How To Write A Career Goal Statement? (With Additional Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As you advance in your career, you can set career goals for tracking your progress. Using a career goal statement, you can summarise your objectives and highlight how you plan to achieve them. By doing this, you might be better able to articulate your goals to potential employers. In this article, we discuss how to write a career goal statement along with its definition, learn its benefits and suggest some tips to help you write your own.

How to write a career goal statement

Before reviewing the steps on how to write a career goal statement, it is imperative that you understand its definition and why it is important for you to set one. A career goal statement is a written declaration of your professional objectives and steps you may take to accomplish them. These goals may include completing daily tasks at work, taking a certification course or mentoring your juniors. Including this statement in your resume or cover letter can help employers understand your career path. Here are six steps you can follow to write your career objective statement:

1. Define your career objectives

A well-defined career goal at the beginning of your statement can be an effective way to convey your goals to potential employers. When setting your goal, consider the steps you can take to achieve it. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What values would you like to embody in your career?

  • What is your idea of success at the workplace?

  • What are your financial goals?

  • What is your idea of an ideal work environment?

  • What are the additional degrees that you can consider taking to be proficient in your field?

  • What is your idea of work-life balance?

  • Are you interested in taking up leadership roles?

  • What are some of your strengths that you can incorporate into your work?

  • Do you wish to start your own company in the future?

  • Would you like to undertake more challenging roles in your workplace?

Once you decide on your long-term goals, you can add them in the first sentence of your goal statement. When describing your statement, ensure to keep it clear and concise. You can then expand upon it at a later stage.

Related: How To Set And Achieve Long-Term Goals (With Examples)

2. Outline steps to accomplish these goals

After defining your career objectives, outline a series of steps that you would take to accomplish them. Conduct further research on certain aspects, such as educational requirements, compensation, work environment, roles and responsibilities and scope for research and development. Through this, you gain a clearer understanding of what is essential to achieving your career goals. This helps you set short-term goals that can lead to long-term success in your chosen field.

You can use the SMART goal system for both your short- and long-term goals. The SMART method focuses on being specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. By using this technique, you can specify a goal, identity the measures, determine if it is achievable, establish whether the goal is relevant and beneficial to your career and track your progress within a specific timeline. SMART goals are:

  • Specific: Establish clear objectives to achieve the goals.

  • Measurable: Set realistic goals and determine how to measure them. Use specific and quantifiable units of measurement.

  • Attainable: Identify your goals and determine how you can achieve them within the time and resources you have.

  • Relevant: Think about how your career goals relate to your personal goals and interests.

  • Time-bound: Make sure your goal statement is time-bound so that you stay focused and motivated during the process.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition And Examples

3. Identify resources you can use

Upon defining your career objectives and listing the steps for accomplishing them, identify resources that can assist you in fulfilling your goals. You might list your resources in your career objective statement to show employers that you have attainable and realistic goals. It also shows that you have done thorough research to identify your resources.

You can mention networks you are a part of, such as your college alumni, an institute or an online community. It may also benefit to list mentors, colleagues, professional networks, friends or family whose guidance you seek. You may find it beneficial to network with industry experts and other professionals in your field who can provide you with valuable information and guidance.

Related: Steps Involved In A Successful Career Planning Process

4. Have a tentative timeline

When writing this statement, it is essential to prepare a timeline on when you intend to accomplish your short-term and long-term goals. Doing so helps you evaluate your progress and keeps you motivated. Include milestones you intend to achieve along with an approximate timeline for attaining them. Examples of some milestones are:

  • completing a certified course

  • receiving a raise

  • getting a promotion

  • pursuing a higher degree

  • completing an internship

You can also add achievements to your statement to show the progress you have made. Consider listing them briefly in your timeline section before proceeding with your future goals.

5. Share your statement

Have someone you trust provide honest advice on your first draft of your statement. Ask your mentor, colleagues, friends or family to review your statement, help you plan your schedule, check on your progress and give you honest feedback. You can incorporate the feedback and make necessary changes. You can also seek their support when you feel overwhelmed or have difficulty focusing.

Add your career goal statement as part of your social media bio or in the biography section of your website or portfolio. When you are sending a job application along with your resume and cover letter, it may be beneficial to include the statement in your email's body. By writing your statement and sharing them with others, you feel accountable to achieve them.

Related: How To Write An Action Plan (With Template And Example)

6. Review it regularly

Be sure to review your objectives regularly to evaluate your progress and make any necessary changes. This is a very essential part because objectives may change and develop as you progress through your career. When you have accomplished a milestone, you can mark it as completed to acknowledge your achievement and motivate you to work harder.

It is acceptable to change your original plan, resources and timeline if they do not align with your current priorities or if it is challenging for you to work on them. By keeping an open mind, you may discover new professional opportunities that align with your current goals, aiding in your career advancement.

Importance of writing a career goal statement

Here are a few reasons a career objective statement is important:

  • Makes you accountable: By writing your goals down, you can feel accountable to achieve them.

  • Provides a direction: When you write your career objective statement, you get a long-term view of what you want to achieve in the next few years.

  • Keeps you motivated: By outlining your career goals and tracking your progress every day, you can remain motivated.

Tips to write a career goal statement

Your career goal statement may benefit from certain structural and stylistic elements. Here are some tips to help you:

Reflect on your choices

Making a list of questions pertaining to your career goals can be a good starting point. Include questions on its importance, feasibility, timeline and purpose. A mentor can also help you clarify your objectives, provide constructive feedback and address concerns you may have. Maintain a journal or a career goals worksheet in which you write your short-term and long-term goals and outline the steps you would take to achieve them along with any challenges you may encounter along the way.

Use powerful language

To make a strong career goal statement, use a clear and confident tone. Replace phrases such as "I would like to" or "I hope to" with "I intend to" or "I plan to". You can do this to show a strong sense of self-confidence and commitment to your goals.

Review examples

While the basic structure of career goal statements is standard, how people write them varies. You can benefit from looking at examples of statements, particularly those written by professionals in your field. In addition, you can network with professionals like hiring managers to understand what they are looking for, which helps you create an effective statement.

Examples of career goal statements

Below are some examples you can follow to help you write your own statement:

Example 1

In the next two years, I want to start a company that offers writing services. To achieve this, I intend to do extensive research, learn financial management and budgeting and connect with professionals who started similar businesses.

Example 2

My career goal is to lead a team of junior developers, oversee their activities and provide them with valuable feedback throughout the project life-cycle. To do this, I plan on revising my technical knowledge, completing a certification in software development and attending a project management workshop.

Example 3

In the next three years, I plan to transition from a scriptwriter to a filmmaker. To achieve this, I intend on enrolling in a film school, attending screenings, creating my short film and network with other professionals in the film industry.

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