GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The end of 2016 is nearly here, which means many people will be taking a look at their careers and asking whether they’re on track to reach their goals. If you’re one of them, here is a “quick-start” guide for setting career goals that will move you closer to your dreams in the coming year.

Ted Chalupsky, founder and President of The Right Staff, a professional employment services firm joined the KARE 11 News at 4 for a reality check.

Evaluate where you’ve been.

What were your goals in 2016? How close did you come to meeting them? If you met your goals, what helped you get there – and if not, what hindered you or held you back? The more carefully you think through where you’ve been, the easier it is to identify obstacles and opportunities going forward.

Get SMART

Setting SMART goals is essential for success. A SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based.

Non-SMART goals can be tough to reach. An example of a not-so-SMART goal is “I will get a promotion.” What sort of promotion? How will you know when you’ve received the promotion you want – will it involve a new title, a new set of responsibilities, higher pay or all three? What do you need to do in order to achieve it? Can you do it in the time you have and with the resources you have?

A smarter way to phrase that goal might be “I will earn the title of Department Manager by the end of the year.” This goal is Specific: It identifies exactly the promotion you want. It’s Measurable: You’ll know whether or not you reached it if you are Department Manager by the time 2018 arrives. A conversation with your supervisor about the specific steps you need to take to get there will tell you whether or not it is Achievable and Realistic. And it’s Time-Based: You know you have a year to get it done.

Talk to an expert

Professional employment counselors, human resources executives, professional recruiters and staffing firms specialize in helping job seekers explore their options and reach their career goals. And they should do it without any cost to you. If your goals aren’t in line with your company’s plans for you, or if one of your goals is “find a great new job as soon as possible,” reach out to an “expert” today.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, our experienced recruiters can help you turn a job search struggle into job search success. Contact us today to learn more about our job opportunities in Minnesota and beyond. For more information visit www.therightstaff.com.