Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

How to Assess Your Career Goals

One of the most asked and popular interview questions used by employers is, “Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?” When they ask this question, they’re not asking you about where you see yourself personally, but if your career goals are aligned with what they want out of a job seeker. As a job seeker, and really just for yourself, you should have an idea of where you want to be. It’s a difficult image to visualize for some, but if you don’t have a long-term goal then it will be very difficult for you to assess any of your career goals.

Setting goals is one of the most successful ways to work towards something you want. If you have a large, long-term goal, setting a series of smaller, short-term goals will help you get to where you want to be that much faster and easier. Setting goals forces us to work towards something for a reason and is one of the best motivators we can employ. In terms of setting career goals, it can be really difficult trying to figure out where you want to be and what you want to do. If you are happy where you are, you need to see what you can do to push yourself further. If you are in the process of changing careers, or figuring out what you want to do, then finding and setting these goals is more difficult.

If you are completely unsure of where you see yourself and your career in the next five or ten years, then you need to take some time for yourself to sit down and think. However, thinking isn’t enough. You need to start writing some things down. It’s easy to sit down and reminisce or just think about what you want to do, but writing it down makes it more concrete and real. Take some time and think about what really interests you and what gets you going. What do you enjoy doing? Do the skills you possess match up with your interests? It sounds a bit cliche, but if you sit down and try to think about these things and feel like your staring off into space coming up with nothing, then maybe it’s a good idea to take a couple assessments to clearly layout what interests you. They may be annoying or you may have already taken one in the past, but do it again and see what comes up.

Once you have a firm, or better, understanding of where your interests are you should start thinking about what kind of occupations align with these skills. It’s pretty much a given that if you are interested in a certain field or type of work and have the skills to work in that occupation, then you will be happy and love your job. On top of that, it will be much easier for you to find a job and get hired since you have a clear understanding of what you want to do and know that you are qualified to do the job. This desired position, however, doesn’t have to be for right now. If your desired occupation is years away, then now it’s time for you to start setting small goals to take you there.

How can you reach this goal? What plans can you make to reach it? If you have to go back to school in order to reach this goal, or are currently taking classes, then figure out what classes you need to take to obtain those needed skills. If you have to go back to school, what goals must you set financially for you to be able to do this? If you are currently in a position already and want to move up in order to make steps towards your long-term career goal, then set goals that will help you do that. What do you have to do in order to get promoted? What can you do in the company to get noticed and to climb the ladder to get to where you want to be?

These are all questions you will have to answer before you can plunge head first into the water. Sit down with yourself and answer these questions. As stated earlier, don’t just think about these things. Write them down. Then you can revisit them when you are feeling lost or full of doubt. Assessing your career goals isn’t always an easy task, but in order to get to where you want to be it’s almost necessary. Start doing it today and assess your career goals. It can only help you in the end.

: Job Diagnosis
IMAGE: Courtesy of Butterfly Girls

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter