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Career Development

5 Real-World Tips For Setting Career Goals In 2024

General Assembly
February 6, 2024

It’s only natural: as the new year dawns our ambitions awaken and our optimism for positive change flourishes. You’re feeling the pull to reimagine your career — now, how to make it a reality? 

Commitment and consistency will see you through the months ahead as intentions transform into actions. While the emotional climate is favorable, you can take bold strides forward by setting aside time each day to act and reflect on your goals — goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. And if you’re really serious about career change or career advancement, you’ll need to make skill-building a key element of your goals so you’re prepared to unlock next-level achievements.

As you chart your course, use the following tips to turn ideas into action.

5 Tips for Setting — And Achieving — Career Goals in 2024

1. Soul search to arrive at a definition of success.

When you feel successful, financial freedom and career satisfaction often take care of themselves. But accessing that feeling requires getting clear on what you want. For many people, success is tied to a certain dollar amount — maybe a six-figure salary or a million-dollar net worth. For others, no amount of money can offset the desire for a flexible schedule, the ability to work remotely, or the ability to make a difference doing meaningful work. 

Take time to reflect, asking key questions like: 

  • Which tasks, projects, and aspects of my job have brought me the greatest satisfaction?
  • Where do I see myself in a year? 
  • Why is this vision of my future self important to my long-term goals? 
  • How does my definition of success connect with my values and purpose? 

Check in with yourself regularly, keeping tabs on your evolving goals and progress in a journal or blog. Tracking the process in writing is one way to keep yourself accountable and motivated to follow through. Here are a number of free templates you can use to track your progress. 

2. Align your job wants with market needs. 

Given today’s dynamic landscape, General Assembly Outcomes Coach Daishania Meeks advises matching your career goals with job market trends and opportunities. “For example, areas like AI, healthcare tech, and renewable energy are hot,” she explains, and certain technical skills — like Python, JavaScript, agile and scrum data management, testing protocols, and cloud computing — can give you a competitive edge across a broad range of roles and career fields. 

To kickstart your research:

  • Scour government reports for a list of the fastest-growing occupations over the next decade.
  • Discover what skills are necessary to land a well-paid, high-demand role as a software engineer, data analyst, data scientist, or UX designer. 
  • Consider what dream industry you might land in once you pick up coveted, red-hot tech skills. 

By strategically aligning yourself with shifting labor market demands, you enhance your marketability and position yourself for success in a promising, purposeful sector of the economy.  

3. Fill your skills gaps.

The human mind is constantly pruning, wiring, and reworking itself. Use that to your advantage. 

Long gone are the days where you need four years of college coursework to make a career change or get a promotion. Increasingly, lifelong learners are picking up the skills they need in months, not years, through:

  • Workshops and short courses: To enhance technical proficiency through hands-on, practical projects. 
  • Certifications: To brush up on core concepts and demonstrate prowess by passing an exam.
  • Tech bootcamp training programs: To undergo comprehensive, structured learning to acquire in-depth knowledge.

In addition to tech skills courses, it’s also important to consider a curriculum that builds widely applicable soft skills like: communication, business writing, public speaking, critical thinking, and time management.

4. Scour your own backyard.

John Bacolores, a Senior Career Coach at General Assembly, recommends aiming for local in-person or hybrid roles rather than fully remote positions to maximize your chance of interviewing and receiving an offer letter this year. “Remote roles mean more competition,” he explains. “Plus, it would be nice to have a hybrid role so you can interact with your team members in real life.” 

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Attend local networking events: Industry conferences, workshops, seminars, job fairs, and events can be a great way to network, find referrals, and explore potential job opportunities.
  • Use local job boards and search filters: Explore job boards that cater to your specific region or city and filter job searches by location on platforms like Indeed, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn.
  • Check alumni resources: In addition to local career centers and employment agencies, educational programs may offer alumni resources and local mentors to help support your transition to a new role. 

5. Bring your industry expertise to the table.

To boost your chances of achieving your career goals, target companies that reflect your industry knowledge and relevant experience. If you’ve previously worked in sectors like K-12 education, hospitality, or HR, leveraging this expertise can expedite the hiring process.

According to John, tech bootcamp graduates have successfully used this strategic approach to overcome experience prerequisites, even when transitioning to roles unrelated to their prior work. Keep in mind any coursework you’ve taken can be considered “experience,” too. 

Here are some additional tips to find a job in a familiar field:

  • Talk to HR. Ask about open roles and opportunities within your current company.
  • Target relevant companies. Research and apply at top employers in your sectors of expertise.
  • Translate your expertise. Soak up empowering examples of tech bootcamp success stories. Consider how graduates apply new skills to seemingly unrelated roles and how you might do the same.

Make Good on Career Goal Resolutions With General Assembly.

Resolutions are easy to fall short on, but building a successful career should take a front seat throughout the year. After all, one-third of our lives are spent at work! 

As you commit to advancing your career in 2024, explore how General Assembly’s flexible learning experiences can provide the skills and experience you need to make a change. Start with a free class, progress through short courses, or dive into the full bootcamp experience. With our industry-informed curriculum, flexible financing options, and comprehensive support network, we set you on the fast track to success, wherever you are in your career. 

So this year, invest in yourself — and embrace the transformative potential that dedicated career development can bring.


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