Starting a new job can be an intimidating prospect. You are faced with a mountain of paperwork from human resources, are working hard to memorize new names and faces and have work tasks, responsibilities and assignments that might be unfamiliar. In the midst of starting your new job, it’s crucial to keep a broader perspective by developing career goals. Career goals for new hires help direct energy and focus, so that you remain on track for accomplishing long-term goals.
New hires can benefit emotionally from setting career goals right away. Identifying career goals related to your new position helps establish confidence and self-purpose, which can be helpful since new employees frequently face scrutiny from employers, co-workers and customers who are curious about their performance potential. Career goals have the added benefit of organizing your efforts, creating increased motivation for quickly adapting to your new work environment in order to move closer to identified goals. You might be more likely to develop relationships with team members, prioritize responsibilities and adopt work culture processes when these shorter-term goals are clearly linked with overarching career goals. Finally, setting career goals as a new hire can boost performance, since you will be working toward specific accomplishments.
As a new hire, taking the time to set career goals begins with formulating a career plan. Start by identifying your primary long-term career goal, and then list specific short-term goals related to your new job that can contribute to this larger goal. For example, if your long-term career goal is to become a project manager, you might identify three project managers at your new job that you’d like to speak with about their experiences in this career choice, or resolve to ask your employer within six months for a small project to manage. Your career plan should include setting realistic goals and rewarding yourself for small accomplishments. Over time, you may review and change career goals and objectives.
Although setting career goals can feel exciting or empowering, remember that your primary focus should be on learning how to excel at your new job. Neglecting assignments, responsibilities and work relationships in order to daydream about your ultimate career goal can result in job loss or demotion. Make excellence a daily goal at your new job, then increasingly direct energy and focus toward larger career goals.
New hires aren’t the only professionals who should think about career goals. Employers can benefit from learning about their workers’ long-term career goals in order to identify ways that new employees could potentially serve the company in the long run. High-performing new hires who have shared their career goals of becoming a project manager can be groomed to take on increased responsibility over time, to the benefit of your company. New hires can share career goals through questionnaires, workshops and one-on-one time with management.
Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.