50 Inspiring Examples of Career Goal Statements

By Editorial Team on February 7, 2024 — 12 minutes to read

A career goal statement is a clear and concise description of your professional aspirations: it outlines what you aim to achieve in your career path, providing direction and serving as a guide for your professional decisions. Crafting this statement requires self-reflection to identify what truly matters to you in your career.

Think of your career goal statement as a compass. It helps you navigate through opportunities and choices, aligning them with your long-term objectives. A well-defined goal statement includes specific job titles or roles, industry preferences, skills you want to acquire or use, and the values that matter to you in a work environment.

For example, your statement might be, “I aim to become a Senior Software Developer at a tech company that values innovation, in the next five years.” This statement is direct, time-bound, and reflects personal and professional values.

When writing your own career goal statement, start by asking yourself some questions:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • Where do I see myself in five, ten, or fifteen years?
  • What skills do I need to develop to reach my goals?

Your statement can evolve as your career advances and your goals change. Remember, it’s a living document meant to grow along with you. Keep it precise, make it inspiring for yourself, and let it reflect who you are and who you want to become professionally. By doing so, you’ll create a powerful tool to steer your career decisions and help achieve your ambitions.

Components of a Strong Career Goal Statement

A strong career goal statement effectively communicates where you see yourself in the future and how you plan to get there. The keys to crafting this include clarity in your aspirations and how your current path aligns with your long-term objectives.

Clarity and Specificity

Your career goal statement should clearly articulate the position you’re aiming for and the steps you plan to take to achieve it. For example, instead of saying “I want to grow in the tech industry,” specify “My goal is to become a Senior Software Engineer at a renowned tech firm within the next five years by honing my skills in mobile applications development and leadership.”

Alignment with Career Objectives

Ensure that your statement aligns with your broader career objectives. For instance, if you’re determined to enter the field of environmental sustainability, your goal statement could specify, “I will secure a role as a Sustainability Project Manager by gaining expertise in renewable energy solutions and contributing to conservation projects.”

Brevity and Conciseness

Keep your statement concise; it shouldn’t be longer than a short paragraph. A crisp, well-worded statement would look like, “Within three years, I aim to advance to a Lead Graphic Designer position by consistently delivering innovative designs and taking on more strategic projects.”

Personal Motivation

Include a sentence about what drives you towards this goal, which gives a personal touch to your career goal statement. You might say, “I am committed to becoming an industry-recognized financial analyst by developing cutting-edge quantitative models, fueled by my passion for data-driven decision making.”

The Purpose of Career Goal Statements

A career goal statement helps you and others understand where you’re aiming in your professional life. It serves as both a guide and a benchmark for your career progression.

Professional Development

Your career goal statement is a powerful tool for professional development. It’s a declaration of your ambitions, which often falls into specific categories like acquiring new skills, achieving certifications, or reaching a new position. For example, you might aim to become a certified project manager within the next two years, highlighting the steps and skills you’ll need to get there.

Job Search Focus

When you’re on the job hunt, having a career goal statement gives you a lens to evaluate potential job opportunities. Imagine you’re an engineer seeking roles in renewable energy projects; your career goal statement would specify this preference, allowing you to target your job search and tailor your applications to match your aspirations.

Performance Management

During performance evaluations, your career goal statement offers a clear outline of what success looks like for you. It can act as a communication tool between you and your supervisor, ensuring that you’re both aligned on your targets. If your goal is to lead a team, your performance metrics might include leadership training and successful project outcomes.

Personal Reflection and Growth

Your career statement doubles as a checkpoint for personal reflection and growth. By setting specific goals like enhancing your public speaking skills or learning a new programming language, you create a framework for personal progress, tying these improvements back to your broader career objectives.

Writing Your Career Goal Statement

A career goal statement is a clear and concise description of your professional aspirations. It’s important to chart a course for your career by setting strategic goals and outlining the steps you plan to take to achieve them.


Start by evaluating your interests, strengths, weaknesses, and values. This step helps you align your career trajectory with your personal attributes and ambitions.

  • If you enjoy creative problem-solving, you might aim for a role in strategic development.
  • Someone with a natural talent for communication might target a career in public relations.

Research and Exploration

Learn about the industries and positions that align with your interests and skills. Find out what qualifications you may need and what career advancement may look like in those roles.

  • Researching the field of data science might show you the importance of skills like programming and data analysis.
  • Exploring the healthcare industry could lead you to consider roles ranging from a health administrator to a nurse practitioner.

Articulating Your Goals

Clearly state your short-term and long-term career objectives. Make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

  • Short-term goal: Completing a professional certification in digital marketing within the next year.
  • Long-term goal: Becoming a chief marketing officer at a technology company within the next ten years.

Revising and Refining

Your career goals are not set in stone. Periodically review and adjust them to reflect your growing skills, changes in the industry, and personal life changes.

  • Revising your goal to include leadership skills if you’re aiming for management positions.
  • Refining your goals to focus more on work-life balance if personal circumstances change.

Examples of Career Goal Statements

When crafting your career goal statement, be specific and align your goals with your desired career path. This section will provide examples for different career stages to guide you.

For Recent Graduates

As a recent graduate, your goal statement should reflect your eagerness to apply your education in a practical setting and grow professionally. For example:

  • “My goal is to secure a role as a software developer at a forward-thinking tech company where I can contribute to innovative projects and hone my coding skills in real-world applications.”

For Mid-Career Professionals

For you in mid-career, a statement should focus on advancing your current skills and taking on larger responsibilities. For instance:

  • “I aim to elevate my expertise in digital marketing to become a marketing manager, where I can lead strategic campaigns and impact the company’s growth directly.”

For Career Changers

As someone looking to change careers, your statement needs to leverage your transferable skills and express your commitment to the new field. Consider this example:

  • “I intend to transition into the field of data analysis, leveraging my extensive background in market research to deliver actionable insights and drive decision-making processes.”

For Executive-Level Positions

Your executive career goal statement needs to showcase your vision for leadership and your ability to steer the company to new heights. An example could be:

  • “I am determined to apply my 15 years of managerial experience to a Chief Operations Officer role, focusing on optimizing company-wide operations to boost profitability and efficiency.”

