6 Ways to Answer “What Are Your Career Aspirations?”

In response to the interviewer’s question, “What are your career goals?” You may be thinking, I should earn more money! Despite the fact that this seems like an obvious response, we must take this question seriously. The interviewer wishes to learn more about you.

We will discuss what is required to answer this interview question effectively and how you can create your own impactful response.

Let’s get started immediately.

Aspirations From Which to Choose

Having goals as part of your career strategy is essential. But what if you do not know which types of aspirations are appropriate to express? Obviously, you cannot state that you hope to one day own the company. So, what options do you have?

Here are some aspirations that you can incorporate into your response to this interview question.

  • Being exposed to team management.
  • Being exposed to new business divisions.
  • Possibility of acquiring new skill sets applicable to future career opportunities.
  • Being able to participate more directly in the company’s operations.
  • Possessing a stronger track record of producing results.

You can make your goals more ambitious if you so choose. For instance, aspiring to one day start your own business is not a bad goal. However, be sure to indicate the timeline for that. For instance, you should not tell a prospective employer that you plan to start a business next year.
In order to avoid giving your employer the impression that you’re not committed to the work you’ll be performing, provide longer deadlines for your more ambitious goals.

What are a few examples of career objectives?

It is significant to have long-term career goals. And aspirations are also significant but slightly distinct. Aspiration may be something you wish to accomplish. In contrast, a career objective should be a bit more tactical in nature. Meaning, feasible in the near future.

One example of a career objective:

  • Expecting to acquire a new skill within the coming year.
  • Intent on utilizing existing skills in the coming year.
  • In the coming year, you anticipate achieving results that contribute to the expansion of your expertise in your job function.

What kind of interview inquiry is this?

When an interviewer asks a hypothetical question such as this, he or she is assessing your ability to formulate a plan for yourself. When interviewers learn that you have a plan for yourself, they can have greater confidence that you’ve carefully considered your decision to work for them.

If possible, try to incorporate the employer into your goals. For instance, it is commendable to aspire to work for a highly collaborative company. Indicate to the interviewer why you are currently conducting an interview with them.

Is This the Same as Career Objectives?

Another frequently asked interview question is, “What are your long-term career goals?” It is essential to acknowledge that this is a different interview question.

A career objective is more concerned with the path you intend to pursue as part of your career trajectory. While aspirations could be aligned hopes and dreams with a future vision.

Alternately stated, career objectives are a five-year outlook. Then, aspirations consist of a 10- to 20-year outlook.

Five Exemplary Responses To “What Are Your Career Objectives?”

Here are some sample answers to help you formulate a format for selecting your career goals and constructing an appropriate response for the interviewer.

Example 1

“When I consider my career goals, I envision a timeframe perhaps ten years from now. I have more tactical long-term career goals for the next five years, but I also have longer-term goals. Idealistically, I would like to be exposed to a diverse set of skills that teach me how to manage enterprise businesses. I hope to have gained a deeper understanding of operations, marketing, and sales. And hope to have participated in environments that fostered my professional and personal growth. This company aligns with my professional career path.”

Example 2

“When I consider my career goals, I consider what could occur in the next decade. I aspire to be able to run my own business by the end of ninth grade. Having had greater exposure to my current skills. And then being meaningfully exposed to new skills. I could also see myself being able to manage a small team within a larger organization, rather than starting my own business. I’d love to remain with a company for an extended period of time.”

Example 3

With the marketing and public relations skills that I currently possess, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of product development and customer interactions. I believe this will produce a type of employee that is in high demand and in high demand. A person with a diverse set of skills who can help companies advance strategically. This is the type of expert I aspire to become. I would like to remain with a company for an extended period of time to gain as much knowledge as possible.”

Example 4

“My professional goal is to become a high-level executive someday. And I intend to accomplish this within the next 5 to 8 years. To achieve this objective, I must start small. Internalize the knowledge. And this employment opportunity will help me gain the relevant experience I need to achieve my career goals.”

Example 5 

“Would love to work in a hospital environment with patients. Over the next five to eight years, I anticipate acquiring administrative skills that are aligned with the patient experience. Then applying those skills to administrative duties in the future. Either managing nurses or managing the hospital’s daily operations.”

Why an interviewer may ask about your employment history

An interviewer might ask about your career to learn who you are. And your aspirations for growth. They may pose the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Or something similar to “Where do you want to be in five years?”

The objective is to ensure that the position, the candidate, and the employer are all compatible. Employers desire to invest their time and resources in ambitious candidates.

In terms of the company’s work capacity, expansion may result in increased effort. In exchange, the employee can pursue their professional long-term objectives. And gain valuable experience and skills. Many people do not view this question as an opportunity to align candidate and interviewer interests.

Prepare a powerful response: Sit down and consider your personal career aspirations as a candidate prior to providing an answer. Or even before interviewing. Why interview if your professional career goals do not align with the job opportunity? Recognize your individual career path. And ensure that the job for which you are interviewing aligns with this trajectory.

What should I include in my resume’s career objectives section?

Here are some things to consider before writing:

  • Think about your long-term goals. Before writing your response, take a moment to consider your professional goals.
  • Justify how this position will help you achieve your goals.
  • Avoid including excessive details.

Athina Iliadis is a Human Resources Professional with over 25 years’ experience in corporate environments working for companies such as Pearson, LexisNexis, Hershey, and Reckitt. In her current role as a consultant working with clients around the world, she coaches managers and employees on HR issues, supports leaders in their business, produces content about careers, interviews, and job opportunities. She is fluent in English, French and Greek, and she holds a BBA with a major in HR from Université du Québec à Montréal. Find her on LinkedIn and at athinailiadis.com

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