Defining your career goals is highly important, but it's also imperative that you understand how to write them down. Why? Firstly, writing them down gives you a clear foundation to work from. You can constantly refer back to your written goals over time to track your progress and re-confirm your ambitions.
Secondly, you might consider writing your career goals down down on a CV or covering letter when applying for a job. Many employers are interested in the personal trajectory prospective employees see for themselves. It can be a great way to set yourself apart from the crowd to write it down as a part of your application.
But where do you begin?
Think carefully about the job you're applying for, or the ideal job that you would want. What is it about that job that speaks to your skills, and what you want to achieve in life? For example, keywords might be strong communication, detail-oriented, or learning new skills. When you've identified certain elements of the job you want, it's easier to collate them into a few short sentences describing what you want to achieve, and how that position is going to allow you to do that.
For example - "My communication skills lead me to feel ideally suited to a role in customer service. I'm ideally looking for a position with a vibrant, growing company which will allow me to learn new skills and offer opportunities for growth over time."
An employer is always going to place great value on a candidate who knows where they want to be and how they're going to get there. Think about your goals and ambitions, and determine the time-scale when you want to achieve those goals. This tells your potential employer that you're someone who is motivated. It also offers reassurance that you intend to stay in a given position to make you a wise personal investment. Most businesses want to avoid high employee turnover, so it makes sense to affirm you intend to offer your employer loyal service in exchange for the opportunity to progress your career.
For example - "Seeking a customer service position with the hope within five years to attain the skills and experience necessary to reach the level of customer service manager. Any and all opportunities for professional development will be capitalised on to achieve this aim."
Aside from general career goals, it also makes sense to add in specific objectives that you hope to achieve. This will allow you to keep a firm track of your path to your preferred career. It'll also show any employers that you are someone who considers the details and is capable of creating solutions to achieve the desired outcome. Both of these are very desirable traits in the mind of any employer. Your objectives should be listed in order of chronology, and should all be comfortably attainable and realistic.
For example - "Part-time daycare work is the ideal way for me to get hands-on experience, to supplement what I'm learning as a part of my childcare course at (Your University). It's my goal to begin teaching pre-school children on the completion of my degree."
Understanding how to properly write down your career goals is actually an essential step towards achieving them. If you're able to write down your goals in a few simple sentences, that means your vision is clear enough to make them a reality. The secret to achieving your goals is keeping them as simple as possible and always understanding what the next step on your journey is.
Download our SMART goals template for Word and Google Docs to set your goals quickly and effectively!
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