50 Examples of Career Goal Statements

  • 1. “To secure a challenging position in a reputable organization to expand my learnings, knowledge, and skills.”
  • 2. “Seeking a role at (…) Company where I can contribute to the team’s success while developing my skills as an accountant.”
  • 3. “To achieve a lead position in software development that allows me to design innovative solutions and manage a dynamic team.”
  • 4. “To become a primary school teacher that inspires young minds and fosters a love of learning.”
  • 5. “Aiming to leverage my experience in customer service to become a leading sales representative within the next five years.”
  • 6. “To grow into a senior role within the marketing department, contributing to the company’s strategic goals and brand development.”
  • 7. “Seeking a position as a clinical practice assistant for a health organization that focuses on the development of innovative medical treatments.”
  • 8. “To secure a position as a human resources manager and contribute to an organization’s employee engagement and professional development strategies.”
  • 9. “My goal is to become a project manager within a progressive tech company, leading innovative projects to successful completion.”
  • 10. “Aspiring to be a top journalist within a major media outlet, reporting on significant global events that shape our world.”
  • 11. “To develop a career in finance, eventually becoming a chief financial officer for a well-established corporation.”
  • 12. “To obtain a managerial position in the hospitality industry, providing exceptional guest experiences and leading a successful team.”
  • 13. “Looking to apply my graphic design skills in a dynamic advertising agency, producing high-quality work for a variety of clients.”
  • 14. “To establish myself as a leading real estate agent within the community, known for diligently serving clients and achieving their property dreams.”
  • 15. “To become a senior software engineer, specializing in machine learning and artificial intelligence, contributing to cutting-edge technology advancements.”
  • 16. “Aspire to join an international non-profit organization, focusing on human rights advocacy and contributing to meaningful change.”
  • 17. “To earn a position as a lead researcher in a top-tier biotech firm, focusing on the development of life-saving pharmaceuticals.”
  • 18. “To be recognized as an expert in environmental law, working to protect natural resources and promote sustainability.”
  • 19. “To secure a role as an art director within a prestigious agency, driving creative strategy and inspiring a team of designers.”
  • 20. “Aiming to become a chief operations officer, optimizing organizational processes and enhancing overall efficiency.”
  • 21. “To advance my career in the field of education technology, developing innovative tools that facilitate learning and growth.”
  • 22. “Seeking to become a master electrician, overseeing complex projects and mentoring apprentices in the trade.”
  • 23. “To climb the ranks to a senior data analyst role, transforming data into actionable insights that drive business strategy.”
  • 24. “To become a leading figure in digital marketing, known for crafting high-impact strategies that generate measurable results.”
  • 25. “Aspiring to be an executive chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant, creating world-class cuisine and leading a top-tier culinary team.”
  • 26. “To secure a position as a cybersecurity expert, protecting sensitive information from threats and vulnerabilities.”
  • 27. “Aiming to be a respected leader in the field of public health, influencing policy and improving community health outcomes.”
  • 28. “To establish a career as a professional musician, performing internationally and sharing my passion for music with diverse audiences.”
  • 29. “Seeking a role as an aerospace engineer with a focus on sustainable design and innovation in air travel.”
  • 30. “To become a leading architect, known for designing eco-friendly and innovative structures that enhance the urban landscape.”
  • 31. “To grow into a senior role in supply chain management, optimizing logistics and contributing to the company’s profitability.”
  • 32. “Aspiring to become a senior content creator, producing engaging and informative content that resonates with a wide audience.”
  • 33. “To secure a position as a labor and delivery nurse, providing compassionate care and supporting families during a pivotal life event.”
  • 34. “To become a principal consultant, offering expert advice and solutions to businesses in my area of expertise.”
  • 35. “Aiming to be a top sales manager, driving team performance and exceeding company sales targets consistently.”
  • 36. “To secure a leadership position within the field of environmental science, contributing to research and advocacy for climate change mitigation.”
  • 37. “To become a recognized expert in user experience design, creating intuitive and user-friendly digital products.”
  • 38. “Seeking a role as a professional event planner, executing unforgettable events that exceed client expectations.”
  • 39. “To advance to a senior technical writer position, producing clear and concise documentation that supports product development.”
  • 40. “Aspiring to be a chief diversity officer, fostering an inclusive workplace culture where all employees can thrive.”
  • 41. “To become a lead mechanical engineer in the automotive industry, contributing to the development of innovative and efficient vehicles.”
  • 42. “To secure a position as a business analyst, helping organizations to improve processes and systems for better performance.”
  • 43. “Aiming to become a senior environmental consultant, providing actionable strategies for sustainable business practices.”
  • 44. “To establish myself as a professional photographer, capturing moments and stories through my lens for global publications.”
  • 45. “Seeking a role as an investment banker, helping companies to grow and investors to achieve their financial goals.”
  • 46. “To become a thought leader in digital transformation, guiding enterprises through the integration of new technologies.”
  • 47. “Aspiring to be a senior policy advisor, influencing legislation and policy decisions that impact the public sector.”
  • 48. “To secure a position as a professional interpreter, facilitating communication in multiple languages for international organizations.”
  • 49. “Aiming to become a leading expert in nutritional science, contributing to healthier lifestyles and dietary choices.”
  • 50. “To establish a career as a professional speaker and author, sharing my expertise and inspiring others in my field.”

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you write an effective career goal statement for your resume.

When you write a career goal statement for your resume, start by reflecting on your strengths, skills, and experiences. Then, identify the kind of position you’re aiming for and how your career path aligns with the goals of the company. Use action words and quantify achievements where possible.

What are some examples of short-term career goals in professional development?

Short-term career goals might include obtaining a professional certification, improving specific job-related skills such as public speaking or technical proficiency, or networking to connect with industry leaders. These goals are typically achievable within a few months to two years.

What should be included in a personal career goal statement?

Your personal career goal statement should include your career interests, the competencies you wish to utilize, the type of environment you thrive in, and how you see your career progressing. It gives employers a glimpse into your aspirations and professional philosophy.

Can you give examples of comprehensive goal statements for students?

An example for a student might be: “Graduate with a degree in Environmental Science and secure an internship with a leading sustainability organization, to contribute to effective climate change solutions.” This states the education aim and the practical, immediate objective after graduation.

How do you frame a career goal statement for entry into graduate school?

A career goal statement for graduate school should express your academic interests, how the program aligns with your career plans, and what you intend to accomplish professionally with the advanced degree. This could be working towards a specific research field or role in academia.

What elements make up a compelling and succinct one-sentence career goal?

A compelling one-sentence career goal is specific, mentioning the desired industry or role, is realistic, and includes a timeframe. For example, “To become a certified project manager within the next year and lead technology-related projects in a Fortune 500 company.”

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Soft Skills

11 minute read

Your Guide to Career Goals Statements (and Why You Need One)

Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard

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Imagine that it’s a Monday morning, and you’ve just arrived at the office. You sit down at your desk, ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Now, tell me this: What’s on your mind?

Are you thinking through the meetings on your schedule? The emails that need to be answered? The tasks that must be completed that day? All of the above?

If so, you aren’t alone. Our workdays are busy, which means our minds are often consumed by what’s right in front of us. We take things day by day.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that (after all, that stuff does need to get done). But here’s the problem: It’s far too easy to become overwhelmed by those immediate things, that we neglect to zoom out and get a broader view of what we’re actually working toward (beyond completing that day’s to-do list).

This is exactly where a career goals statement comes in handy. It reminds you of your main objective and gives you a greater sense of direction. So let's look at some career goals statement examples!


What exactly is a career goals statement?

As the name implies, a career goals statement is your personal vision for the future of your career. Think of it as the ultimate target that you’re aiming toward.

