Long-term career goals, career path, career plan

A Comprehensive List of Long-Term Career Goals Examples

Career Strategies & Advice

For professionals who have just entered the workforce, setting long-term career goals may be daunting and confusing. For example, individuals who have just graduated from college may not have a clear picture of the career path they wish to pursue yet.

Although career development is an ongoing process, deciding on an attainable career goal doesn’t always seem possible if you’ve just stepped into an entry-level position and you’re still developing your skills.

No rule states that your long-term career goals should always stay the same. As you grow in your professional life, you may start to consider other long-term goals that are more appropriate for what you want to achieve in your life.

Nevertheless, setting goals is essential and requires a great deal of planning to ensure a secure and stable future with a career plan that’s working in favor of your success. Therefore, we have compiled a list of long-term career goals examples to delve deeper into what it takes to plan for your future.

What is a Long-Term Career Goal?

A long-term career goal is a milestone you wish to achieve in your professional life within a timeframe of anything from three to five to ten years. Many people only plan to achieve their desired career success much later in life.

Long-term goals often serve as a person’s focus of attention when they’re making decisions that involve their career path. Long-term career goals help people to define a particular point they want to achieve in their career and motivate employees to make choices based on their desired outcome.

A sound career plan and goals help professionals stay on a predetermined path with a clear picture of where they are in their career path and what skills they must acquire to get to where they want to be. Long-term goals depend on the individual’s aspirations, as one person may put more emphasis on developing essential skills to reach financial security while another may wish to achieve harmony and growth in their personal life.

A Comprehensive List of Long-Term Career Goals Examples Long-term career goals

Why Are Long-Term Career Goals so Important?

Long-term career goals are an essential aspect of achieving success in your professional life. Long-term goals essentially give your life a purpose and provide you with a deeper meaning of what you want for yourself in the future.

Even just setting long-term personal goals provides you with a clear outline of all the steps you need to take to live the life you dream about.

Below are some reasons why setting long-term goals is so critical:

It Provides You With A Direction

Most people have at least one goal or ambition they want to achieve in their lives. In order to reach your goals, you need to establish them clearly, which will clarify both what you want and what you need to do to achieve them.

Professional and Personal Development

Everyone wants to grow and develop themselves in their professional and personal lives. Humans are complex beings with a strong sense of achievement and pride.

Therefore, setting long-term goals is vital for growing within ourselves and gaining respect for what we have accomplished in life. Having long-term goals adds value to the milestones we wish to achieve.


Establishing long-term career goals will help you understand what you would like to improve about your current position and what new skills you need to acquire to do so. If you already have a good job in a professional organization, you may aspire to achieve a leadership position.

Getting promoted to a leadership position is then your long-term career goal, and recognizing that means you’ll understand that you need to develop your leadership skills to reach it.

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Long-Term Goals Examples

Below are some realistic examples of long-term career goals you can use as inspiration to set your own goals.

Getting a Promotion

Securing a promotion is a reachable and realistic long-term career goal. Regardless of how long you have been working for your current company, always being prepared to get a career promotion will put you one step ahead of your competitors.

This goal is suitable for those who are happy in their current position and would like to stay with the organization for the foreseeable future. The longer you stay with a company, the more professional connections you will build, which you can leverage to get your dream job.

Getting a promotion is not limited to simply advancing in your current position. Your long-term career goals should include climbing up the corporate ladder to achieve a senior-level position.

Leadership Development

If one of your long-term career goals includes becoming an associate with any leadership position, it is essential that developing your leadership skills is your top priority.

To become a leader, you will also need ample leadership experience in a professional organization. Gaining leadership experience would then be one of the short-term career goals you need to achieve to get to your end destination. For example, when the opportunity arises, volunteer to lead a project in the company, shadow other employees in leadership positions, attend seminars on leadership, and develop other skills that will further qualify you for the position.

Getting a Raise

The biggest attraction of senior-level positions is often the monetary benefits. If you have personal long-term goals you want to achieve, a pay raise can effectively bring you a step closer to achieving them.

Personal goals like starting a family, buying a house, or buying a car all require financial capital, and your financial situation depends on your career. If your current position doesn’t allow you the freedom to achieve your personal goals, you should strive to advance your career for the purpose of financial benefits.

Starting a Business

Starting your own business often requires a significant amount of experience, and people who achieve this generally do so after years of feeling confined to their fixed positions.

If you find yourself exploring such options or you feel like you cannot reach your long-term career goals in a company despite your efforts, starting a business may be the right fit for you.

