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5 steps you should take to achieve your career goals

Posted on: 07 Mar

The world of work is competitive. Whether you’re working in Biotech, Pharmaceuticals, or simply want to get your first foot on the career ladder and start developing your career, it can often be hard to reach the place you want - especially given the huge number of people trying to do the same. Indeed, job satisfaction reached a two-year low in 2016, and though this is now on the rise, being unsatisfied at work poses a real problem when it comes to happiness and productivity. 

However, the beginning of a new year is time for new decisions and fresh starts, and for those who want to set and achieve fresh career goals, there’s no better time to do so - especially since the peak time for jobhunting is in January

Whether you’re looking for a new job, or trying to improve on the one that you have, here are six steps you can take to help you achieve your career goals over the coming twelve months.

Take stock

You’ll first have to determine exactly what your goals are, which involves looking at what you’ve completed and accomplished this year. What have you done that you are most proud of? Did you find a new job, take on any additional responsibilities, or have you acquired any new skills? Try and create a fair picture of where you are now, this will help you decide on how to move forward.

After that, you can then look for opportunities for improvement. Do you want to learn new skills or be promoted? How does your salary compare to that of your peers? Where do you think change is needed?

Set big goals, take small steps

Once you’ve taken stock, you should decide what you want to accomplish in the upcoming months. Follow the SMART guide: make sure that these aims are ‘Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented’. Spell out your goal and be specific about what you want and then decide what steps are needed in order to accomplish it. 

You should also break down your goals effectively: though you may have clarified what they are, it can be demoralising if you don’t know how to go about achieving them. Set yourself a series of small steps rather than setting large targets to hit; not only completing them give you a larger feeling of achievement, but it will make the entire process seem easier, and quicker.


This may seem obvious, but once you’ve established what you want, it’s important to stick to it. Regularly evaluate your progress, and don’t be afraid to reassess or adjust your goals if you think your progress is not going well, or if you have decided on doing something differently. Over the course of the coming months, you may also discover additional projects that need to be done to make your overall goal easier to achieve. You should also ensure that your overall goal fits in with your long-term plans; this will make you much more likely to see it through and maintain your motivation for getting it done.

Don’t give up: though it’s easy to start procrastinating, resist the urge to do so by finding people to help and encourage you, whether it’s by offering support or by helping you to do something like writing an excellent cover letter- and thereby cross another task off your list.

Acknowledge your success 

Struggling to achieve your goals can sometimes be hard and lonely work - especially if they seem a long way off - so it’s important that you acknowledge what you’ve accomplished. After all, success is a powerful motivator, so try and keep a list of what you have done, as well as what you’ve got to do, to check back on. You might discover you’re being hard on yourself. Reward yourself, whether it’s through buying something you wsanted or giving yourself a weekend trip away from work. After all, 77% of employees say that they would work harder if their efforts were better recognised; this applies to your personal goals too. 

Stay in touch and keep learning 

Whilst you’re working towards your overall target, don’t forget to keep upskilling and improving your prospects within the industry. If you want a job in pharmaceuticals, see if you can shadow a professional and gain some work experience; if you want a job in medical sales take a part-time job that involves selling. Many industries are also currently being affected by the overall shift to a greater reliance on technology; brush up on the latest technology developments and see if it’s something you can learn more about.

It’s also a good idea to keep close tabs on your social media profiles, especially when it comes to building your network and getting in touch with people who may be able to help you achieve your overall goals - especially given that LinkedIn alone has more than 450 million user profiles. Attend industry events, and get in touch with the right people; who knows, they may provide the key to what you’ve been looking for. By staying active online, sharing and contributing to relevant groups and within relevant circles, you’ll also raise your profile and get noticed by the right people. 

At IQVIA™, we pride ourselves on finding and connecting the freshest talent to the most exciting job opportunities. Find out about the jobs we offer here, or discover more job-hunting advice here