For example, perhaps you’re currently employed as a marketing analyst, but your long-term career plan is to start your own marketing agency that primarily serves software clients. Or maybe you’re interested in  starting a small business  in a different field. Your career goals statement should formally document that objective.   Your career goals statement should formally document that objective.

What exactly is meant by “formally document”? Put simply, your goals statement should be written down—it’s not just something that lives in the back of your brain. We’ll talk more about why that’s important soon. But with all of that in mind, here’s what that career goals statement could look like:

I will start my own agency that provides an array of marketing services to clients in the software industry by the year 2025. I will accomplish this by maximizing any marketing position I fill in order to refine my skills, getting involved at community and social events to strengthen my connections, and scheduling informational interviews with current agency owners.

Many graduate schools actually require that a goals statement (otherwise referred to as a personal statement or statement of purpose) or a similar essay be submitted with a student’s application materials.

However, for the sake of simplicity, we’re going to focus on career goals statements that are used personally—for people who want to formalize their objectives and increase their understanding of what they’re working toward in their careers.

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Why does your career goals statement matter?

At first glance, a career goals statement might seem like an unnecessary formality. But make no mistake, working on your own career goals statement comes with several benefits.

1. It forces you to ask yourself the hard questions

Chances are, your average workday is full of questions. Should you do this or that first? Where’d you put that important file? What should you grab for lunch? Do you have time to snag another coffee ahead of that meeting?

Yes, you’re asking yourself plenty of questions—but you probably aren’t taking any time to reflect on the really important ones. When’s the last time you’ve checked in with yourself about things like:

  • What do you envision for your career in another 10 years?
  • What more can you do to work toward that vision?
  • What tasks or projects make you feel most fulfilled ?
  • What tasks or projects make you feel most drained?

Those are exactly the types of questions you’ll need to answer when creating your own career goals statement, and that chance for reflection is valuable for ensuring you don’t get caught up in the minutiae of your day-to-day.

2. It gives you a sense of direction

Have you ever felt sort of rudderless in your career? Like you were just clocking in and out each day for nothing more than a paycheck?

This is another benefit of creating your own career goals statement: It breaks you out of the monotony, dangles a carrot in front of your face, and renews your sense of motivation.

That’s because, as the Goal-Setting Theory explains, goals themselves are incredibly motivating. You feel much more inspired to get to work when you actually have a clear idea of what you’re working toward.

Additionally, focusing on the end game allows you to get a stronger grasp on what skills you’ll need to develop or refine in order to make that goal a reality.

3. It increases your accountability

There’s something almost intimidating about writing your goal down, isn’t there? You’ve documented it—it’s real, and now there’s a greater sense of accountability.

As frightening as it might seem, that’s actually a positive thing. Research shows that people who are able to vividly picture or describe their own goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to actually achieve them. What better way to get that clarity than by writing that objective down?

Plus, doing so will help make that goal stick. Other studies show that writing things down improves your memory of them.

5 tips to write your own career goals statement

A career goals statement offers numerous benefits. But what do you need to know to write one for yourself? Let’s cover five tips you should put into play.

1. Invest the time in reflection

Remember when we talked about the opportunity for self-reflection above? Before jumping right in with scribbling down your career goals statement, make sure you actually take the time to do that

This will help you avoid setting a goal that you think you should have and instead focus on one that you want to have.

That’s the most important piece of a goal: It should be something that you actually want to achieve. Setting one only because you think it’s expected of you ultimately won’t do you any good.

2. Get specific

In order for a goal to be impactful and provide the necessary sense of direction, it needs to be specific. Something general like “climb the ladder” or “earn more money” is too ambiguous to ignite any motivation.

When establishing your career goals statement, try using the SMART goals framework. Here’s what that stands for:

Specific: Clearly state what you plan to accomplish (i.e. “start my own marketing agency focused on software clients”).

Measurable: Similarly, outline what your benchmark for success is so that you know when you’ve actually achieved your goal.

Achievable: You don’t want to set yourself up for disappointment, so make sure that your goal isn’t so lofty that it’s unattainable.

Relevant: Ensure that what you want to accomplish is actually relevant to you (this is where that self-reflection really comes in handy!).

Time-bound: A goal is nothing without a deadline for when you plan to achieve it by. Your career goals statement should be somewhat long-term (and not something you want to accomplish by next week). But “long-term” can mean six months to some people and 20 years to others. Get clear on exactly when you want to reach this objective.

3. Use confident language

Your career goals statement isn’t the place for wishy-washy and noncommittal phrases. There’s no starting with, “I really want to...” or “I really hope I can…”

Open your career goals statement with a certain and confident, “ I will .” Not only does that phrase further remove any ambiguity, but it also gives you a nice nugget of encouragement whenever you refer back to it.

4. Develop an action plan

Setting a goal is a great start, but setting a finish line for yourself means nothing if you don’t understand what you’ll do to cross it.

The latter part of your career goals statement should outline the steps you’ll take to accomplish that goal. This gives you a roadmap that you can follow, rather than just saddling yourself with an objective and feeling clueless about how to get started.

5. Be flexible

Here’s one more thing that’s important to recognize: Goals change. Of course, the very purpose of your career goals statement is to give yourself something long-term to work toward, but that doesn’t mean it’ll always be set in stone.

What if after talking to some other agency owners you decide that business ownership really isn’t for you? Or what if you have personal circumstances come up that require you to remain in traditional employment for a while—meaning the 2025 deadline is no longer realistic? Or what if you achieve your goal and need to come up with a brand new one?

Whether good or bad, these things happen, and you need to be flexible and willing to roll with the punches.

If and when your goal shifts, don’t completely trash or delete your previous goal. Instead, keep it and write an entirely new one. It’s interesting to see how your objectives evolve over time, and that progression can actually be quite enlightening and motivating.


Get inspired: 5 career goals statement examples you can learn from

Nothing helps provide some clarity like a solid sample. So with all of the above tips in mind, let’s take a look at a few different career goals statement examples that you can use as inspiration for writing your own .

Career goals statement example #1:

I will be promoted to a Project Lead at CompanyXYZ within the next five years. To do so, I will refine my project management skills, obtain my PMP Certification , and express my desire for growth and advancement to my current supervisor.

Career goals statement example #2:

I will land a job as a Data Analyst at a large financial institution by the end of the year. To accomplish this goal, I will improve my skills in Excel and PowerQuery and connect with other Data Analysts in my network to find out more about their job search processes.

Career goals statement example #3:

I will foster a positive reputation and secure a public speaking gig for a session of over 300 attendees within the next calendar year. I will do this by continuing to refine my public speaking abilities and networking with conference planners in my industry.

Career goals statement example #4:

I will pursue and complete a career change from a Graphic Designer to a Web Developer within three years. To make this happen, I will return to school to get my Associate Degree in Web Development and complete online courses that cover all of the major programming languages.

