Every year, you and I must do some introspection to review how our career has progressed for the year. This is necessary so that growth can be assessed and areas for improvement easily identified.

According to mbasKooL.com, career development usually refers to managing one’s career in an intra-organizational and inter-organizational scenario.

It involves training on new skills, moving to higher job responsibilities, making a career change within the same organization, moving to a different organization or starting one’s business.

Career goals can be short term or long term. Short term goals are goals that can be achieved in a relatively short period of time usually about one year.

On the other hand, a long term goal is one that spans across a period usually over one year.

The following are examples career development goals that you can set for 2021:

Identify and develop a new skill

Developing a new skill will open up new opportunities to expand your career. Therefore, take some time and examine what skill is trending or how is your industry changing and what skills will keep you at the cutting edge of development.

As an example, understanding social media is a great skill to develop since every business today is heavily content based.

Therefore, do some research and figure out what skill to develop which can give your career a competitive advantage.

Brainstorm, plan and start a business

With the growth of the internet, there has not been a better time to start your own business.

Most online businesses require a lot less capital to start when compared to traditional brick and mortar businesses. There are countless legitimate online businesses that require little or no work experience.

You can consider several areas such as starting a blog, creating a YouTube channel or publishing eBooks via Amazon.

If you have a skill that others may demand, you can sell your services via Fiverr.com or Upwork. You can also sell your products on platforms such as Etsy.

One great advantage of starting a business is the ability to have an alternative income stream.

Career diversification is important as it ensures that you have multi streams of income in the event that you no longer have your full time job. Who knows, you may become very successful and consider becoming a full time entrepreneur.

Therefore, consider starting a business as a career development goal for 2021.

Identify and apply for a new role

Whether the role is within your organisation or in a new organisation identify and apply for a new role. Remaining in a role for a considerable period of time can cripple your career development.

Once you have reached the point where you have learnt all that is required for the role, then you should consider moving to a new role.

There are free workbooks in our career resource library on career vision and career planning. Click HERE to access for free.

Learn a foreign language

Fluency in a foreign language is a skill that can give you a great competitive edge over your counterparts. Therefore, explore learning a new language.

Make 10 meaningful connections within your industry

Having a strong network of persons within your industry can help with your career development. This will ensure that you are interacting with like-minded individuals.

Alternatively, this interaction will keep you up to date on what is happening within your industry.

You can explore meetup.com or joining organisations such as Toastmasters to connect with professionals in your field. 

Additionally, you can explore events hosted by organisations such as the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Read a new book every month

Reading is transformational. A great reading career development goal to set is to read one new book every month.

According to Harry S Truman, Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. The transformational power of reading was seen best in the life story of Malcolm X.

During his incarceration, Malcolm X spent every spare minute that he had reading.

Extracted from his autobiography, here is how Malcolm described prison life:

“From then until the time I left that prison, in every free moment I had, if I was not reading in the library, I was reading on my bunk. Between my visitors and reading of books, months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned. In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free on my life “(page 173).

Identify a fear and overcome It

We all have fears that we need to overcome. Even great leaders who you and I admire had to learn to manage fear in order to achieve greatness.

As an example, champion boxer Muhammad Ali, had a fear of flying. Overcoming this fear led to him fighting in boxing matches all over the world.

Mahatma Gandhi overcame his fear of public speaking which gave him the confidence to become the great leader that he was. Gandhi’s leadership influenced many well-known leaders who came after him such as Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The starting point of overcoming your fears is identifying it. Therefore spend some time and complete some introspection.

You can also explore taking test such as The Do It Scared Fear Assessment developed by Ruth Soukup which will help you uncover your unique Fear Archetype.

Ruth Soukup surveyed over 4000 persons and discovered that fear showed up in distinct patterns in their lives which she termed the fear archetypes.

From this study, 7 distinct fear types were identified. These were the procrastinator, the rule follower, the people pleaser, the outcast, the self-doubter, the excuse maker and the pessimist.

Develop healthy habits

Healthy habits such as ensuring that you get enough sleep and exercising regularly directly impacts your energy level. The greater your energy the more strength that you have to dedicate to your career.

Say yes to every new opportunity

A great career development goal that you can set is one that requires you to say yes to every new opportunity. It does not matter the size of the opportunity or if you are afraid.

