term career aspirations and ambitions. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Obtaining a particular award or employee performance recognition
  • Completing a major project
  • Successfully switching industries and careers
  • Improving and updating some soft skills or technical skills even
  • Solving a complex issue
  • Gaining leadership experience and professional certifications
  • Building your professional network
  • Getting promoted to the desired position

Setting Professional Goals

Below are some tips to setting SMART goals:

  • Ensure your long-term career goals are clear and detailed. “I want to be able to do a successful 10–15-minute presentation in front of a small audience of 50 persons” is an example of a clear and detailed goal.
  • Define how you plan to measure your success. “I want to make a switch from sales to marketing. So, I plan to set milestones along the way to help address the skills and experience needed to achieve one marketing skill per month.”
  • Check whether the goals you have set are achievable.
  • Set a reasonable timeframe to keep you focused and motivated. If your goal is getting to a managerial level and you are just an intern now, how long are you looking at?
  • Set short-term goals to help achieve the larger goal.
  • Set goals that are in alignment with your values and contribute to the long-term goals. They should be meaningful to you, so they can move you closer to your target. You can ask yourself “Why does the goal matter to me?” or “Will accomplishing this goal bring me closer to my long-term objectives?” Is this goal relevant to me and what I want to achieve?”
  • Outline a start and end date. Set a time management plan or a schedule to achieve your goal. Do some research on all the possible roadblocks or mishaps you might encounter, so you are not demotivated if something happens.
  • If your goal is to get promoted, for example, you can give yourself seven months to make yourself marketable and considered for the running. If you have not achieved the goals in the timeframe, you can choose to extend the time or reconsider, as maybe your goal was not realistic or attainable.


Outlining both professional and personal long-term career goals can set you on the path for success and help to give structure in your life. Managers and human resource personnel often value employees or candidates who have an interest or record of achieving and setting goals. Thus this shows you are goal-oriented, driven, motivated, and interested in building a strong team relationship.

When it comes to setting career or long range occupational goals, you can always revisit them regularly or at various intervals so you stay on track and can make changes accordingly.

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