However, you must keep in mind that owning your own business comes with a lot of risks and little security that a salary system provides. If you have a true entrepreneurial spirit and you believe you are innovative enough to make a success of your business, you should explore various ways to develop your entrepreneurial skills to reach your life goals.

Making a Career Switch

It is critical that you understand your long-term career goals are not set in stone, and if you think a career switch will bring you closer to realizing your future plans, you shouldn’t hesitate to do it.

Your job description may have seemed satisfying at the start of your employment, but now it doesn’t seem to support your goals anymore. If this is the case, take a closer look at the skills you have to offer and consider alternative career paths that you would deem more gratifying.

A career change can be made at any point, so don’t discourage the notion by thinking it is too late for you to pursue your passions. If you acquired a new skill that makes you think a new job better suits your needs, a career switch might be the best thing you can do for yourself in the long run.

Getting a New degree

Similar to making a career change, you may find yourself at a stage where you don’t have sufficient knowledge in the field about which you are passionate. It may be in your best interest to pursue a new degree in order to become more specialized in your field and get a step closer to achieving your long-term goals.

Having a deeper insight into the career path you’re pursuing can make a significant difference in your eligibility to achieve your goals and climb the career ladder to your dream job.

Expanding Your Network

Building a solid network of qualified professionals is an essential factor that is often overlooked. Growing your network will open the door to new opportunities and contest you with other professionals who may help you to reach your long-term career goals.

Growing your network can facilitate a number of long-term goals, including the others mentioned in this list. For instance, if your long-term goal is to start your own business, a well-established network of professionals will provide resources, partners, talent, and tools to get your business off the ground.

If you want to apply for another job, having a wide-reaching network can significantly ease the interview process and advance your position as a strong candidate. Creating and expanding your professional network is a critical step to achieving your career goals.

Becoming a Thought Leader

If your heart is set on staying in your current field, it may be worth it to put in the time and effort necessary to master every aspect of your field in order to gain proficiency and become a thought leader.

Being a respected thought leader in your industry makes you a valuable asset to other prospective employers and presents you with many opportunities to progress your career.

It is worth noting that becoming a thought leader requires you to comprehend more complex issues that arise in your field and be familiar with sure solutions that resolve such issues.

Becoming a Mentor

Being a mentor to other professionals is one of the most rewarding things you will ever have the honor of doing. Once you have achieved your career goals, helping others achieve theirs is a highly fulfilling endeavor.

Many professionals find themselves in similar situations that you were in before achieving your long-term goals, and they can significantly benefit from your insights and mentoring. When you become a mentor, you effectively step into a leadership role where your purpose is to guide and advise people to facilitate their career progression.

Take a Step Back

Working hard to achieve your long-term career goals doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take on hefty responsibilities that will make your perseverance less sustainable. Your long-term goals depend on what you value in your life, so if your plan is to start a family or work part-time, you should aim to put yourself in a position where that lifestyle is possible.

In general, career goals are primarily based on personal objectives instead of professional betterment.

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How to Set Long-Term Career Goals

Goal setting entails painting a clear picture of where you wish to see yourself in a few years, giving you a defined direction of what you need to do to get there. Now that we’ve looked at some examples of long-term career goals, let’s go over the best way to set goals for yourself.


The SMART framework is a well-established method of setting goals for yourself. The acronym below explains this method:

S – Specific

Define a long- or short-term goal in a specific and comprehensive manner. Your goal should not be vague or easily misunderstood but rather conform to a finite description of your desired destination. For instance: I want to become the HR Department manager in my organization.

M- Measurable

Your goal should be easy to measure, as should your progression.

A- Attainable

You must be able to create a realistic plan for achieving your goal. For instance, if your goal is to become the manager of the HR Department, your plan must include developing your managerial skills as well as your analytical skills to advance your chances of being placed in this position.

R- Relevant

A long-term career goal must directly relate to your desired career path in that it advances your journey up the corporate ladder in your field of interest.

T- Timely

Your long-term career goals must follow an established timeline you set for achieving them, as should each milestone you wish to reach along the way.

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Ultimately, your long-term career goals must be concise and straight to the point. You must be able to quantify your goals and measure your progress, and you must be able to achieve your goals within a realistic timeframe.

You can always adjust your timeline as you recognize delays or advancements that are unavoidable, but long-term goals are typically intended to be achieved within five years. Short-term goals can also be designed as additional guidelines to bring you closer to your long-term goals.