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What are your career goals?

Unrealistic goals and expectations are never a good thing, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid setting goals altogether. Resolutions and goals are fantastic ways to get yourself motivated to achieve your dreams, and there’s no better time than now. After all, if you don’t make changes, nothing changes, right?

This is especially true for job seekers. It’s always a good time to start planning and achieving your goals. In doing so, you’ll also prepare yourself for the common “What are your career goals?” job-interview question because you’ll actually have goals established!

With the right preparation, you can greatly increase your likelihood of achieving your resolutions. The first and most important step in this process is to define your career goals.

What is a career goal, and why it so important to define it?

A career goal is a specific statement that explains what profession you want to pursue throughout your career. It is critical to clearly define your career goal so you can develop an effective action plan.

To build an effective career goal and establish an effective answer to “What are your career goals?”, start with your long-term vision. In other words, where do you ultimately want to end up in five, 10, or even 15 years from now? If you’re unsure of your long-term career goals, give these exercises a try.

For example, you may realize that you want to combine your passion for cutting-edge technology with your desire to take on a senior leadership role that involves strategic planning and has a significant impact on an organization’s profit and loss. As a result, you may determine your long-term career goal to be the Chief Operating Officer for an innovative hi-tech company.

Knowing your ultimate goal allows you to clarify your short-term goals. When defining your short- and long-term career goals, remember that they  should be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-oriented
  • Realistic with Timelines