18 Examples of Long-Term Career Goals You Can Set

Updated January 12, 2023

Professionals create career goals to help develop a career path and achieve greater success. A long-term goal is an objective that requires more time, planning, and effort to achieve. Learning what career goals are can help you determine what you want to accomplish. In this article, we describe what long-term career goals are and provide examples of these types of goals so you can choose which fits into your career path.

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What are long-term career goals?

Long-term goals are objectives you plan to achieve in the future. These career goals have a larger timeline for completion because it requires more to accomplish a long-term goal. For example, you may set a goal to become a leader in the workplace. This is a long-term goal because it can take months or years for you to fully accomplish becoming a leader. Long-term career goals often consist of smaller goals to help you continue your path to accomplish them, which can help motivate you to complete your goal.

Related: How to Achieve Your Goals in 6 Steps (With Benefits)

18 examples of career goals

Here are 18 long-term career goals that you can consider for your own professional life:

1. Increase your salary

A common goal among professionals is to earn a salary raise. Some employers may give annual raises, but when you feel you earn a raise, it's a good idea to request a meeting with your manager or human resources to discuss a higher salary. To earn a salary increase, try to improve your efficiency and productivity. Consider also accepting more responsibility and helping team members so that your employer sees that you deserve more pay.

Related: How to Ask for a Raise (With Example)

2. Become a leader

Seeking a promotion to become a leader is another good long-term goal. Develop your skills, such as decision-making, problem-solving, and communication, so that you can be a successful leader. To accomplish this goal, you can apply to leadership positions or lead a team at work. You can also become a leader in the workplace by taking a mentorship with a learning professional.

Related: How to Become a Strong Leader (With Qualities and Benefits)

3. Build your professional network

Your professional network is a great resource for learning, finding opportunities, gaining references, and staying connected with professionals. It's a good idea to plan to grow your network throughout your career because doing this can provide you with career opportunities if you need to change jobs or careers. Your professional network may also help you accomplish other long-term goals, such as starting a business, learning new skills, or earning a position with your favourite company.

Related: Why Is Networking Important? (With Benefits and Tips)

4. Travel globally

It can be fun to travel for your work, and you may set this as a long-term goal. You may get to travel if your company has offices in other countries. You can also travel globally by attending international conferences. If you plan to increase your travel, it's a good idea to inform your employer so that they may consider you for travel opportunities.

5. Publish research

By publishing research or other professional articles, you can build a reputation for yourself in the industry. You may be able to grow your following and expand your network by publishing. Learn about the publishing process and find publications to which you can submit your work.

6. Develop your skill set

It's useful to improve your skill set so you can advance in your career. To accomplish this, choose a skill you want to learn and identify learning opportunities, such as a workshop, a project that uses this skill, or a certification program. You can also develop your skill set by mastering skills you already use.

Related: How to Develop Your Skill Set to Advance Your Career

7. Learn how to use a new tool

Similar to learning a new skill, you may set a career goal to learn how to use a tool. This can include technology, office appliances, machinery, or another tool relevant to your field. Mastering the use of a new tool typically requires specialized training and practice.

8. Mentor other professionals

Mentorship can have many personal and professional benefits. You can earn the satisfaction of helping another professional and build a reputation of being a leader. If you want to be a mentor, inform your network that you're open to mentorship. This can help a professional search for someone to guide them to find you.

Related: 13 Important Mentorship Skills and Why They Matter

9. Speak publicly

Public speaking is a great skill and professional opportunity. You can accomplish this goal by volunteering to present at work during meetings, which may also help in earning a raise or becoming a leader. Search for conferences where you can speak. Being a public speaker at networking events or industry conferences can help you build your network and become a thought leader in your field.

Related: 15 Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

10. Earn another degree

You may decide to pursue advanced education after working in the field. You can earn a higher degree to supplement your current degrees, such as a master's or a doctorate. You may also pursue a degree in a different area of study, which can help you accomplish other long-term goals of developing your skill set, becoming a leader, or starting a business. To earn another degree while working, you have a few options, including:

  • Take a sabbatical.

  • Find online degree programs.

  • Take evening classes.

  • Ask your manager for flexibility.

Some companies may provide tuition assistance and support your educational goals because they can also benefit from your learning.

11. Become an expert in your field

Becoming an expert in your field is a great aspiration for your career because being an expert means that you have a reputation, master skills, and are a leader. Other long-term goals, such as publishing and public speaking, can help you become an expert. When you're an expert in your field, other professionals may follow you and your advice. You can also increase your salary when you become an expert.

12. Improve your work-life balance

Work-life balance can provide you with job satisfaction and relaxation. You can achieve this by learning to prioritize and by finding a company that shares your values. Determine what's most important to you and make that a priority. For example, if you have family or friends that you want to spend more time with, finding a company that offers flexibility can help you gain a better work-life balance.

Related: 20 Best Jobs for Great Work-Life Balance

13. Work for your favourite company

If there is a business that you love to shop at, visit, or admire, consider creating a plan to work for the company at some point in your career. Working with a company you love can bring benefits, such as job satisfaction, productivity, work-life balance, and overall happiness. When your values align with a company, your work may improve and deliver better results because you enjoy the work and believe in its purpose.

14. Change careers

A career change is another long-term goal you can work toward. To change your career, evaluate your current position, skills and desires. This can help identify what to look for in a new career. A career change is a goal that can support your other goals like a work-life balance, working for a company you love, or increasing your salary.

Related: Guide to Making a Career Change Midlife (Plus Example Jobs)

15. Win an award

There are industry-specific awards you can win to boost your status professionally. Some awards may also offer monetary prizes. To win an award, research the available honours in your industry and learn the criteria for winners. You can study previous winners to identify what you may do to win. Many industry awards can require submissions or nominations from other professionals. In this case, you can request that your manager or team members consider you for a nomination.

16. Write a book

Writing a book can be a goal you accomplish after gaining experience in your field. Your book can be a way to demonstrate skill, share your expertise, or talk about your personal or professional experience. Writing a book is a time commitment, but there are many ways you can publish and if you need help writing the book, seek mentorship, take a writing course, or hire a book consultant.

17. Start a business

Starting and owning a business enables you to determine your salary, the people you work with, the hours you work, and the work you do. To start a business, it can be helpful to gain years of experience in the industry first so you can learn how to perform a variety of duties. This goal also requires a lot of planning so you can decide what type of business you want to have, develop a financial plan, and create a product or service for consumers.

18. Retire

Retiring marks the end of your career. Making this a long-term goal can help you prepare for retirement throughout your career, ensuring that you can retire when you want to and have enough money to support yourself after retiring. When planning for retirement, research your options, create a savings plan, and consider what you may like to do in retirement so you can fully prepare.

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