Aligning Your Objectives to Reach Your Career Goals

You may think that objectives and goals are different words for the same concept, but there is a distinct difference.  

Goals include your primary ideal outcome, and they tend to be broader in scope, and not specific in action planning. 

Like goals, objectives are also results that you aim to achieve, but they encompass the strategies that you’ll use to reach your broader goals. Objectives take into account the resources that you have at your disposal, add a time-specific element, and have a measurable component.  

Applying Objectives and Goals

Let’s look at this concept in a specific example. Jane has a primary goal of working in a different department at her current job. This department is specialized, but Jane does not have all of the credentials that are required to make the switch. One of her objectives should be to obtain the skills and certifications necessary to work in the specialized department. Once Jane identifies the training she needs, she will be able to be specific in her objectives by including the price and time requirements to complete the training.  

Sometimes a person’s objectives can clash. For example, if Jane has the goals to make more money AND switch departments, she may have to sacrifice one goal temporarily to achieve them both in the long run. She may have to work fewer hours in order to complete the training.

Staying on Track 

It is vital to align your objectives with your goals and regularly check-in to make sure you’re staying on track, and to reevaluate if you’re still  heading in the right direction. 

It is okay, and expected, that your objectives and goals will need to be tweaked (and sometimes crossed off the list altogether) as you go along. Often, as you gain life experience, your long-term goals will evolve and change.  

When I first started going to college almost 20 years ago (yes, I’m  that  old), I had no idea what I wanted “to be when I grew up.” I took so many random classes (thank goodness for electives!), and continually tried different majors on for size. I was a music major (vocals), biology major (nursing), and geology major (geology rocks!). After a brief stint in the U.S. Navy, I eventually (17 years after high school graduation) got a bachelor’s degree in communications. Then I promptly got a job in an unrelated field. Ha! The point of this story is this – your goals will change as life comes at you, and you need to be flexible with your objectives.  

Additional Resources

For step-by-step instructions on how to set goals and objectives well, read my article here. If you want to go even more in-depth with goal setting, I highly recommend the book Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy.  

If goal-setting and objective-inventory is something that you struggle with doing for yourself, Vision to Purpose can help get you on the right path. Visit to schedule a free 15-minute consultation. 

About the Author:   

Melanie Lemus is the Communications Specialist for Vision to Purpose providing self-help, business, and career focused topics.   

About Vision to Purpose:   

Vision to Purpose is an organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses succeed through the offering of tailored career, life and business solutions.  

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