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“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
You’ve probably been asked this question
during a job interview, but it is also a question that you should ask yourself.
To be honest, this question sometimes makes me
cringe because I don’t always know where I see myself in a week, much less five years.
However, I also know the importance of having a sense of direction in my career
and knowing what tasks need to be accomplished in order to turn my aspirations
into a reality.
Furthermore, I know my five-year plan is a
living document. I change things around
pretty regularly. I may add in a goal if I learn about a new area in my
field that really interests me and I may push some things off for a few years
that become less urgent on my priority list.
Potential employers will likely ask about your five-year plan to explore your long-term vision and career goals to see if you would be the right fit for their company. How well does your answer align with the company’s goals? However, there are benefits to answering this question for yourself even if you aren’t job hunting.
Being goal-oriented about your work (as opposed to being task-oriented) will not only help you establish a plan for ultimately landing a career that you enjoy, it will also prevent you from feeling like you’re spinning your wheels at work.
In this article, we will talk about
career goals and then I will give you 11 examples of solid career goals that
you could have and talk about in a job interview.
First, let’s talk about what a career goal is.
(Side note: Another positive way to improve your life is to read and learn something new every day. A great tool to do this is to join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest FREE, informative news from this website.)
What Is a Career Goal?
A career goal is either a short and long-term milestone that you want to hit as you move forward in your profession. This goes beyond the amount of money you want to eventually make or the title you want to hold, and focuses more on your potential accomplishments along the way.
Your career goals are the things that will keep you motivated to get up and go to work
every day and get ahead of the competition. They help set your focus and encourage you to continuously improve and learn.
solid career goals can not only help you land a job in an interview, it can
also help you advance in your current career.
When trying to come up with your career goals,
there are a few things that you can keep in mind:
- What are your professional strengths?
- Is there anything new that you want to learn?
- What do you enjoy most about your chosen profession?
- What achievements are you most proud of?
- What jobs interest you the most?
- What new opportunities could you have in the next few years that could alter your career?
You can then create your career goal statement to help you plan your career and communicate your intentions.
RELATED: 21 Examples of SMART Goals
Want to set goals you can actually achieve? Then watch this video that provides a quick overview of SMART goals with 21 examples.
Having the right career goals can spark a sense of intrinsic motivation in you
that allows success to just happen on its own. Let’s look at some examples of
career goals that you could set to talk about in a job interview or if you’re
trying to advance your current level of employment.
11 Career Goals Examples
for an Interview or Job Advancement
1. Earn a Higher Degree
“While I have just earned my master’s degree
in _______, my long-term goal is to eventually earn a doctorate degree. I plan
to work full-time in this field for the next few years to gain the necessary
experience to be able to excel in a doctorate program.”
answer shows that you see yourself as a lifelong learner and you want to stay
in the field you’ve chosen in the long run. If you’re
setting this career goal for yourself, it will encourage you to stay up-to-date
with the current trends or news in your industry so you can remain a
competitive applicant to doctorate programs.
While your experience, work ethic, and dedication to your job will help you move up in your career, research shows that having a formal education is standard for those who end up in executive positions. This suggests that if you really want to excel, you will have to invest the time and money in order to set yourself up to do so.
2. Become an Expert
“I hope to become a true industry expert in
this field through successful end-to-end project management practice and
hands-on experience. I look forward to engaging in continued learning
opportunities so others in the field think of my name when looking for help in
solving industry problems or needing a second opinion.”
Wanting to become an expert in your field is
also a great motivator for continuous learning. With this goal, you’re likely
to seek out learning opportunities and eventually have other people who want to
work for you.
Your expertise will gain you respect and
prestige in your industry and make other experts want to collaborate with you.
Work with the long-term goal of becoming an expert in your field so you can
position yourself to be a better teacher and problem-solver than anyone else.
3. Start Your Own Business
“I consider myself to be a visionary and I
know I would be successful in creating something of my own. I hope to start my
own business one day so I can incorporate my own creativity into our industry
to fill unmet needs.”
