Kicking goals: A guide to setting and achieving your career goals.

Everyone has career aspirations. But how do you work towards them? An excellent way to do this is by setting goals. But many find goal-setting to be a challenging task.

Don’t know where to start? You’re not alone.

Here are some tips from Hays and Leadership Management Australia.

Firstly, you need to identify what you want to achieve.

Types of Goals

There are many different types of goals. Some examples include:

Learning goals

Learning goals are goals relating to the qualifications you may need to progress in your chosen career.

Skills Development goals

Skills Development goals are goals relating to the skills you need to develop to progress in your chosen career.

Experience goals

Experience goals are goals relating to the experience you need to develop to progress in your chosen career.

When setting goals, you could picture yourself in five or ten years. Where do you want to be? What is your ideal role?

With this in mind, you could consider questions like: What experience do you need to gain? What technical skills do you need to acquire? And What soft skills do you need to develop?

The SMARTER Format

Once you have decided what your goals are, it is time to actually set them.

When setting goals, it’s a good idea to use the SMARTER format. This outlines ways you can make your goals more targeted and achievable.


Goals should be clear and unambiguous. It should specify exactly what you are seeking to achieve and the steps you plan to take to get there. You will have a much greater chance of success if your goal is clearly defined rather than vague.


 It should be clear what you must achieve to satisfy your goal. Ideally, you should be able to measure your progress as you work towards your goal. It will be difficult to remain motivated if you can’t see your progress towards the goal.


Goals must be humanely possible to achieve. If your goal has not been previously achieved by others, might be worth reconsidering the goal.


Goals should be something you are willing and able to work towards. What is realistic can depend on your circumstances at the time. If you don’t have the time, resources, or capacity to achieve a goal you should reconsider setting it.


It’s important to consider the timeframe in which you plan to achieve your goals. It is important that you ensure this is reasonable. Keep in mind goals can be short-term, (a week, a month, or six months) or long-term (two years, five years or ten years).


Goals should be right for you and achieve the changes you want. For example, if a career doesn’t motivate or interest you it might be worth considering whether it is worth working towards that career.  


When setting goals, flexibility is key. You should be able to adapt your goals according to changing circumstances.  Your priorities and objectives can change over time, either due to personal circumstances or external factors.


It’s a good idea is to write your goals down. Recording your goals helps keep you accountable and allows you to track how you are progressing towards the goal.  

Setting career goals takes time and effort. Public Service Resumes can help. We are pleased to offer a range of services, including career development coaching.