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Aligning Your Work With Long-Term Career Goals: 4 Tips From Our Talent Experts

How can you align your day-to-day work with your long-term career goals when you're just starting out in your career? We sat down with two Johnson & Johnson recruiters—Jamil Price, HR Leader for University Relations and Events, and Krystal Brindley, HR Leader for University Recruiting—to find out.

Here are four tips to help young professionals not only shine, but align their work with long-term career goals.


Understand the Timeline


First things first: What's the cut-off point between short- and long-term career goal? At what point do the former end and the latter begin?

Keep the following schema in mind when thinking about your career development:
  • Short-term goals are everything you think is achievable in a one-to-three-year window.
  • Long-term goals refer to an equally limited timeframe: say, three-to-five years out. Allow any more time than that and your goals risk becoming abstract.
While these distinctions might seem arbitrary, they can be useful for not only thinking through short- and long-term goals, but tracking your progress toward them later on.


Try a "Stretch" Assignment


The distance between where you are today, and where you want to go tomorrow, can only be bridged by growth. At Johnson & Johnson, we firmly believe that when you take on new challenges, you're also being challenged to grow.

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Stretch assignments can go a long way toward helping you align on your career goals.
— Krystal Brindley, HR Leader, University Recruiting
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"We offer so many different opportunities to take on 'stretch' assignments—projects or tasks that in some way force you to reach beyond your existing knowledge or skill set—because we're committed to all of our employees reaching their full potential," Krystal explained.

At Johnson & Johnson, many of these opportunities are supported through formal channels. For example, we have an internal platform that allows employees to volunteer for projects in areas they're interested in, or where they'd like to develop new skills. Projects can be on either part-time or full-time bases.

Think of a stretch assignment as a way to hone your existing skills even as you cultivate new ones. Plus, by partnering with new people and teams, you'll expand your network, which might lead you in yet another direction—or to unforeseen opportunities down the line.


Lateral Can Be Vertical


Feel like your short-term goals aren't laddering up to your long-term career vision? In that case, it might be wise to consider a lateral move.

"We always encourage people to take on assignments in new functional areas, or even new sectors," Jamil said. "If you're passionate about something new and want to make a lateral move, you’re going to be supported at Johnson & Johnson."

We're one of the world's largest healthcare companies, of course, so there's no shortage of opportunities for lateral movements here. In fact, we specifically designed our rotational leadership development programs (LDPs) to encourage them.

Krystal seconded Jamil: "Differentiated experiences set you up for growth. And you'll hear from leaders at Johnson & Johnson again and again that the breadth of their experience has been a key driver of their development and growth."

(As an aside, that's not just an anecdote—it's something a team of data scientists at Johnson & Johnson recently confirmed.)


You Are in the Driver's Seat


We want all of our team members to follow their interests, pursue the things they're passionate about and make real-world impact. So we empower them with resources and tools—formal mentoring programs, employee resource groups, digital platforms where they can build new skills, to name a few—to support them in that direction.

At the end of the day, however, that also means you're the one in charge. Ultimately, you have to choose your own adventure.

"You own your career development at Johnson & Johnson," Jamil said. "You're the one who's in the driver's seat—and we believe that means you can achieve almost anything. But we also believe you should go at your own pace."

In other words, you won't find predefined career milestones structuring your development here. Everyone's career journey is unique. Nor do we think advancement should mean spending less time doing what you love in order to manage direct reports. Check out the career path of an award-winning scientist for proof of that.

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Set your own pace. Go where you want to go.

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Join Johnson & Johnson Today

Wherever you are in the world or in your career, aligning short- and long-term professional goals is a whole lot easier when you find an employer that shares your values. The fact is, we're on an urgent mission at Johnson & Johnson. We're harnessing passion and drive to make a positive impact in the world—just like you are. And we can't do it alone.

So if you're eager to grow in your career while making a difference in the lives of people everywhere, be sure to sign up for our Global Talent Hub. It's a great way to stay in touch and get updates about jobs that might interest you as they become available.

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