How to Set and Achieve Career Goals?

Career Goals

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? This is one of the most commonly asked interview question. You must have prepared an appropriate answer many times before appearing for an interview, but must have altered the answer as per the requirement of the job role. Now, there is nothing wrong in doing so but it is important to set long-term career goals for yourself, which you may or may not share about during job interviews.

Identifying what you want to achieve and setting career goals accordingly will help you take the correct measures to move your career in the direction of your choice. In this article, we will discuss everything related to setting and achieving career goals. Read on.


Setting and Achieving Career Goals



What is a Career Goal?

A career goal is a definite statement that elucidates what profession you want to pursue throughout your career and what position you want to acquire over time. Clearly defining your career goal is important so that you can build an effective action plan to achieve them.


Why it is Important to Define Career Goals?

Here is why defining and setting career goals is important:

Defining and setting career goals is the best way to plan your professional journey. It will help you define the direction in which you want to head in your life. Additionally, you will be able to focus your energy on more meaningful career opportunities.

Setting career goals motivate you to push forward and become more productive. Creating realistic career goals will help you to constantly work towards achieving your career objectives while seeing yourself being one step closer to your ideal profession/position/career.

Defining career goals with a proper timeline helps you to build an action plan. This action plan will help to hold you accountable by instilling a sense of responsibility when you are trying to get things done with the mindset of meeting the deadlines.

Also Read: 7 Ways to Stay Motivated at Work


How to Answer the Interview Question Regarding your Career Goals?

Here are some quick steps to answering the interview question “What are your career goals?”. Follow these tips to prepare an answer that will leave the interviewer impressed.


Tip #1: Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals

Tip #2: Study the job description carefully and figure out how you can effectively communicate your career goals to the hiring manager while staying relevant to the job role.

Tip #3: The description of your career goals when you introduce them first to the hiring manager should be clear and concise. You need to phrase your career goals in a manner that people such as hiring managers can understand and relate with your aspirations.

Tip #4: Many times hiring manager wants to probe further into understanding their candidates’ aspirations by asking further questions on the matter. So, be prepared to elaborate on how you plan to work towards accomplishing your career goals.


How to Set Your Career Goals?

As per the first tip in the previous section, your career goals should be SMART. A popular acronym, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. It is also a smart way to set your career goal. Here is how to go about it:


Specific: While deciding your career goals, aim for specific, concrete areas. Instead of stating that you will achieve a certain goal by a certain year, segregate your aspiration into concrete steps as to how you achieve it.

Measurable: Ensure that your career goals are measurable by asking yourself how you will determine that the goal is accomplished.

Attainable: While it is important to challenge yourself as a professional, ensure that your career goals are also realistic given your current situation. You will know if your career goals are attainable once you define the steps to achieve them clearly with proper timelines.

Relevant: To be relevant, your career goals should make sense within the context of other events. For example, if you want to pursue further education to better your career prospects, you will have to consider different factors such as the college fee, your current financial obligations, lifestyle, etc.

Time-Bound: Lastly, your career goals should be time bound so that they are clearer and give you a sense of urgency.


How to Achieve Your Career Goals?

Here are some quick and effective tips for achieving your SMART career goals:

Do not underestimate the power of planning. Make a well thought out plan to give a structure and direction to your career goals. In simpler terms, break your career goals into smaller actionable steps to stay on the right track.

Stay persistent and work hard to make what is good, even better. There is no substitute for hard work and no better strategy than being patient when you are working hard to achieve something.

Take feedback and criticism seriously. This does not mean that you should accept any criticism that comes your way. You know better how to differentiate between constructive feedback and the feedback that is not genuine.

There is a popular saying, which says ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.’ Your career goals should be linked to your passion. When you love what you do, you will naturally feel inspired to do better and your chances of achieving success will be higher.

Be informed about what new and happening in your field of work. Network with people in your industry, join groups and attend events that will help you stay updated.

Setting goals do not mean that you should just keep working until you achieve them. Work hard but do not forget to relax and unwind from time to time. Reward yourself by celebrating small milestones and spend some time with your family and friends. This will help you maintain a positive mindset.

Also Read: How You Can Accelerate Your Career Progression?


Image Source: Tiko Aramyan /


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Categories: Career Advice

About Megha Raizada

Megha Raizada is a professional writer with a keen interest in the global job market. She loves to keep a track of everything interesting happening around the globe. When not writing or browsing the Internet, you will find her creating furniture out of used tires.

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