A Formula for Writing Effective Personal Career Goals

Think of your career as a business thinks about its bottom line. Businesses focus on how much a company will grow year over year (your income), how much it costs to run (your run rate), and how good or bad the customer satisfaction is (your level of professional satisfaction).

Every business holds itself accountable to key performance metrics (KPI’s). How are you holding yourself accountable for your performance this year?

How will you grow your subject matter expertise as a creative thinker or extraordinary leader?

Here are a few reminders on how to create and achieve effective career goals.

A Formula for Writing Effective Career Goals

The formula begins with asking yourself what you are committed to in your career.

Commitment “Expand my career from leading projects to leading teams”

Next, declare the future state, the outcome(s) you want from leading teams. For example:

Outcome: “I have landed my dream job. It fits my personality, letting me bring in new ways of thinking that solve real customer problems. I lead a small team of developers for a startup tech company in the Bay Area for a company building products that I’m so proud to be a part of. My boss is experienced at leading teams of technologists around the world. I am accountable for my actions and trusted to do my work. I feel set up for success and ability to grow into my role as a technical manager there”

Next, take the outcomes, and turn them into a SMART goal using this formula. For example:


Specific: States exactly what is to be done.

  • “I want to earn a position managing a development team for a startup tech company.”

Measurable: This is what’s needed to achieve the goal.

  • “I will research tech start-up companies to see which ones I’m interested in and who I know that works there, and I’ll set up informational interviews with them and ask to be added to their employee referral program.”

Achievable: Determines how the goal can be reached.

  • “I will update my resume and LinkedIn profile, and I will take an online interview training program, so I know how to effectively show my technical proficiency at interviews.”

Relevant: Ensures the goal remains attainable and inspiring.

  • “I’ll invite feedback about my leadership performance from former colleagues to boost my ranking as a leader on LinkedIn and make me more visible to recruiters.”

Time-Bound: Specifies the time and/or date by which the goal needs to be attained.

  • “In the next two months, I will complete the research phase of my job. I will have updated my resume, redone my LinkedIn profile, received testimonials, trained for the skills portion of the interview, and enlisted in an employee referral program for three tech startup companies that I would love to work for as the manager of their development team.”

Do you see how using this method of setting career goals is more likely to achieve the result efficiently and effectively? If you find it helpful, post a comment below.

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