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Setting career goals for a human resource specialist

– Posted in: HR Management, HR Qualifications, HR Training, HR Training Courses Blog

How do you set career goals that will lead to success?

All too often people go about setting their own career goals the wrong way and never achieve the results they believe they are capable of.


If you are thinking of setting some of your own career goals the chances are that you are the type of person who likes to be positive in your attitude both to your work and your life in general. Unfortunately such people are so keen to make progress that they sometimes want to rush ahead without recognizing it needs patience and concerted effort to get it right.

Furthermore you must be prepared to meet opposition from people around you including work colleagues who consider you are competing against them. They will criticize you in an endeavor to put you down so they can move ahead of you. They will cause difficulties for you and enjoy seeing you defeated.

Only you can prevent it. That's where your patience will help to see you through the challenges.

So, sometimes it helps to breakdown your goals into smaller portions rather than trying to do everything in one go. Don't just set the ultimate goal; try setting sub-goals that will enable you to achieve intermediate successes.

Perhaps you really want to set your sights on the main target but you will find it easier to tick off smaller goals along the way. Each sub-goal step completed will get you nearer the ultimate goal you really want to achieve. And, you can analyze each intermediate step, make corrections where needed and rejoice in a job well done. That will set you up for the next move.

What is a career goal?

Put quite simply it is the result you want to achieve through your hard work. It is where you intend to be at some time in the future. As somebody working in human resources you might be an assistant with ambition to become a manager. Perhaps you already have a management role and your personal career goals include more professional qualifications.

The smart way to setting your career goals in a competitive work environment

Many human resource professionals use the SMART approach to setting career goals. SMART is an acronym that helps you build a structured approach to achieving your career goals as shown here:

Specific goal setting

Do not use vague generalizations. Be very specific in how you describe your goal. For example, you might want to become a human resource professional but the HR department in any business incorporates many individual specializations.

Make sure you clearly define your goal. Will it be as a project manager? Or, perhaps, as a specialist in recruitment or payroll services or some other department within HR.

Measurable goals

How will you know what progress is being made? If you use sub-goals then you will have a series of steps each of which will be made up of specific tasks that you can plan in detail.

Then you will have some individual things that you will recognize as requiring time and possibly other resources. Keeping a record of those things and their progress will keep you on track.

Attainable goals

Right at the very starting point it is important to honestly appraise the likelihood of your career goal being achieved within an acceptable time scale.

It is not wrong to have career goals that will take ten years or more to get there but don't blindly pick one and think you can rush ahead defeating all your competition along the way. Be realistic. Understand it is a long term goal and then set some smaller, intermediary goals that you must achieve along the way.

Those smaller goals are attainable in the short term and will build your confidence step by step.

Relevant goals

Consider where you are now in your HR career. As a younger employee, newly introduced to human resource work, the whole field will be open to you. Take time to familiarize yourself with the various HR disciplines to see which will become your own special interest.

If you are somebody with an existing career in HR you will have a good idea of where you own interests and abilities lie. You should probably plan your career goals within those existing interests.

For example, if you have experience in recruitment then setting up a long term plan to become a senior manager in project development might be a bad idea. Other people with experience in project management will be ahead of you on the career ladder and you might never get past them.

Time defined goals

Have a deadline. Do not let your route to your career goal meander on for ever. You might never get there.

Having a timed deadline is a measurable part of your plans. You will be quickly aware of any deviation from your plan and have opportunities to bring it back on track.

You will also find it easier to maintain your planned schedule without getting distracted by unimportant things or deviating down a pathway that is not relevant.

Where next for your HR career and the goals you need to score?

Having read to here you might be fired up and ready to go. That's great. Well done.

On the other hand you might be picturing the hard work it could involve and starting to feel turned off by the whole idea of setting career goals for yourself. Don't give up now. Read it again and take time to consider how each part of the information on this page can be planned and made to apply to your own situation.

After all, if you really want to achieve your own successes then setting career goals is an important part of your life. So much depends on it.

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