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How To Set Long Term Career Goals To Improve Your Career

Last updated:
28th Mar, 2023
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How To Set Long Term Career Goals To Improve Your Career

Setting long-term career goals can be a vague and confusing decision for professionals in the early stages of their careers. For instance, recent college grads need a solid grasp of what they would like to do, what they are good at, what careers they would like to pursue, and what skills they possess. 

At the beginning of one’s career, these issues are not answered. They only have a firm idea of the job they want once they are in their late 20s. However, most individuals tend to decide later.

Therefore, setting up long-term career goals is very important, and thorough preparation must ensure that the future is safe and that you can choose a career that will give you the utmost joy.

In this writing, we will discuss the importance of setting long-term career goals and how to achieve these goals. 

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What are long-term career goals?

A long-term career goal is a turning point a person works toward for years or even decades. A long-term professional objective might be advancing to a managerial position, entering a new industry, or achieving a higher wage. 

Regardless of the precise benchmark, setting long-term career goals can help people articulate what they want from their careers and guide their exploration of possible career pathways.

A study found that 14% of people with goals are ten times more successful than people who don’t set goals. 

Long-term career goals are milestones you work toward in your professional life and can take many years or even decades. Long-term goals can take many different forms, from getting a promotion to writing a book, and they act as a direction for one’s professional path and trajectory.

Why are long-term career goals important?

Long-term career goals are significant for the success of your career.

1. Establishing confidence

Employees can create professional and personal development metrics by setting long-term goals. A long-term goal gives you something to strive for, which can help you feel more fulfilled and confident about your job as you advance. 

You can evaluate your progress and keep tabs on your growth once you attain the long-term goal. You may feel more assured about how far you’ve come if you have an objective metric to gauge your success. As your confidence grows, it can also motivate you to set new, more challenging objectives.

2. Pursuing proper education or training

Professionals can learn what degrees or extra training they can seek to help them achieve those goals by setting long-term career goals. Long-term objectives may be easier to achieve with advanced education or specialised training. 

An Entry-Level Engineer might want to get a master’s degree to secure a job position as a Senior Engineer. They can also avail upGrad’s Master of Science in Computer Science course to give them a career headstart. 

3. Knowing when to switch employers

By setting long-term career goals, professionals can decide when switching companies might be a wise career option. Once you have a long-term goal, you can assess your employer’s goals, values, and support structure to determine if they align with yours. 

If not, you can look for work opportunities with another company that will support your professional objectives, enabling you to get closer to your long-term goal more rapidly. 

4. Crossing off achievements

Long-term career goals are beneficial for establishing milestones and indicators of progression along a career route. Professionals can use milestones to gauge their progress and establish new objectives based on where they are in their careers. 

Long-term goals frequently have milestones that you can use to monitor your progress or figure out how to improve them. An employer can evaluate the worth of each employee to see if they are a good fit for the company with the aid of milestones.

For instance, if you aim to learn a new skill that will help you secure a better job position, you can opt for a certified course. If you want to build a career in data science, look at upGrad’s Master of Science in Data Science course. This course will help you secure a better job as a data scientist. 

Best Examples of long term career goals

Here, we have listed some of the best long-term goals examples for freshers

1. Getting promoted

A fundamental and achievable career goal you can have is getting promoted. No matter how long you have worked for your present employer, you should always be ready for career advancement.

If you are happy and content in your current position and intend to stay with the organisation in the future, it might be more relevant to you. If so, obtaining a raise ought to be objective. And this need not be limited to just one job or your present position. The objective should be progressively moving up the corporate hierarchy from an entry-level position to a reputable senior-level management role. Such pursuit yields genuinely outstanding benefits.

2. Developing your leadership skills

To land any senior-level management or leadership job mentioned above, you must craft your leadership abilities skillfully.

To accomplish this, particularly in a professional setting, experience is crucial. And several short-term plans can assist you in getting there so that you can acquire management and leadership experience. 

For instance, you could take charge of a particular project, go to workshops on leadership, work as a senior executive’s assistant, and learn skills that could help you qualify for a higher position.

