What Are Personal Career Goals?

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Your future job will likely depend, at least in part, on the career goals you set for yourself. Personal career goals help you decide where you want to take your career and in which type of environment you want to work. They cover a variety of areas of work life, and, together, they make deciding on a job and a career path easier.


Your goals for your career should begin broad, and then you can write smaller goals to help you reach the larger ones. They should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound (meaning that you give yourself a deadline to complete them). Your broader career goal should focus on the next three to five years. For example, a broad goal could be, “I want to become a manager of a retail store within five years.” To break that goal down into more manageable pieces, you could say, “I want to become shift leader at my current store within one year.”


What type of career you choose is affected by what motivates you to want to work. Setting a personal career goal of making at least $50,000 in your first year out of college will eliminate many careers, such as social work, from your consideration. If you want a job that allows you to have more flexible hours, you might consider owning your own business.

Work Environment

A personal career goal of wanting to work with a group of talented individuals on a regular basis may lead you to a career goal of working with a particular company known for its talented staff. You are likely, then, to spend time trying to get a job with that company.


If you want to eventually become an executive of a company, your career path will lead you to take certain steps to accomplish that goal. You may turn down an offer from a company with the same job description but more money in an effort to get an upward promotion. You can do this by sticking with your current company for a while longer. If you want to become a teacher, you may spend time volunteering as a tutor to get to know people in the district who can help you someday land a teaching position. Your career ambitions will, in part, dictate what jobs you take and where you work.


About the Author

Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.