Setting career goals for 2021: A New Year, A New You

How do you know that you are using your skills to your advantage? Are you really progressing in your career? Are you doing the job you really want? Setting career goals for 2021 is an important item on the agenda and now is the perfect time to reflect and work out what your short, medium and long-term goals will be and where your career will take you.

Do you change your career entirely this year or look at other recruitment opportunities in the same area? Or do you simply want to improve your networking skills, reach a leadership role with your current employer, or even earn a degree or certification in your field of work? With so many questions to ask yourself, the team at Invenio Global has provided this helpful guide on setting career goals.

So why are setting career goals for 2021 important?

Setting career goals are an important part of your work life as they help give you a sense of direction, motivation, and clarity that keeps you progressing and building the career you want.

There are many ways you can set your goals, but a great framework for doing this is by using the S.M.A.R.T. method.

What is the S.M.A.R.T. method?

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym giving criteria to guide you in the setting of goal objectives. It originally came from a 1981 paper in Management Review by George T. Doran entitled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives“.  Whilst initially for business management, it has found its use in many other aspects of goal setting, including careers.

Each letter in S.M.A.R.T. stands for a different criterion to help you set your goals.

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Achievable

R = Relevant

T = Time-Oriented

That’s great but what does this all mean?

For the purpose of this guide, let us use the example of the career goal: “I want to be a litigation lawyer at an offshore law firm”. Below we will discuss the use of each criterion of S.M.A.R.T. and how to apply it to that goal.


You need to be specific about what you want to achieve. Take into account who, what, where, when, and why you want to achieve this goal.

Example: “Within the next 12 months, I want a senior associate role in the Litigation team at one of the large law firms in the Cayman Islands so that I can have a better lifestyle for myself and my family whilst still working on quality cases.”


How do you know that you have are progressing towards your goal? You will need to put in place specific milestones so that you know whether you are on course to achieve your goal.

Example: “By the end of February 2021, I will have updated my CV, drafted cover letters, and have sent them to HR teams at Maples, Walkers, Appleby, and Ogier. I will also speak with recruitment companies like Invenio Global to see what other roles are available offshore. I expect to have had at least two interviews by end of May 2021”.


Ask yourself whether your goal is actually possible within the timeframe that you set. The goal should be challenging enough to be within your reach but not impossible. If it is unrealistic with the resources and strengths you have, then rethink the goal as you will become demotivated and fail.

Example: “I am currently a 7-year PQE associate at a large litigation firm in London which works with Cayman lawyers on a day-to-day basis. I know there are some differences between English and Cayman law so I will speak with my Cayman counterparts and study the Cayman legal system to ensure that I have full knowledge and understanding of the differences before any interview”.


The goal needs to align with your long-term career plan. Achieving a goal takes time and personal resources so ensure that this is an important step to achieving your overall objective.  When setting your goal, be sure to query whether this goal is necessary and ask yourself how it will contribute. If it does not, rethink the goal.

Example: “I want a better lifestyle for my family and want to achieve an equity partnership position at a Cayman law firm in the next 5 years.”


Set out a date when you expect to achieve your goal. Is it mid-2021 or by the end of 2021? Or is it going to be further ahead? Setting a clear timeframe will help you keep motivated and allow you to prioritise your resources.  

Example: “I want to have started this role by 1st December 2021.

Whether you need some advice in setting your career goals for 2021 or are looking for a new job, feel free to drop us an email here or call 345 769 7000. Invenio Global is here to help you at every stage of your journey. Your Hustle Is Our Hustle

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