Demonstrating a desire to start your own business shows potential employers that you believe in your leadership potential and you’re confident in your ideas. It is also a good indication of your work ethic and dedication to your job.
that pioneering mindset in your current position will encourage you to think
outside of the box and find solutions to unanswered questions so you can fill
an unmet need in your target market one day. Having
this mindset will set you up to work well individually and help you get used to
being a self-starter.
4. Improve Processes
“I hope to improve low-functioning processes
in the business. I have always valued efficiency and I believe I can be an
asset to any team that is looking to reduce unnecessary expenditures and
are always looking to cut costs and reduce labor. If
this is something you are passionate about and you enjoy problem-solving in
this sort of way, this is a great goal to set.
Your work in creating efficiency could have a
huge positive impact on a business, but you can also make this career goal more
personal to your position. Whether you find a more efficient way to do your job or
you look for things that you can cut out in order to open up time and space to
increase your capacity at work, improving
your processes and finding ways to streamline your work will always be
5. Gain New Experiences
“My goal is to never become complacent in my
career. I want to always have something new to look forward to and continue to
gain experience in multiple areas of this field.”
think anyone is truly happy or fulfilled in their career if they’re running on auto-pilot. Show potential employers (and remind yourself) that you know there is
always something new you can experience that will help you grow as a
Whether you take the time to volunteer in the
community or at your office, join a professional association to network with
others in your area, or reach out to specific people in the field that you
never cross paths with, having new
experiences will help continue to spark your passion for your career.
6. Obtain a Leadership Position
“I look forward to being in a leadership
position because I want to help other people become successful in this field
through offering constructive feedback, teaching, and offering the necessary
resources for achievement.”
This answer shows that you care about the future
of the company and the field that you have chosen. If you love helping other people grow and feel like being responsible
is one of your strengths, obtaining a leadership position in your career could
be a great fit for a career goal.
Having this goal in mind will help you perform
in a way that shows leadership potential when you’re working. This includes having clear communication skills, having a positive attitude, and stepping up to
help with projects, even if they’re not in your job description. Be receptive
to other people’s ideas and set a good
example for new employees by being proactive in your work.
Having a sense of personal responsibility is also critical if you want to be in a leadership role some day, so make sure to stay accountable for any contribution you make to the team–whether it’s good or bad. These actions will help set you up to reach your goal of being a leader.
7. Be Satisfied
“I know that I need to gain a sense of
satisfaction from my achievements at work in order to remain motivated, loyal,
and fulfilled. Working in a position that I find to be satisfying will benefit
both the company I’m working for and myself because the company will gain a
long-term, dedicated employee, and in turn, I will get the satisfaction of
knowing my work is valued and meaningful.”
Companies want their employees to feel satisfied because they don’t want to end up with a high turnover rate. And you obviously want to feel satisfied in your career so you’re able to live a happy and fulfilling life. Studies have found that in order to feel satisfied in your career, there are a few key factors that need to be in place. These include having a positive attitude, feeling challenged, feeling a sense of purpose, connecting with other people, and being good at your job.
Having new experiences will help continue to spark your passion for your career.
Without striving to have a sense of satisfaction in your career, you’re likely to settle into a life of mediocrity without advancing past a basic level of success. And, because there is a statistical relationship between one’s feelings of satisfaction at work and the prestige of their position, knowing that you’re aiming for satisfaction will keep you motivated to keep advancing yourself in the professional arena.
When talking about your need for job satisfaction to potential employers, make sure to offer clarity on how your goals align with the company’s. This will ensure the company will hold an interest in your needs to feel satisfied because they will want to retain you as an employee.
8. Establish a Personal Brand
“One of my goals is to establish a personal
brand to develop a name for myself in this industry. I plan to create a website
and social media pages by the end of the year and hope to gain my first 100
followers within one month of going live.”