Career goals statement example #5:

I will gain a Certified Public Accountant license within a year. In order to achieve this, I'll create a study plan and I'll take a CPA exam review course . I'm going to study each day for 2-3 hours after work to pass the CPA exam.

What should you do with your career goals statement?

You did it—you implemented the tips and followed the examples, and now you’re equipped with your own career goals statement. what? What do you do with it?

Keep it somewhere safe. Better yet, keep it somewhere you can easily accessible so that you can refer to it whenever you need a gentle reminder of what you’re working so hard for.

Whether you had a bad day or just need to be encouraged that your career is about so much more than churning through your daily to-do list, your career goals statement will help you step back and get the perspective that’s so easy to lose sight of in your everyday life.

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Kat Boogaard

Kat is a writer specializing in career, self-development, and productivity topics. When she escapes her computer, she enjoys reading, hiking, golfing, and dishing out tips for prospective freelancers on her website.

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15 career goals examples to inspire you to set your own


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What are career goals?

How to choose your career goals: 5 tips, 15 career goals examples, how to achieve your career goals, never stop growing.

Among the daily hustle of deadlines and meetings, you might forget to pause and ask yourself how your career is really going. 

Professional growth looks beyond the here and now to consider what the future holds and if you’re going the right way. Whether you want to apply for a leadership role, land an industry seminar, or transition into an entirely new field, setting clear career goals establishes direction and defines the path ahead.

Recognizing where you wish to be and building actionable steps empowers you to transform career aspirations into clear benchmarks. Soon, even the daily grind will take on a larger purpose, and every email you send and every project you complete will contribute to new meaning. Here’s how to turn your day-to-day into a brighter future.

A career goal is a target or milestone that guides your professional trajectory and fits into your overarching career plan. It can connect to your current position, future aspirations, or the broader framework of your work life. Each one could be a short-term career goal (like hitting a performance metric) or a more strategic long-term goal (like becoming an expert at a new skill). 

Clear career development goals help you step away from the daily bustle and keep your sights on the bigger picture, giving you something to work toward and bringing greater purpose to your job. Here are a few more ways that defining what your career goals are can propel your work forward: 

  • Setting goals creates a roadmap, offering guidance and direction to your career path
  • They foster intrinsic motivation , enthusiasm, and dedication, helping you face professional obstacles
  • With a clear vision in place, your decision-making becomes more aligned and intentional
  • They catalyze continuous learning, ensuring you keep pace with your colleagues and industry
  • Reflecting on goals or setting new ones lets you identify whether your current position is the right fit for your overarching aspirations
  • Reaching your goals fills you with a sense of achievement, empowering your self-worth and belief in your abilities


While setting career goals is meant to put you on a straight and narrow path, deciding what to work toward isn’t always clear. It requires introspection, research, and forward thinking — and sometimes, it’s a long process. 

Here’s how to pinpoint goals that align your skills and passions: 

  • Perform a self-assessment: Take the time to evaluate your skill set, interests, and personal values . Understanding where you currently stand will help you plot where you want to go and create more impactful and realistic goals . 
  • Do your research: The nature of work is constantly changing, and your career goals can help you keep up, like sharpening a skill or learning a new technology. Anticipating future needs and trends ensures you’re always one step ahead, ready to seize opportunities, or proactively address upcoming challenges.
  • Visualize your future: Through journaling or writing a career statement , imagine where you want to be in the next three, five, or 10 years . Although long-term objectives may change with time, visualizing your future can help you anchor your present with more clarity. The more vivid the mental image, the easier it’ll be to pave the way with actionable steps. And writing down different examples of career interests for a hypothetical career change can uncover patterns in your overarching goals.
  • Evaluate your community: The need to belong can be a significant motivator in life , so consider your sense of belonging in your goals. Examine how you usually participate and discover how you could invest in your professional community or workplace. Mentorships , closer connections with colleagues, or industry groups can boost your sense of community and even bring new opportunities.
  • Consider your personal goals: Your personal and professional life don’t exist in separate bubbles. Whether you yearn for a stronger work-life balance , want to start a family, or aim to relocate one day, your personal goals influence your career decisions. Setting work goals that align your career with personal milestones helps you build an action plan that seeks harmony, enriching both dimensions of your life.


While dreaming up potential career goals, seeing examples can inspire and motivate you. Here are some short-term, long-term, and continuous goals to set for your career. 

Short-term goals

Short-term professional goals offer immediate behavioral changes , allowing you to see tangible progress within a few weeks or a year. These objectives are often stepping stones to long-term ambitions that require more planning and strategy. Here are six examples:

  • Level up your education: Studying a certification, taking online courses, or attending industry seminars can fill in knowledge gaps and enhance your resume. Analyze the skills most valuable to your current role or future dream position and work on the most relevant ones. In some cases, you can learn something new in less than a day.
  • Take on a challenging project: If you’re a full-time employee, contact your manager to demonstrate interest in contributing to a project that expands your job scope. And if you’re a freelancer, you can aim to pursue a project outside your comfort zone . This will broaden your skills and improve your industry knowledge as you navigate new opportunities. 
  • Learn a new tool : Familiarize yourself with a new software or tool relevant to your field, even if it’s not currently a part of your role. Your proactive approach encourages adaptability and demonstrates your initiative to stay up-to-date in a constantly evolving digital landscape.
  • Embrace public speaking: Commit to giving a presentation or leading a seminar in your workplace or professional community. This will elevate your profile and sharpen valuable soft skills , like self-confidence and public speaking .
  • Update your personal brand: All of the materials you share with your peers contribute to your personal brand , including social media profiles, professional websites, and even your resume’s career objective . Take the time to learn how you represent yourself and update your professional messaging to ensure consistency online and offline. 
  • Cultivate one new professional relationship: Seek out a mentor or establish a deeper connection with a colleague. To do this, you could set up an informational interview , check in with HR about mentoring programs , or offer help to a trusted colleague. Such bonds can provide perspective and lend support throughout your career.

Long-term goals

These long-term professional career goals examples project several years into the future, sculpting your overall trajectory. They require patience and sustained effort, but they’re worth it to reach new heights and become your ideal professional self. Here are four examples of long-term goals:

  • Achieve career stability: Job stability may look like a specific annual income, the ability to say “No” to projects that don’t interest you, or switching to an industry with consistent career growth. Determine what it means to you and develop professional development goals to continuously strengthen your foundation. 
  • Attain a leadership role: Rising to a leadership position is more than just a title change. It’s about influence and impact, and it’s a great goal to set if you plan on climbing the ladder at your current company. Work on your management skills , learn about organizational dynamics , and consistently demonstrate reliability. And don’t forget to let your manager know you’re interested in developing your leadership skills. 
  • Diversify your skill set: Exploring skills that complement your existing knowledge can safeguard your employability and open doors to new opportunities. Identify areas that are adjacent to your field and could benefit your career, and find long-term courses or go to grad school to help you learn. Diversifying yourself positions you as a valuable asset and shows your commitment to your industry. 