Practicing saying yes will help you grow and step outside of your comfort zone.

Be more productive with your time

Create a goal to make optimum use of your time. To be more productive, you first must understand how you currently use your time.

So you may consider starting by tracking your time for a week. Toggl is a great application that you can use to record how long you spend on a task. Overtime, you may be able to identify areas of time wastage so that you can use this time wisely.

Quarterly career self reflection

Develop the habit of sitting and reflecting on your career at the end of each quarter. You will be able to better track areas of growth and see where you are against the goals that you had set.

Even though you may not have achieved the goal, having it top of mind will help you to remain focus.

Practice positive thinking

The Book of Proverbs chapter 23 verse 7 states that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Therefore, pay close attention to your thought patterns and how you view yourself. Develop positive thinking which will only have a positive impact on your life.

If you are seeking a collection of bible verses to meditate on, there are biblical resources in our free career library. Click HERE to access for free.

Improve your communication skills

Communication both orally and in writing will have a positive impact on your career. If you will like to become more eloquent, consider joining organisations such as Toastmasters.

You can also volunteer in areas which will force you to improve your communication skills.

Improving Grooming Techniques

There is a common mantra that states how you dress determine how you are addressed. Therefore, an important goal is to pay attention to your grooming techniques. Do a review of your wardrobe and consider upgrading your clothes where required. If you are a lady perhaps consider the areas that you may want to improve on such as your makeup. These may be small areas but overtime can make a big difference to your overall presence and perception depending on your profession/ field.

Learn A New Culture

With the advent of the internet, it is very easy to learn more about other countries and cultures. This can be very valuable especially if you work with an international company and are in touch with persons from various countries and cultures. An understanding of several cultures can make interaction and communication with others easier.

Build A Personal Brand

This has to do with how you want people to see and perceive you when they meet you. Since we are in the digital age, it is also how others perceive you online. Therefore be mindful of the images and what you post on social media.

One thing that you can do yearly as part of your professional goals is to get LinkedIn recommendations from colleagues. Even though you may not be job searching, constantly review your contacts and ask new connections for recommendations annually will be beneficial if you need to job search in the future.

Pay attention to how you will like to be perceived and how you want others to speak about you when you are not in the room.

Make New Friends

A good friend can really turn out to be a valuable treasure. They are great influencers on who you are and what you become. Therefore, invest time in making quality and meaningful connections. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, if you want a friend you need to be a friend. There is an article on this blog on 6 Practical Lessons From The Book of Proverbs on Friendships. Feel free to click the previous link as you may find this content valuable and beneficial.

Find A Mentor

Identify persons who you believe can help you develop your career. Maybe it is a friend who you have met socially or someone within your organisation. Explore your circle and find persons who can help you grow and develop as a professional.

Be A Mentor

One of the greatest ways that you can sharpen and improve your skill is by sharing your knowledge with someone else. Teaching what you know will help you to easily identify what you know well and what areas you need to improve.

According to Lee J Colan, mentor and coach others whenever you can. Your teaching will deepen your own learning. Along the same lines, Marisol Gonzalez said mentoring is a two way street. The mentor gets wiser while mentoring and the mentee gains knowledge through his/ her mentor.

Travel Abroad

Travelling has so many benefits one of which is it allows you to see things from other perspectives. Remaining in the same routine and comfort zone does not expose you to new things. These can help shape you and broaden your scope to what is possible. Therefore, whenever the opportunity arises, take the time to travel abroad.

Join A Club/ Volunteer

A great way to meet new people as well as develop brand new skills is by joining clubs and volunteering. Seek out organisations that need an extra hand. Some organisations are interested in learning the causes that you are passionate about during job interviews. In addition, these are great opportunities to meet like-minded individuals and explore career paths that you may want to consider.

Final Thoughts

The first step to having a productive year in your career is to plan to have one. Hope these career development goals provide you with some examples of goals that you may want to achieve this year.

If you found this post helpful, I will be grateful if you can share it and leave a comment. For access to our free resource library with career templates, guides and checklists, click HERE to fill in the form. Thank you in advance for your support as I grow this blog.

14 Top Career Development Goals to Set for 2020

1 comment on “21 Top Career Development Goals To Set For 2021”

  1. Allan Thomson says:

    Excellent blog which was well structured. Great source of information.

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