This career goal demonstrates to potential
employers that you’re confident in your knowledge of the industry–so much so that you are seeking to gain
exposure for your expertise.
Having the goal of establishing a personal
brand will help you feel a continual need to find new content for your followers. Not only will this help you in your own personal development and
learning, it will also lure employers who want to have a trailblazer of some
type on their team.
Establishing a personal brand is a proactive
way to control your own career development and help determine how your clients
and colleagues will perceive you. With this goal in mind, you can establish your uniqueness so you can stand out from the
crowd and draw people in.
9. Become a Thought Leader
“I want to help set the pace for this industry
by becoming a trusted thought leader. I want to inspire innovation and see my
ideas be implemented.”
Obtaining the status of being a “thought
leader” is certainly a lofty goal that many executives strive to achieve.
But if you use the right strategies and have a strong sense of determination,
patience, and a growth mindset, you could be able to influence other people in your industry and become
a respected source of intelligent insight.
In order to be a thought leader, you have to
publish materials on a regular basis that are educational and come from a
unique, first-person (your own) perspective. People are able to gain valuable, actionable advice from reading the
content published by thought leaders, and in turn, this builds a sense of trust
with your clients and colleagues.
Having this goal is
a great way to show potential employers
your drive to make a positive contribution to your industry. Thought
leaders are able to evaluate the past and the present, and forecast the future
to build a thorough, unprecedented, and inspirational view of some aspect of
10. Make Essential Connections
“One of my career goals is to make personal
connections with the leaders in this industry whom I highly respect. Not only
will this help me continue to develop my own leadership skills, it will also
allow me to interact with industry figures whom I strive to emulate.”
By seeking out leaders you admire in your
field, and creating connections with them by setting up meetings or attending
panel discussions, you’re setting yourself up to learn from people who have
gained the success that you crave. Making
connections to strong leaders can help open new doors for you along your career
journey and improve your
Establishing your own personal brand demonstrates to potential employers that you’re confident in your knowledge of the industry.
Staying connected will also allow you to stay
in the loop of the latest industry trends, keep an eye open on the job market,
meet potential new partners and clients, and have access to the resources that
you need to help foster your professional development. This career goal has clear benefits in building a career that you love,
and it also shows potential employers that you’re proactive in making
connections with other businesses, which could ultimately result in new
business for the company.
11. Win a Prestigious Award
“My goal is to be recognized with a reputable
award for my efforts and accomplishments. I feel this goal will keep me
motivated to stay on top of my game in order to become a distinguished member
of the team.”
Of course everyone wants to win an award, but
if this is a specific goal of yours, you will be constantly motivated by the
thought of winning this award. Telling
your employer (or potential employer) that you’re especially interested in a
specific award can also help them keep you in mind when the time comes to honor
someone with that award.
This will help you continue to do your best
work, even when completing minor tasks, and it will
allow your employer to know they have a motivated team member who doesn’t want
to get by with just doing the bare minimum. Rather, you want to excel and be competitive, not only with other
corporations, but also within your own organization.
strong career goals helps link your passion to your income. Your career
goals–especially when they’re specific–can help you land the job that you
want, succeed once you’re in the position, and continue to grow into a role
Knowing your career goals is an important factor when walking into a job interview or when you’re trying to convince a current employer that it’s time for you to move up within the company. However, it’s also important to have career goals for yourself so you’re working with a sense of purpose and you’re spending your time doing something you love.
Break your career goals down into shorter-term objectives so you can make a concrete plan to meet your goals. If you need some help with wording your goals or planning them out, here is some great information on how to set SMART goals and here are some SMART goal setting templates.
Finally, if you want another positive way to improve your life, then read and learn something new every day. A great tool to do this is to join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest FREE, informative news from this website.
Connie Stemmle is a professional editor, freelance writer and ghostwriter. She holds a BS in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her 4-year-old daughter, running, or making efforts in her community to promote social justice.