How to write your Career goal!

career goal

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Are you stuck in your career or unaware of the your career path? The starting point of career success and Career planning is to have a clear well defined goal or where your will want to be in the short term, medium and long term. Although the process of goal setting can be simple and beneficial it can be extremely difficult if you don’t know how. It is a simple process and a necessary step for people serious about their careers.

What is a career goal?

A career goal like any other goal is a written statement of aspirations of a desired future result. A career goal refers to the short, medium- and long-term goals of an individual or job seeker of the kind of job, industry or occupation to hold over a period. A career goal can be uncovered through knowing the features and processes in arriving at it.

What are the characteristics of a career goal?

The major feature of the career goal is that it is S.M.A.R.T which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Result oriented and Time bound.  In addition to being smart a career goal has other features such as being in the future and defined in time horizons.

1. Specific

Your career goal must be specific, stated for an intention to attain a certain height in terms of position or recognition in an industry. A career goal should give a specific definition of what success in career will mean to you. It should not be general but rather specific, for instance it should not be stated in terms like to be happy or to get to the top rather it should be specific like to be a Chief Executive Officer, International bestselling author or to be a top paid conference speaker.

2. Measurable

A career goal should be measurable such that when it’s achieved you can tell. For a career goal to qualify to be one it must have measurable metrics, for instance to become a middle level manager in five years’ time. With this kind of goal, it can be measured that in 5 years’ time you should be in middle level management.

3. Attainable

The career goal should not be setting you up for failure but rather something that progressively you can work towards. If you don’t have management experience for example you can’t easily walk your way up to top management in 3 years or even 5 years. A good place will be rather to start my setting manageable goals that you can progressively reach in the timeframe you set for yourself.


4. Realistic

Linked to a goal being attainable is that goals must be realistic. Do not set goals for things that are next to impossible to achieve. For instance, don’t set a goal to win the Oscars in 3 years when you have not featured in any movie. Goals should be realistic rather than setting yourself up for defeat.


5. Time-bound

the attainment for your career goal should not be open ended without any specific milestones or timeframe to reach your aspirations. Each career goal should have a time limit for its attainment. For instance to become the General Manager of BHK company in the next 5 years.


How can you develop your career goal?

1. Self-assessment

The starting point to develop your career goal starts with you and self-examination into your desires, expectations, values and passions. To discover your career goal, you will need to investigate the things that you love to do, are good at and the things that give you the most satisfaction. Some self-assessment questions to consider in selecting your career goal are the following:

  • What careers do I admire and why?
  • What and why do I want to see change in my society and which career path will lead me there?
  • What skills do I possess?
  • What experiences have I gained over the years?
  • What are my strengths?
  • In terms of career, what did your friends, family and teachers remark about your career choice?
  • Why do I want career x rather than any other career?
  • Am I willing to pay the price to reach the career I am aspiring for?

The video below explains how you can uncover your career goals and purpose

2. Expert advice

Another way of finding your career goal is to work with a Career Coach or Counsellor to help you consider all your options and guide you with a structured framework. In most schools there are career counsellors to help in this process. There is no shortage of Career Coaches to help you develop your career goal. Seek them out and their guidance and advice can be priceless.

3. Personality test

A means of determining your career goal is using personality tests administered online or through career coach. A personality test can be administered online or by a career coach. There are several personality frameworks that will point to your job/career suitability.

4. Asking friends, family and associates

Your friends, family and associates could also help you uncover your career choice. Afterall they have known you over the years and have insights into the kinds of things you are good at and strong with. Asking your friends and family questions around what they view as your passion, career strengths and advantages could help you discover your career path.

Writing your goal

Write out your career rather putting it mentally in your head. Your career goal should be part of your overall career plan, CV or resume. Write out your career goal clearly in a S.M.A.R.T format. Below are examples of well written career goals:

  1. To become a Human Rights Lawyer and Advocate in the next 5 years earning an Law Degree and completing Bar Exams.
  2. To become a Lead Graphic Designer in XYZ Company in the next 3 years. To achieve this, I will undertake a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Design and develop proficient skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and Acrobat. I will also improve in my organization skills and imbibe a problem-solving attitude.
  3. To become an Application Support Analyst that improves performance of an organization’s trading architecture. To achieve this, to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and gain expertise in Unix/Linux system administration, including troubleshooting techniques and scripting languages from internship and volunteer work.
  4. To advance from a sales representative position to a Sales Manager position in the next 7 years. To achieve this I will establish a track record of exceeding sales targets, undertake an MBA, and develop strong leadership, communication, interpersonal, and team work skills.
  5. To become a Clinical Research Manager in QRST in the next 8 years. to achieve this, I will pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, improve on my scientific writing and communication skills, develop proficiency in MS Office applications and spend at least 4 years in the clinical research position.
  6. To switch from clerk to Administrative Assistant position in Bunkuma Ltd in 3 years. To achieve this, I will develop strong communication and organizational skills, pay attention to details, improve on my team work and prioritization skills, learn to utilize Concur for coordinating travel arrangements, and develop advanced skills in Microsoft Office applications.
  7. To become an Associate Principle Scientist in the next 4 years. To achieve this, I will work for at least 4 years in the pharmaceutical research role, gain advanced and thorough scientific knowledge in pharmacology and disease mechanisms, and improve on my multi-tasking communication and interpersonal skills.
  8. To become an HR Coordinator in NMG in the next 7 years. To achieve this, I will become a certified HR practitioner, remain on the HR Operations role for at least 4 years, and get comprehensive knowledge of HRIS Systems and reporting capabilities, employment, and benefit laws.

Way forward

What next after developing your career goal? After you have developed you career goal then carry out career planning setting out your actions, strategies, performance measurement and feedback mechanisms. You can also download our career plan template and begin to develop you career plan.

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Nicholas Guribie
Nicholas Guribie

1 Comment

  • Kennedy 3 years ago

    Hi Mr. Nwinkum, thank you very much for your comprehensive explanation on how to design a career goals and how to attain them. I’m so glad to learn from you. With that being said, can I get the opportunity to get in touch with you? Below is my email address. . Thank you.

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