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  • Post last modified:February 1, 2023

During a job interview, you may be asked a question about your career goals. It’s not always easy to answer, especially if you haven’t prepared these answers in advance. 

After all, it’s important to tailor your expectations to the targeted role. Otherwise, you’ll be seen as if you are contradicting yourself.

In some cases, you can even mention your career expectations in your resume. For example, new grads and career changers will especially benefit if they succeed in connecting their current skills with career ambitions.

In this post, we have covered all about developing career goals. 

If you need help with defining your goals and including this information in your resume, you can either follow the advice below or address professionals. If you choose the latter option, there are many professional resumes. Check topresume reviews here to find the best company and then reach out to them. The quality of the services provided really impacts your chances of landing a dream job.

What Is a Career Goal?

Let’s talk more about the definition of career goals. What are these goals, and why are they so important that interviewers wonder about them? 

A career goal is basically a statement that defines the job you aspire to have and your expectations for your professional future.

It must be realistic, something you believe you can really achieve. If you don’t set it clearly, it’s hard to build an action plan toward this attainable goal. Of course, no one is saying that you shouldn’t be ambitious; however, you need to know the limits. It is crucial to avoid common career mistakes of not having clear career goal, progression planning and network reach out. 

How You Can Develop These Goals

You must know what you expect from your career in the future; however, it can be tough sometimes to word them properly. 

In any case, if you feel that it’s hard for you to define what career ambition you want to achieve, you can try doing the following:

Explore your choices

If you feel like the pool is so big that it’s hard to make a choice, start by discovering your options. 

Sometimes, when you take a closer look at what you have at first considered a perfect option, it might not look that great.

Therefore, do your research and thoroughly check every career path you see as the best fit for you. 

You might find surprising details that will eventually cut your options by half. Then, based on the range of paths you have, try answering a few of the questions below:

  • What skills and interests are required?
  • What makes this occupation so inspiring to me?
  • What career development and professional opportunities will I get?
  • What are the standard requirements for successful candidates?
  • What is the typical salary?
  • Is work-life balance well-preserved?

Again, these questions will help you cut a few options from your list.

Compare the available options

If you managed to build a list of several options, now is the time to check them. 

Ensure that every job you picked up feels right for you. Compare these options and see if you really feel interested in growing within this field.

Do not feel pressured to choose an option just because it pays higher. 

On the contrary, build your goals and expectations purely on what you want to achieve in your professional life. 

At this point, you must have at least some clarity in what direction you really expect to move.

Define your short-term goals

Having this clarity will let you plan for a short time. Try to figure out what your short-term actions are. Yet, for now, you are not required to plan five years ahead.

For example, determine a few areas where you’d want to see your professional and personal growth and formulate one goal for each of them. Check the sample below:

  • Education: Graduate from XYZ University with honors
  • Learning: Finish programming courses and finally get certified in Python
  • Skills Development: Advance conversational Spanish and start a new language
  • Moving: Consider moving to one of the many US cities attractive to the younger population, as they’re more likely to have gainful employment. 
  • Professional Membership: Enter a professional association to strengthen networking and communication

Establish your long-term objectives

Long-term objectives should stem from your ability to accomplish short-term ones. It’s not that they are very much connected. 

Short-term goals define your immediate future, the one you can project. 

Long-term ones, however, should include these achievements and allow you to plan further.

For every career scenario you have in your head, define the following:

  • Skills to acquire: Think of technical and soft skills that you don’t have, but that might be useful in your career
  • Experience to gain: Determine what experience would make you stand out from the crowd
  • Professional development: Can you professionally grow in five or ten years? Are you ambitious enough to claim C-level or Board roles?
  • Length of employment: How many years are you willing to spend in this role? What will make you retire or change jobs?

Make sure you are flexible and adaptable in your goals

You are not required to stick to the plan 100%. The world is changing rapidly. You need to have a plan, but you are actually required to make some changes. It’s critical to remain realistic and ensure that the goals are still attainable or relevant.

Set your calendar notifications to remind you that you need to review your planning for the next five-ten years every year or two. It’s also a good opportunity for self-reflection, so don’t be lazy.


Hopefully, the algorithm described above will help you get a better understanding of your career ambitions and career goals. Also, if written down, this plan will keep you track of your progress and stay motivated.

However, do not feel obliged to follow the goals if that plan no longer fits the situation. Let yourself adjust your career goals and be happy building a successful path for yourself.