Plan Your Career Goals

Career planning is not something you should do only when you’re already employed. In fact, a solid career plan can be a powerful tool for any job seeker — it will help you focus your job search and direct your energies toward the best opportunities for achieving the career you want.

Whether you’re in the job market for the first time, or you’re currently employed but looking for a better opportunity, these tips will help you plan your career goals and engage in a more directed and successful job search.

Have a short-term and long-term career plan

What do you want to accomplish in terms of your career over the next year? How about the next five years? Developing detailed short- and long-term career goals will benefit your job search in many ways.

A short-term career plan should spell out what you want to accomplish within the next year. The best short-term plans contain realistic and obtainable goals — for example, rather than setting a goal of making six figures by the end of the year, strive to be employed full-time in your chosen industry.

Long-term career goals will help you shape your job search, your ongoing career activities, and your overall career path. Taking the time to create a five-year plan also helps you perform well during interviews — one of the most often-asked interview questions is “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Like a short-term plan, your long-term career goals should be realistic and obtainable.

Break down your short-term goal

For most job seekers, the end game for the first year is to be employed full-time in the industry of your choice. Breaking this goal into a series of objectives allows you to track your progress and increase your chances of being hired.

Some examples of short-term goal objectives for job seekers might be:

  • Create, revise, or overhaul your resume
  • Research and apply to a certain number of positions per week (more if you’re unemployed, fewer if your time is limited due to a current job)
  • Spruce up your social media profiles to make them more professional, or create social media accounts if you don’t already have them — especially LinkedIn, a crucial network for job seekers
  • Create a professional website, blog, or online portfolio
  • Network and make connections with professionals in your field

Engage in ongoing skill-building and training

Having the right education, certifications, and practical skills is vital to the long-term success of your career. During your job search, you can make yourself more marketable to employers by gaining new skills or improving existing ones.

Research job postings for not only the type of position you’re currently seeking, but the positions that are part of your long-term career strategy. If you discover skills or certification requirements that you don’t yet have, start working toward acquiring those skills — for example, you could take a class, start a self-directed project, or enroll in online training courses.

Keep an eye on career trends

It’s important for any professional to stay on top of the latest career and employment trends. Industry awareness will not only help you monitor the best opportunities for the career paths that interest you, but will also allow you to network more strategically and engage in informed conversation with potential employers during interviews.

Make sure you’re up to date on job development and hiring trends, as well as general industry shifts that may open new opportunities for you, or shut down certain career paths in the near future. Consistently research both industry news and specific companies you’re interested in working for, and you’ll be ready to make the right move when career opportunities arise. To learn more about how we can help you find your next behavioral health position, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at

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