Continuous goals

Continuous goals are ongoing pursuits that don’t have a definitive timeframe. Instead, they aim to continuously refine your professional well-being, ensuring you’re always growing and adapting. Here are five examples:

  • Maintain work-life balance: Striving to leave work on time, take regular breaks, and enjoy free time activities are small, daily goals that prioritize your wellness. A strong work-life balance safeguards you from fatigue and improves your mood, and you can improve it throughout your career. 
  • Seek regular feedback: Constructive feedback will always be useful. Establish a routine of asking for monthly, quarterly, or biannual feedback from higher-ups and peers. This feedback is a constant source of direction, letting you know what areas of self-improvement to focus on. 
  • Advocate for mental well-being: Build routines that aid your mental wellness, like meditation, digital detoxes , or better sleep hygiene . Good emotional well-being makes you more resilient to challenges , improves self-esteem , and reduces stress, contributing to a healthy professional life. 
  • Explore productivity skills: Your workflow could always use an update, and a new time management hack or productivity app can help. Exploring productivity techniques, like the Pomodoro Technique , or task prioritization methods, like the Eisenhower Matrix , helps you maximize efficiency. 
  • Give back: Whether it’s becoming a mentor, doing pro bono work, or agreeing to an informational interview, find ways to use your skills for the greater good. Giving back supports your holistic development and fills you with purpose.


While achieving your goals is hard work, the right approach, dedication, and resources will bring you closer to your milestones. Here are a few ways to turn your dreams into real objectives:

  • Set milestones: Begin by breaking down your larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks and milestones. This makes big processes less daunting and gives you the tools to progress one step at a time. 
  • Determine your metrics: Knowing what success looks like paints a clear picture of your goal post. If you aim to build a bigger LinkedIn following , specific engagement metrics or a weekly post can break things down and help you measure progress. For less tangible goals, like better work-life balance, try using a stress tracker to see if you’re able to manage your stress and feel more at ease each day. 
  • Stay consistent: Perseverance and consistency push you closer to your goals. Even if progress feels like it has hit a plateau, build resilience to drive progress forward.
  • Celebrate small wins: Every milestone you achieve is progress, no matter how small. Patting yourself on the back or sharing your success with others can help you maintain your enthusiasm and motivation. 
  • Document your journey: Keeping a journal or logging your progress will track your advancement and give you space for valuable reflections. Regular check-ins help you recognize how far you’ve come and analyze what parts of your plan need updating. And a study in Sports Psychologist found that the more you look at your goals, the more likely you are to pursue them .
  • Make them SMART: Break your objectives into SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This will clarify your intentions and help build a roadmap to help you achieve them.

Now that you have examples of career goals to inspire your own, it’s time for self-reflection and strategic planning. Whether you want to start your own business or practice for a job interview , focus on skills and experiences that support personal and professional growth. Regularly checking in and adjusting when necessary will bring you one step closer to leveling up your career. 

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Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

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Writing a Personal Statement

Wellesley Career Education logo

Preparing to Write

Brainstorming, don't forget, sample prompts.

A personal statement is a narrative essay that connects your background, experiences, and goals to the mission, requirements, and desired outcomes of the specific opportunity you are seeking. It is a critical component in the selection process, whether the essay is for a competitive internship, a graduate fellowship, or admittance to a graduate school program. It gives the selection committee the best opportunity to get to know you, how you think and make decisions, ways in which past experiences have been significant or formative, and how you envision your future. Personal statements can be varied in form; some are given a specific prompt, while others are less structured. However, in general a personal statement should answer the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What are your goals?
  • How does this specific program/opportunity help you achieve your goals?
  • What is in the future?

A personal statement is not:

  • A variation of your college admissions essay
  • An academic/research paper
  • A narrative version of your resume
  • A creative writing piece (it can be creative, though)
  • An essay about somebody else

Keep in mind that your statement is only a portion of the application and should be written with this in mind. Your entire application package will include some, possibly all, of the materials listed below. You will want to consider what these pieces of the application communicate about you. Your personal statement should aim to tie everything together and fill in or address any gaps. There will likely be some overlap but be sure not to be too repetitive.

  • Personal Statement(s)
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Sample of written work
  • Research proposal

Preparing to Write A large portion of your work towards completing a personal statement begins well before your first draft or even an outline. It is incredibly important to be sure you understand all of the rules and regulations around the statement. Things to consider before you begin writing:

  • How many prompts? And what are they? It is important to know the basics so you can get your ideas in order. Some programs will require a general statement of interest and a focused supplementary or secondary statement closely aligned with the institution's goals.
  • Are there formatting guidelines? Single or double spaced, margins, fonts, text sizes, etc. Our general guideline is to keep it simple.
  • How do I submit my statement(s)? If uploading a document we highly suggest using a PDF as it will minimize the chances of accidental changes to formatting. Some programs may event ask you to copy and paste into a text box.
  • When do I have to submit my statement(s)? Most are due at the time of application but some programs, especially medical schools, will ask for secondary statements a few months after you apply. In these instances be sure to complete them within two weeks, any longer is an indication that you aren't that interested in the institution.

Before you start writing, take some time to reflect on your experiences and motivations as they relate to the programs to which you are applying. This will offer you a chance to organize your thoughts which will make the writing process much easier. Below are a list of questions to help you get started:

  • What individuals, experiences or events have shaped your interest in this particular field?
  • What has influenced your decision to apply to graduate school?
  • How does this field align with your interests, strengths, and values?
  • What distinguishes you from other applicants?
  • What would you bring to this program/profession?
  • What has prepared you for graduate study in this field? Consider your classes at Wellesley, research and work experience, including internships, summer jobs and volunteer work.
  • Why are you interested in this particular institution or degree program?
  • How is this program distinct from others?
  • What do you hope to gain?
  • What is motivating you to seek an advanced degree now?
  • Where do you see yourself headed and how will this degree program help you get there?

For those applying to Medical School, if you need a committee letter for your application and are using the Medical Professions Advisory Committee you have already done a lot of heavy lifting through the 2017-2018 Applicant Information Form . Even if you aren't using MPAC the applicant information form is a great place to start.

Another great place to start is through talking out your ideas. You have a number of options both on and off campus, such as: Career Education advisors and mentors ( you can set up an appointment here ), major advisor, family, friends. If you are applying to a graduate program it is especially important to talk with a faculty member in the field. Remember to take good notes so you can refer to them later.

When you begin writing keep in mind that your essay is one of many in the application pool. This is not to say you should exaggerate your experiences to “stand out” but that you should focus on clear, concise writing. Also keep in mind that the readers are considering you not just as a potential student but a future colleague. Be sure to show them examples and experiences which demonstrate you are ready to begin their program.

It is important to remember that your personal statement will take time and energy to complete, so plan accordingly. Every application and statement should be seen as different from one another, even if they are all the same type of program. Each institution may teach you the same material but their delivery or focus will be slightly different.