You can also increase your skills by learning a course. For example, if you want to create a career in machine learning, upGrad’s Master of Science in Machine Learning & AI course will teach you the necessary skills to help you fulfil your career goals. 

3. Starting a business

Most people launch their businesses after accumulating a sizable quantity of work or professional experience. These individuals frequently advance in their careers but feel confined by their routines and fixed position.

Suppose you share this sentiment and believe your long-term personal goals are impossible even after working for a company for many years. In that case, consider your business strategy as a long-term professional objective.

However, owning a company carries many risks, and a fixed salary system offers no security. Entrepreneurship should be seriously considered if you believe you hold the necessary entrepreneurial spirit to innovate, create, and thrive. 

Check out upGrad’s MBA with Specialisation by Liverpool Business School course. This MBA course will help you understand the business world and make informed decisions about your business. 

4. Getting higher salary

Top-level jobs frequently have attractive financial benefits. You might be working toward some particular objectives. Depending on how well you do financially in your job, you may purchase a new car, a new house, or start a family. 

5. Be recognised as a reputable brand

Whatever your profession, building and expanding your brand is a tremendous long-term employment objective to work towards. You can increase your visibility and make yourself more desirable to potential employers. 

However, building your reputation requires time and effort, just like it does for every brand out there. It may take a few years or more. 

Nevertheless, you can begin by creating more modest goals, such as boosting your online visibility, amassing LinkedIn recommendations, and adopting an authoritative tone in conversations about your field of work.

6. Publish your work

Setting and accomplishing long-term career goals depend on progression. Becoming an authoritative source of information within your field and professional network is a surefire way to improve your chances. This isn’t necessary for academic, scientific, or research publications.

A professional journal, magazine, or industry publication that collects daily content from various writers exists in almost every industry. These writers are well-known and specialise in their respective fields of study. 

Your ability to contribute directly correlates with your situation and worth to the current information chain. In addition to building your credibility, publishing your work can result in a change of employment that involves instructing future generations at a reputable university.

How to plan long-term career goals for yourself?

Long-term job planning can be a complex process that occasionally necessitates some introspection. 

Talking about long-term goals in interviews is often straightforward when we get asked, but it isn’t easy to execute them. It is essential to plan your career goals properly. Although there are many goal-setting models, the SMART goals approach is a well-liked choice:

Specific – be highly detailed about the goals. 

Measurable – in some way, measure your progress. 

Achievable – it must be attainable.

Relevant – your career goals should be in alignment with your career path. 

Time-bound – set a deadline to accomplish your goal.

Long-term goal-setting offers more than just generating ideas in a solitary space. Many professionals seek guidance from more seasoned workers on how to begin pursuing long-term career goals. 

These techniques, including envisioning themselves in retirement and using professional connections, urge people to use self-reflection and support networks when making long-term goals.

How upGrad can help? 

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If you are someone who has set career goals and is looking for ways to execute them, upGrad can help. upGrad offers several certified courses on a wide range of subjects taught by the best in the industry. 

If you want to advance in your career, it is essential to upskill yourself. One of the best ways to do so is by enrolling in a reputed certified programme. With upGrad, you will be offered the best training, which will help you make an impact. Courses like upGrad’s Advanced Certificate in Digital Marketing and Communication can teach you all the skills necessary to secure an excellent job in the industry, whether a fresher or a business professional.


Your career approach will depend on how well you set and achieve your long-term career objective. You can position yourself for success by knowing where you want your job to go in five or ten years. Additionally, it aids with keeping motivation, particularly as you approach your objective.

Keerthi Shivakumar with strong and innovative strategies to promote the business brand and services globally.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What should be on a long-term career plan?

Everybody's long-term career plan differs depending on their chosen career path. Some examples of long-term career goals are - getting promoted, starting a savings account, retiring early, etc.

2What is the difference between long-term career goals and short-term career goals?

A long-term career goal takes over a year to achieve, such as earning a senior position at a job. A short-term career goal, such as completing a course, can be achieved in a few days or months.

3How to achieve long-term career goals?

One of the best ways to achieve the long-term career goals that you set for yourself is to talk to a mentor. A mentor can help you map out how to go about the goals that you set for yourself.

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