Recruiting Blog

How to Set Your Career Goals

How to Set Your Career Goals

goal-settingDid you know that the best person to manage your career is YOU?  Most people know this, but very few put those words into action.  This post will help you understand how you can drive your ultimate success just by setting the right career goals.

Once a person has committed to making a job change, the first step is to set specific goals. Trust applies to the individuals currently in the job market as well as individuals who are employed, but open to new opportunities.

Most individuals want to find a job that will provide them with personal satisfaction, competitive compensation, benefits and the opportunity for growth. It is important to be realistic about current qualifications, as well as the specific type of work you want to do. A self-appraisal process can help you fine-tune your career objectives.

Write out your answers for the following questions. These answers will also help you answer some of the more difficult interviewing questions you will be asked.

Personal Appraisal

1. Honestly describe the kind of person you are (e.g., a leader or follower, etc.). Write down a detailed description.

2. Write down how your friends would describe you.

3. What do you want to accomplish with your Life?

4. What role does your job play in your life?

5. What impact do you have on other people?

6. What are your accomplishments to elate? Are you satisfied with them?

7. What role does money play in your values?

8. Is your career the center of your life of just a part of it?

9. What are your main interests?

10. What do you enjoy most?

11. What displeases you most?


Job Appraisal

1. Start with your most recent employer and then work your way back to when you graduated. Describe in detail each job including your title, company responsibilities, salary, accomplishments, successes, failures, and your reason for leaving.

2. How would you change your job history?

3. In your career to date, what responsibilities have you enjoyed most? Why?

4. What kind of job do you think would be a perfect match for your talents and interests?

5. What responsibilities do you want to avoid?

6. How prepared are you for that type of responsibility?

7. If you want to advance in your career, are you prepared to pay the price? Longer hours? More pressure?

8. What have your superiors thought about you as an employee?

9. Can your work make you happier? Should it?

10. If you have been fired from any job, what was the reason?

11. What have you done to improve your weaknesses?

12. How long do you want to work before retirement?


Your answers to these highly personal questions should help you to see more clearly who you are, what you want, what your top talents are and what you realistically have to offer.  They should also reveal what you don’t want and what you can’t do.  It’s important to evaluate any objective you’re considering in light of your answers to these questions.

There is one more exercise I would suggest you complete. There is an 80/20 Rule for you to use.  Eighty percent of what you achieve is the result of 20% of your effort.  If your goals are to improve the quality of your life and the level of job you accept, figure out your best talents. What is the 20% of your actions that provides you with the 80% of your results?

Your goal should be to spend the majority of your time using those top talents. These are also the talents you want to market to a future employer.

The 80/20 Rule also works in your job search. Eighty percent of the results you achieve are directly connected to 20% of what you are currently doing as you search for a job.  Determine what the most effective use of your time is. If you do more of the 20%, you will enjoy better results in your search, and will obviously book more interviews for yourself.

Take time to list your top talents (the 20% that gives you 80% of your results).


Were you surprised at any of the talents you have?  Some people often forget the skills that make them great employees.  Reveal your potential and hone in on what makes you stand out and you’ll be on your way to reaching your career goals.

Have you ever done any of these exercises?  Do you have a talent that your colleagues think you’re best known for?  Comment and give us some input on how you set your career goals.

Ingrid Moore

Ingrid Moore is the Founder and CEO of Corporate Resources of Illinois, an employment & staffing agency with over 20+years’ experience located in Schaumburg, IL. Ingrid and her team assist employers with finding the right hire for their business. For more info, follow us on our LinkedIn Company Page, or follow us Corporate Resources of Illinois‘s Google+ page.

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