08/15/2013 01:35 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2013

Are Your Job Goals Destined to Fail?

Reevaluate your job goals to set yourself up for success.

Goal-setting is an essential component to long-term success, whether you want to improve your public speaking skills, ask for a raise or promotion at work, or find a new job. However, many people struggle to set the right objectives and see them through to the end. If you find yourself struggling to achieve your job goal, the goal may need to be reevaluated. Here are four types of goals the will work against your job search -- and what you can do to get back on track.

The ambiguous goal

A clear set of job goals is the foundation of a solid job-search strategy. All your job-search efforts -- from how you position your resume and online presence to how you find job leads -- will depend on the goals you choose. Simply stating "I want a new job" is too vague. Evaluate your work history to identify the underlying skills, core values and working environment that are best for you. The more targeted your goals, the easier it will be to develop the right plan.

The overly ambitious or unrealistic goal

It's unrealistic to assume you can advance from a marketing associate to chief marketing officer in 12 months' time. Similarly, it's naive to think you can transition from a product manager to an HR generalist overnight. While there's nothing wrong with wanting to accelerate your career or make a functional change, it's impractical to think you'll accomplish either of these objectives in the short term. Instead, create a job-search strategy targeting roles that will help you acquire the skills and experience necessary to achieve these more ambitious, long-term goals.

The undocumented goal

Did you know that just by writing down your goal, you're more likely to follow through with it? Once you've decided on your job goal, document it. If you successfully complete your goal, what would that look like? What would be the outcome? When you define success, you're creating parameters that will help you stay on track. Post your goal near your home computer so you don't lose focus.

The goal without a plan

As Napoleon Hill once said, "a goal is a dream with a deadline." Your job goals are only as effective as the plan you create to accomplish them. Break your goal into smaller, more digestible milestones. Make a list of the activities, tasks and deadlines associated with each milestone. By dividing your goal into more manageable chunks of work, you're less likely to get overwhelmed and discouraged. This can be the difference between giving up and remaining committed to your goal.

Still unsure of which direction to take your career? Explore some of my favorite job goal exercises. Click on the following link for information on the job-search process and making a career transition.

This post originally appeared on TheLadders Career Chronicles on August 5, 2013.