What Are Your Career Goals – How to Answer w/ [Examples]
“What are your career goals?” You may say. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
You probably have a better idea of what to answer at age 6.
You should convey the same level of confidence when talking to an interviewer about your career goals.
Easier said than done, right? Especially if you are unsure about what your goals are or what they should look like in the first place.
We know this struggle! We’ve compiled this guide to help you set your career goals (and answer the horrible interview question).
Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- What is a Career Goal and Why It Matters to Have Someone
- The 4 Most Common Types of Career Goals
- “What Are Your Career Goals?” Tips for answering the question and things to avoid saying
- 3+ Examples of How Your Answer Should and Should Not Be VisibleSo let’s get started:
What is a Career Goal
Career goals are goals. Things, positions, situations related to your professional life that you decide to succeed.
They can be short-term, like getting a promotion or certification, or they can be long-term, like running your own successful business or becoming a manager in your dream company.
No matter how it sounds, there should be this kind of reward motivating you to continue your career.
Why Is It Important to Have a Career Goal (And Why Interviewers Care)
First of all, apart from the job interview, you have to have a career goal because it’s beneficial to you.
To improve yourself, not to impress the interviewer, your relatives, or your future Tinder date.
Having a career goal keeps you focused and prevents you from getting stuck in a cycle where every day looks the same and you forget what you were working for in the first place.
Something you should aim for is the steps you should follow, the progress you need to take.
Let us now turn to the interviewer and why they asked the question. Your answer lets them know about two things:
- How much do you plan to work for them
- What motivates you to work
The interviewers wonder why you want to work for them and they will ask you directly. But this question asked them “Why do you want to work for us?” not an interview question.
Your career goal will give them an idea of what type of employee you will be – long term or short term. Is this position something you will stay for a while or is this a temporary stop until a better opportunity comes?
Hiring and training an employee in 2020 costs between $ 4000-7600. Money that employers are not interested in investing in someone who will work for them for a maximum of two months.
Having a career goal also means that you do not apply just because the job posting is randomly in your path, and because you are unemployed, you will apply for almost anything… here you are.
If you have a goal you want to achieve, it means that the meeting is not accidental and that the job position really matches your expectations. This means you’ll likely be more connected, work harder, and have a great attitude.
An alternative to the question of career goals is “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Is the question. Either way, the interviewees try to get to the same point: your future. What is your career goal examples?,#What is your career ambition answer?,#What are your career goals meaning?,#What are the 5 smart goals?,#What are the 3 types of goals?,#What is your ambition in life examples?,#What are your future aspirations?,#What are your future plans best answer?,#How would you describe yourself?,#What are your future goals?,#What is your goal answer?,#What are 3 words to describe yourself?,#What are 5 words to describe yourself?,#How would you describe yourself in 5 sentences?,#What are your goals and aspirations?,#What is your career plan?,#How do you write a future plan?,#What are examples of goals?,#How do I write down my goals?,#How do I make a goal list?,#What are some good goals for 2020?,#What are your top 3 goals?,#What goals should I set for myself?
The 4 Most Common Career Goals
Goals focused on professional advancement
These goals are all about improving your business performance and being more efficient; To be better and faster at what you are doing and therefore climbing the ladder.
Short-term example: A salesperson increasing their monthly sales by x%
Long-term example: Become a senior partner at a top law firm.
Goals focused on leadership advancement
When it comes to leadership, there is a lot of room for career development. These goals are all about improving your management skills and targeting positions with more responsibility.
Short-term example: I’m trying to rise to a manager position at this restaurant.
Long-term example: Working as a manager at company X
Goals focused on educational advancement
Whether you’re a fresh graduate or a fully qualified professional, there is always more to learn. These goals are about keeping you informed of new developments in your field or just learning something new and different.
Short term example: Learning a new programming language.
Long-term example: Finish medical school, complete a surgical residency program, and successfully earn the state license to practice medicine in up to 11 years.
Goals focused on personal development
These goals put emphasis on self-improvement and skills like networking or teamwork. Achieving them has a positive impact on your professional life, but they also show that you are more than just work work work.
Short-term example: Becoming more proactive within your company.
Long-term example: Improving your networking skills.
How to Answer – “What Are Your Career Goals?”
There is no formula for correctly answering this question. However, there are some tips we can give you to make sure your answer coincides with all the correct points.
Be relevant to the company.
Let’s say one of your goals right now is to get certified from an online course in fictional writing. This is a great goal, but if you’re applying for a position as a sales manager, this certification won’t be of great help to you in the interview.
So this means that your answer to this interview question should be related to the position / company you are applying for.
- My goal has always been to become a Certified Public Accountant. In one year, I will have finally met the training and experience requirements to take the Uniform CPA Exam, which I am very determined to pass.
- I’m just an amateur photographer, but my goal is to make my own exhibition one day. Whenever I’m out of business, I try to dedicate myself as much time as possible to expanding my portfolio. Isn’t it great for an accountant to engage in something else like photography?
Start with short-term goals and then move to long-term ones.
Short-term goals generally tend to be steps on the way to the larger long-term goal. They are also more specific and precise.