In addition, remember:

  • Be yourself: You aren’t good at being someone else
  • Tragedy is not a requirement, reflection and depth are
  • Research the institution or organization
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread
  • How to have your personal statement reviewed

The prompts below are from actual applications to a several types of programs. As you will notice many of them are VERY general in nature. This is why it is so important to do your research and reflect on your motivations. Although the prompts are similar in nature the resulting statements would be very different depending on the discipline and type of program, as well as your particular background and reasons for wanting to pursue this graduate degree.

  • This statement should illustrate your academic background and experiences and explain why you would excel in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (UMass Amherst - M.S. in Civil Engineering).
  • Describe your academic and career objectives and how the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies can help you achieve them. Include other considerations that explain why you seek admissions to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and your interests in the environmental field (Yale - Master of Environmental Management).  
  • Please discuss your academic interests and goals. Include your current professional and research interests, as well as your long-range professional objectives. Please be as specific as possible about how your objectives can be met at Clark and do not exceed 800 words (Clark University - M.A. in International Development and Social Change).
  • Write a 500- to 700-word statement that describes your work or research. Discuss how you came to focus on the medium, body of work, or academic area you wish to pursue at the graduate level. Also discuss future directions or goals for your work, and describe how the Master of Fine Arts in Studio (Printmedia) is particularly suited to your professional goals (School of the Art Institute of Chicago - MFA in Studio, Printmaking).
  • Your statement should explain why you want to study economics at the graduate level. The statement is particularly important if there is something unusual about your background and preparation that you would like us to know about you (University of Texas at Austin - Ph.D in Economics).
  • Your personal goal statement is an important part of the review process for our faculty members as they consider your application. They want to know about your background, work experience, plans for graduate study and professional career, qualifications that make you a strong candidate for the program, and any other relevant information (Indiana University Bloomington - M.S.Ed. in Secondary Education).
  • Your autobiographical essay/personal statement is a narrative that outlines significant experiences in your life, including childhood experiences, study and work, your strengths and aspirations in the field of architecture, and why you want to come to the University of Oregon (University of Oregon - Master of Architecture).
  • Personal history and diversity statement, in which you describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. You may refer to any educational, familial, cultural, economic or social experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities, residency and citizenship, first-generation college status, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field; or how you might serve educationally underrepresented and underserved segments of society with your graduate education (U.C. Davis - M.A. in Linguistics).
  • A Personal Statement specifying your past experiences, reasons for applying, and your areas of interest. It should explain your intellectual and personal goals, why you are interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary degree rather than a more traditional disciplinary one, and how this degree fits into your intellectual and personal future (Rutgers University - Ph.D in Women’s and Gender Studies).
  • Your application requires a written statement to uploaded into your application and is a critical component of your application for admission. This is your opportunity to tell us what excites you about the field of library and information science, and what problems you want to help solve in this field. Please also tell us how your prior experiences have prepared you for this next step toward your career goals and how this program will help you achieve them (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill - Master of Science in Library Science).
  • After watching the video, please describe what strengths and preferences as a learner you have that will facilitate your success in this innovative curriculum. What challenges in our curriculum do you anticipate and what strategies might you use to address these challenges? (MGH Institute of Health Professions PT - They recently redesigned their curriculum)
  • Your personal goal statement should briefly describe how you view the future of the field, what your goals are to be part of that future, and what brought you to pursue an advanced education degree in your chosen field. You may include any other information that you feel might be useful. (Northeastern PT)
  • Personal Statement: In 500 words or less, describe a meaningful educational experience that affected your professional goals and growth and explain how it impacted you. The educational experience does not need to be related to this degree. Focus on the educational experience and not why you think you would be a good professional in this field. (Simmons PT)
  • Personal Statement (500 word minimum): State your reasons for seeking admission to this program at this institution. Include your professional goals, why you want to pursue a career in this field and how admission to this program will assist you in accomplishing those goals. (Regis College Nursing)
  • “Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to this type of program.” (AMCAS)
  • Address the following three questions(Though there is no set limit, most statements are 1–2 pages, single-spaced.): What are your reasons for pursuing this degree? Why do you wish to pursue your degree at this institution? How do you intend to leverage your degree in a career of this field? (Boston University MPH)
  • Please submit a personal statement/statement of purpose of no more than 500 words for the department/degree of choice. Professional degree essays require a clear understanding of the _______ field and how you hope to work within the field. Be sure to proofread your personal statement carefully for spelling and grammar. In your statement, be sure to address the following: what interests you in the field of _____ what interests you in a specific degree program and department at this institution and what interests you in a particular certificate (if applicable). Please also describe how you hope to use your ________ training to help you achieve your career goals. (Columbia PhD in Public Health - Epidemiology)
  • Because each Home Program requires significant original research activities in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, we are interested in obtaining as much information as possible about your previous research experiences. Those who already have such experience are in a better position to know whether they are truly interested in performing ______ research as part of a graduate program. Please include specific information about your research experience in your Statement of Purpose. You may also use the Statement to amplify your comments about your choice of Home Program(s), and how your past experiences and current interests are related to your choice. Personal Statements should not exceed two pages in length (single spaced). Make sure to set your computer to Western European or other English-language setting. We cannot guarantee the ability to access your statement if it is submitted in other fonts. (Stanford Biosciences PhD)
  • Your statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the Department of ____ at ___ University. It would be helpful to include what you have done to prepare for this degree program. Please describe your research interests, past research experience, future career plans and other details of your background and interests that will allow us to evaluate your ability to thrive in our program. If you have interests that align with a specific faculty member, you may state this in your application. Your statement of purpose should not exceed two pages in length (single spaced). (Stanford Bioengineering PhD)
  • Statement of purpose (Up to one page or 1,000 words): Rather than a research proposal, you should provide a statement of purpose. Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at this institution and your relevant experience and education. Please provide an indication of the area of your proposed research and supervisor(s) in your statement. This will be assessed for the coherence of the statement; evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study; the ability to present a reasoned case in English; and commitment to the subject. (Oxford Inorganic Chemistry - DPhil)

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7 Meaningful Answers to "What are Your Career Aspirations?" in an Interview

Learn the best approaches to answer interview questions about your career aspirations. We provide example answers and explain what makes them meaningful.

Together Team

Published on 

August 9, 2023

Updated on 

Time to Read

mins read time

“What are your career aspirations?”

This has to be one of the most commonly asked questions in interviews besides the standard questions about the candidate’s professional background, skills, and experience.

"Career aspirations" refer to an individual's long-term professional goals and ambitions, encompassing the desired achievements and personal growth they seek throughout their journey.

Interviewers inquire about your professional aspirations to gain insights into your long-term motivations, passion, and alignment with the company's vision, helping them assess if your goals and the organization's objectives are in sync. 

