English vocabulary for setting business and career goals

Business meeting desk phrasal verbs

We all know that when it comes to your career or business in general, it’s important to set goals – they give us focus and something to aim for. How do we do this in English, though? Here is some simple vocabulary that will help you set your business and career goals in English. Find further tips in the EF English Live free English vocabulary ebook.

What type of goal are you setting?

In general there are two types of business or career  goals, short-term goals are things we want to happen soon and long-term goals are things that we want to happen in a few years’ time. Each of these types has its own characteristics and when setting them, we must make sure that they are achievable, clear, specific, and relevant.

Long-term goals

Long-term goals are closely related to your overall strategic intent (your overall vision and how you will achieve it) and are usually set with a time-frame of between five to ten years, or more. It is difficult to measure the achievability of these goals, as they can be heavily affected by macroeconomic factors such as inflation, or other major changes within your industry.

Short-term goals

Short-term goals are easier to set; these can also be called ‘specific goals’. You can set short-term goals by breaking down the your long-term goals into step-by-step action plans. Short-term goals are usually easier to measure than long-term goals and might be related to KPIs (key performance indicators) that are used to measure progress and productivity.

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Collocations with ‘goal’

The most common verbs to use with the word ‘goal’ are ‘set’ for when we create goals and ‘reach’ or ‘achieve’ for successfully completing the goal:

  • We have set a short-term goal to increase productivity by 50% this year.
  • We reached/achieved our goal of increasing productivity by 50% last year.

Other words related to ‘goal’

We often use the word ‘target’ as a synonym of ‘goal’ to avoid too much repetition in longer texts. ‘Aim’ is also a similar word to ‘goal’ however, it is often less specific and used for more general things we would like to achieve in business. People often use the word ‘vision’ to talk about their ideal situation in their career or for their business.

Whatever your goals are, it’s important to make them realistic and achievable. So, try setting a business goal in English today with this new vocabulary and see how long it takes you to achieve it.

Article related: How to improve your Business English writing skills

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