In giving your answer, you can start talking about these goals and then return to long-term goals. Your answer will sound much more logical and your plans will be well thought out. What is your career goal examples?,#What is your career ambition answer?,#What are your career goals meaning?,#What are the 5 smart goals?,#What are the 3 types of goals?,#What is your ambition in life examples?,#What are your future aspirations?,#What are your future plans best answer?,#How would you describe yourself?,#What are your future goals?,#What is your goal answer?,#What are 3 words to describe yourself?,#What are 5 words to describe yourself?,#How would you describe yourself in 5 sentences?,#What are your goals and aspirations?,#What is your career plan?,#How do you write a future plan?,#What are examples of goals?,#How do I write down my goals?,#How do I make a goal list?,#What are some good goals for 2020?,#What are your top 3 goals?,#What goals should I set for myself?
- I aim to discover some new talented writers in the coming years. Publishing a bestseller will help me establish my name as an editor in the publishing industry and gradually build a strong clientele of writers.
- My goal is to be the editor of some great writers. In a few years I can see myself presenting a best-selling series like Harry Potter.
Back your goals with an action plan
Preparing a list of goals is not a very convincing answer. Instead, focus on one or two main goals and briefly explain how you plan to achieve them or how they will benefit your career in the long run. This shows that you are thinking through these goals and are clear about what you want in the future.
For example, if your short-term goal is to learn a new programming language, how to achieve it (certification or auto-didactic learning) and how this improves your business performance (does it allow you to work on more projects? The company you’re working to take advantage of?).
To elaborate on this last sentence: Focus on the employer.
Yes, they ask about your career goals, but at the end of the day, they care more about their company’s interests. (Not shocking here.) So, when talking about your goals, be sure to express how beneficial your potential employer will also be to achieve them. Convince them that this will be a win-win situation.
- This year I’m trying to find the right time to enroll in a course for SAP FICO learning. It helps me provide more accurate reports as a financial analyst and help the company plan and track costs better.
- I aim to increase the quality of my reports and analyzes. I need to do some more research on exactly how I can do this, but for now, that is my goal.
Preparation and Practice.
No matter how much you think you have solved your future plans, it is still important to prepare for this question in advance. Think about some short-term and long-term goals and take time to implement your answer.
3+ Sample Answers to “What Are Your Career Goals”
If all these conversations confused you, here are 3 answer examples showing how to turn theory into practice.
“I’m going to graduate next year and I would like to immediately start working in the marketing department of a company like yours. In addition to expanding my knowledge and experience in marketing, I also hope to improve my communication and public speaking skills. I really want to be a proactive and valuable team member.”
Short term goal: To work in marketing after graduation.
Long-term goal: Become a proactive and committed team member.
Action plan: Gain more experience and knowledge of marketing and improve communication and public speaking skills.
“I know that knowing Python in a financial context is getting more and more useful, so I plan to learn this year. It will come in handy when solving portfolio optimization problems. As for long-term goals, I want to become a part-time professor at university Y. I taught some guest lectures there and really enjoyed it. Flexible hours are also very useful as they allow me to stay in another job. ”
Short-term goal and action plan: Learn Python in a financial context.
Long-term goal and action plan: Become a part-time professor at Y university.
“I am currently trying to improve my leadership skills so that I can lead larger game design teams. So far I have only had experience as a lead designer, but with a few years and a little more experience, I hope I can fully manage an entire project.”
Short term goal: Manage larger game design teams. Long term goal: Become a project manager.
Action plan: Improve leadership skills and gain more experience as a game design leader.
If you’re looking for sample answers to similar challenging interview questions, check out these over 35 Common Interview Questions and Answers.
4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Answering “What Are Your Career Goals”
After discussing what to do, let’s move on to the don’ts section.
People say “What are your career goals?” You can find the 4 most common mistakes he makes when replying here.
Answer with “I have no goals”
There isn’t much to elaborate on this one, just…. don’t.
Talk about salary
It’s okay if money is your motivator. Hell is the motivation for most people. You know, the interviewer knows this, BUT that’s not what they want to hear and that’s not what you have to say.
For example, if you are in the marketing industry and want to get to a point where your annual salary is $ 70,000. You should look at which positions in your industry are generating such gains and instead set them as your goal.
So instead of saying “My goal is to earn $ 70,000 in salary by the age of 30,” in the interview, “My goal is to become a content marketing director when I’m 30.”
Set unrealistic goals
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dream big. We fully support the understanding of reaching the stars.
But insisting that in 5 years you will be the CEO of the company you are applying to, when you graduate a month ago… this is not quite the same for the interviewer. You will come out insolently and that will definitely not get you out of the door.
Get into too many specifics
So, if your goal is to become a marketing manager for your dream company and not the position or company you are applying for, it’s best not to mention it.
Doing so lets the interviewer know that your eyes are at another company and that this position is temporary for you. Instead, you might say your goal is the head of a marketing department. No more details about who, where, what.
There are many other danger zones during interviews, so if you want to know about them here is a guide on the 26+ Biggest Interview Errors.
Wow, that was a lot to accept, right?
As you answer the “What are your career goals” interview question, here’s what you need to remember:
- Be relevant to the company. You have an advantage as a candidate if your goals match the needs of the company, or better still, the company benefits from them.
- Explain how. Give some steps you plan to follow to achieve your goals. This will show that they are well thought out and planned.
- Avoid talking money. Instead of talking about dollar bills, turn the salary into a real position. This is better for the interviewer.
When it comes to the topic, not all lists and tips make much sense unless you take the time to properly prepare and practice, so don’t skip that section.
And they are all on our side for this matter.