The key to providing meaningful answers is to be genuine and demonstrate a clear connection between your career aspirations and the value you can bring to the organization. Tailor your responses to the specific job and company, and let your passion for personal and professional growth shine through.

7 examples of answers about career aspirations

When asked about your career aspirations, a meaningful answer that goes beyond personal growth will help you differentiate yourself from other interviewees. Here are seven meaningful answers that can make a lasting impression on interviewers:

1. Pursuing continuous learning and skill development 

Example: "My career aspirations are centered around constant growth and skill enhancement. I am committed to staying updated with the latest trends and technologies in the industry. In the coming year, I plan to pursue specialized certifications and attend industry conferences to learn from experts . By continuously improving my skills, I aim to bring innovative strategies to the table and contribute to the company's success in reaching new audiences."

While the above example is a generalized statement on continuous learning , you can improve it by naming specific skills and certifications that you mean to acquire.

2. Making a positive impact on society and the environment

Example: "Beyond personal career goals, I am passionate about creating a positive impact on society and the environment through my work. I aspire to work for a company with a strong commitment to sustainability. I envision aligning my career with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and actively participating in corporate social responsibility initiatives. I find immense fulfillment in contributing to a greener and more sustainable future, and I believe that my dedication to these causes will resonate with the organization's values and mission."

The above answer will help you showcase your interest in contributing to a larger purpose by making a difference in the world. Make it your own by discussing any volunteer work you are involved in to emphasize your commitment to meaningful impact.

3. Becoming a thought leader and influencer in the industry

Example: "My ultimate career aspiration is to become a thought leader and influencer in my field. I plan to publish research papers, contribute to open-source projects, and participate in conferences to share my knowledge. Additionally, I aspire to become an active member of industry forums and engage in public speaking opportunities to promote advancements in the industry. By becoming a recognized authority, I can position the company as a leader in our space."

Turn the above example into a highly specific answer by mentioning your area of expertise and your topic of research. Give examples of other thought leaders in your industry and how they helped establish their organizations as leaders in their space.

4. Embracing leadership opportunities

Example: "As a seasoned manager, my career aspiration is to take on more significant leadership roles and contribute to the growth of the organization's talent. I envision leading cross-functional teams, fostering a collaborative work culture, and mentoring emerging managers . A company can grow and succeed faster when the more experienced members of the team empower and guide others."

Communicate your interest in taking on leadership roles and guiding others to success. Make the above example your own by discussing your leadership style and how you plan to inspire and motivate team members.

5. Driving innovation and advancement within the company 

Example: "Innovation drives me, and I am passionate about leveraging technology to push the boundaries of what's possible. My career aspiration is to lead the research and development team, where I can spearhead new product ideas and create groundbreaking solutions. I envision fostering an innovation-focused culture within the organization, where employees are encouraged to experiment and think outside the box. By introducing disruptive products to the market, we can elevate the company's position and stay ahead of the competition."

To be more specific with the answer, talk about your ideas for improving processes or developing new products or services for the company.

6. Cultivating a diverse and inclusive work environment 

Example: "My biggest career aspiration revolves around creating an inclusive and diverse work environment. I envision implementing diversity training programs, establishing mentorship opportunities for underrepresented groups, and ensuring that all employees feel valued and respected. By fostering a workplace that celebrates differences, we can boost employee morale, creativity, and ultimately contribute to the company's overall success."

In your answer, discuss strategies for promoting inclusivity and building a diverse team. Emphasize the positive impact of diversity on organizational performance and innovation.

7. Becoming a mentor and guiding others to success

Example: "One of my most significant career aspirations is to take on a mentorship role within the organization. Throughout my career journey, I have benefited greatly from the guidance and support of mentors who have helped me develop both professionally and personally. I aspire to pay it forward by becoming a mentor to junior colleagues and assisting them in their career growth. By sharing my knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned, I hope to inspire and empower others to reach their full potential and contribute to a more dynamic and skilled workforce within the company."

Mentorship can have a profound impact on individual development and team cohesion. By showcasing your willingness to mentor and uplift others, you demonstrate not only a commitment to your own growth but also a dedication to fostering a supportive and collaborative work culture within the organization.

How to answer questions on career aspirations during an interview

When answering the question about career aspirations, demonstrate your alignment with the company's values and showcase your enthusiasm for personal and organizational growth. To ace this critical aspect of the interview, consider the following tips:

Read about the company’s vision and mission, and the job role

When asked about your career aspirations, connect your goals with the company's mission. Search the company's website and annual reports to understand their core values and long-term objectives. Read the job description carefully, because it will also have details about how the role you are interviewing for contributes to the overall picture. 

You will be able to give better answers if you know what the company stands for and how you will potentially fit in and add value. For instance, instead of saying, "I want to improve my leadership skills," say, "I aspire to become a leader who can drive the organization towards achieving its mission of sustainable environmental practices."

Speak with a “We” mindset

Avoid phrases that focus solely on personal gain. Most employers look for a team-oriented and collaborative mindset in their employees. By focusing on how you can contribute to the collective success of the organization and its goals, you will show the interviewers that you are a team player.

Instead of saying, "I want to be making $150,000 in two years," say that "I aim to contribute to the success of the team by utilizing my skills to achieve higher growth."

Be specific and realistic about your goals

Instead of providing vague statements like, "I want to be successful," be specific about your aspirations, such as "I aspire to take on a managerial role within the next three years, leading cross-functional teams and driving innovative projects."

Being specific and realistic about your goals during an interview shows that you have a clear understanding of your career path and have thoughtfully considered your aspirations. It also indicates that you are pragmatic and grounded, making you a more credible candidate who can set achievable targets and work diligently towards them, increasing your chances of being seen as a reliable and valuable asset to the organization.

Show enthusiasm and passion for your career path

Demonstrate your excitement for your chosen career path by saying, "I am genuinely passionate about (let’s say) marketing, and I look forward to creating impactful campaigns that can connect with customers on a deeper level and drive brand loyalty."

Employers value candidates who are enthusiastic about their work as they are more likely to be motivated, proactive, and willing to go the extra mile to excel in their role.

Common pitfalls to avoid when answering questions about career aspirations

By effectively communicating your career aspirations during an interview, you can leave a lasting impression on potential employers. However, candidates should steer clear of the following two common pitfalls:

1. Using cliches and vague responses

Using cliches and providing vague responses can make your answer sound insincere and lacking in authenticity. Vague statements like "I want to make a difference" or "I want to be successful" don't provide meaningful insights into your actual goals and may come across as generic.

Instead of saying, "I want to be a leader who inspires others," be more specific by saying, "My career aspiration is to become a compassionate and influential team leader, empowering my team members to achieve their goals and foster a collaborative work environment."

2. Being too modest or self-deprecating

While it's essential to strike a balance between confidence and humility, being overly modest or self-deprecating may undermine your credibility and hinder your chances of making a strong impression. It's crucial to showcase your strengths and aspirations with conviction without sounding arrogant.

