Whether you are in what feels like a dead end job or on a career track to bigger and better opportunities, it’s important to set goals for yourself. Setting goals gives you a sense of direction so you don’t feel lost in life. You can set goals for your career and go about how to work toward those goals.

Start with a big picture goal and then work on breaking that down into smaller, short term goals. Sometimes it is helpful to get a visual image in your head of where you want to go. It is important to write this all down and put it up where you can see it. You want it to be visible so you can always see what goals you are working toward.

You also want to put completion dates to these goals in order to know when you want to achieve these goals and stay on task. Make sure these goals are reasonable and the completion dates are attainable. Long term goals should be 3-5 years out and the shorter term goals should be less than one year out. You want to be specific in your goals so make sure they are not generic. Try to stay flexible if you don’t achieve some of the goals. Always remember, it takes a lot of patience and persistence.

Setting goals can also help you to refine your LinkedIn profile and your resume in addition to refining your job search. Try to use the SMART system when you create your goals. That is, Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, and Time-Bound. Setting goals can also help to identify what jobs are a waste of time to apply to. If they aren’t in alignment with your goals, then you shouldn’t be looking for or applying to that specific job.

Some examples of goals are: earning $X by 2017 or being Vice President of Property Development. So, what goals are you going to set for yourself?