Instead of downplaying your accomplishments with statements like, "I was just lucky to receive that award," own your achievements and say, "I am proud of the hard work and dedication that led to receiving the award, and it motivates me to continue striving for excellence in my career."

Strike the right balance between authentic and impressive 

When answering questions about your career aspirations, honesty in your responses is essential, as it reflects your genuine motivations and long-term goals.

Strike a balance between authenticity and alignment, and let your enthusiasm for your career path shine through. By articulating your aspirations with clarity and conviction, you present yourself as a proactive and dedicated candidate, poised to make a significant impact within the organization. Your ability to combine honesty and alignment is the key to leaving a strong impression and increasing your chances of securing the opportunity that aligns perfectly with your career aspirations.

Want to grow in your career and achieve your career aspirations? Learn from those who have walked the path before you. Find mentors that will teach you how to navigate the ups and downs of your career and make the right moves to achieve your goals.

Dive deeper into the topic in our mentees guide

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How to Write a Personal Statement for a Scholarship + Examples

What’s covered:, what is the purpose of the scholarship personal statement, what to include in your personal statement, personal statement example: breakdown + analysis, how to make sure your writing is effective.

Either before or after you’ve gotten into your dream school, you’ll have to figure out how to pay for it. For most students, this involves a combination of financial aid, parent contributions, self-contributions, student loans, and scholarships/grants. Because scholarships are money out of someone else’s pocket that you never have to pay back, they are a great place to start!

Scholarships come in two forms: merit-based and need-based. Need-based scholarships are also often called grants. These designations tell you whether an organization looks at your financial situation when deciding about your scholarship.

Additionally, different scholarships fall under different categories based on the mission of the organization or person providing the scholarship’s financing. These missions typically emphasize different things like academic achievement, specific career goals, community service, leadership, family background, skill in the arts, or having overcome hardship. As you select scholarships to apply for and complete your applications, you should keep these missions in mind.

No matter what type of scholarship you are applying for, you will be asked to provide the review committee with standard materials. This includes your transcript, GPA, and resume/extracurriculars, but also, importantly, your personal statement. A scholarship personal statement is a bit different from your normal college essay, so we’ve put together this guide and some examples to help you get started!

The purpose of your personal statement is to help a review committee learn more about your personality, values, goals, and what makes you special. Ultimately, like with your college essays, you are trying to humanize your profile beyond your transcript, GPA, and test scores.

College essays all have one goal in mind (which is why you can apply to multiple schools at once through applications like the Common App or Coalition App): convince admissions officers that you would be a valuable addition to the university environment. The goal of your scholarship personal statement is different and differs more from one scholarship to the next. Rather than convincing various review committees that you are a generally good candidate for extra funding for college, you need to convince each review committee that your values have historically aligned with their organization’s mission and will continue to align with their organization’s mission.

Common missions amongst those who give scholarships include:

  • Providing opportunities for students with career ambitions in a particular field
  • Helping students who have experienced unexpected hardship
  • Supporting students who show outstanding academic achievement
  • Funding the arts through investing in young artists with strong technical skill
  • Supporting the development of civic-minded community service leaders of the future
  • Providing opportunities for historically underrepresented ethnic communities 

If a specific mission like this is outlined on an organization’s website or in the promotional material for its scholarship, the purpose of your personal statement is to show how you exemplify that mission.

Some scholarships ask for your personal statement to be guided by a prompt, while others leave things open for interpretation. When you are provided a prompt, it is obvious what you must do: answer the prompt. When you are not provided a prompt, you want to write a personal statement that is essentially a small-scale autobiography where you position yourself as a good investment. In either case, you should identify a focus or theme for what you are trying to say about yourself so that your application does not get lost in the shuffle.

Prompts include questions like:

  • Why do you deserve this scholarship?
  • How have you shown your commitment to (leadership/community service/diversity) in your community?
  • When did you overcome adversity?
  • Why is attending college important to you?

If you are provided a prompt, develop a theme for your response that showcases both your values and your achievements. This will help your essay feel focused and will subsequently help the review committee to remember which candidate you were as they deliberate.

Themes include things like:

  • I deserve this community service scholarship because my compassion for intergenerational trauma has inspired me to volunteer with a local after-school program. I didn’t just sympathize. I did something about my sympathy because that’s the type of person I am. Within the program, I have identified avenues for improvement and worked alongside full-time staff to develop new strategies for increasing attendance.
  • I overcame adversity when my mother had to have a major surgery two months after giving birth to my younger brother. I was just a kid but was thrown into a situation where I had to raise another kid. It was hard, but I’m the kind of person who tries to grow from hard times and, through my experience taking care of a baby, I learned the importance of listening to body language and nonverbal cues to understand the needs of others (baby and nonbaby, alike).

Without a prompt, clarity can be harder to achieve. That said, it is of the utmost importance that you find a focus. First, think about both your goals and your values.

Types of goals include:

  • Career goals
  • Goals for personal growth
  • The type of friend you want to be
  • The change you want to make in the world

Values could include:

  • Authenticity
  • And many more!

After you write out your goals/values, write out your achievements to see what goals/values you have “proof” of your commitment to. Your essay will ultimately be an exploration of your goal/value, what you have done about your goal/value in the past, and what you aspire to in the future.

You might be tempted to reflect on areas for improvement, but scholarships care about you living out your values. It is not enough to aspire to be exemplary in leadership, community service, or your academic field. For scholarships, you have to already be exemplary.

Finally, keep in mind that the review committee likely already has a copy of your extracurricular activities and involvement. Pick one or two accomplishments, then strive for depth, not breadth as you explore them.

My interest in the field of neuroscience began at a young age.  When I was twelve years old, my sister developed a condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri following multiple concussions during a basketball game.  It took the doctors over six months to make a proper diagnosis, followed by three years of treatment before she recovered.  During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions.  Later, my love of neuroscience was amplified when my mother began to suffer from brain-related health issues.  My mother had been a practicing attorney in Dallas for over twenty years.  She was a determined litigator who relentlessly tried difficult cases that changed people’s lives.  Now, she suffers from a cognitive impairment and is no longer able to practice law.  Oftentimes, she has headaches, she gets “cloudy,” her executive functioning slows down, she feels overwhelmed, and she forgets things.  My mother has gone from being the strong, confident, emotional and financial caretaker of our family to needing significant help on a daily basis. Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.

Due to my experiences with my mother and sister when I was in middle school, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the field of neuroscience.  I also knew that, to obtain this goal, I needed to maintain superior grades in school while also pursuing opportunities outside of school to further my education.  In school, I was able to maintain superior grades to the point where I am currently valedictorian in a class of 567 students.  In addition, in school, I challenged myself by taking 16 Advanced Placement classes and 19 Honors classes.  Two of the most beneficial classes were AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research.  AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research are research-oriented classes where students are given the opportunity to pursue whatever track their research takes them down.  As a junior in AP Capstone Seminar, I researched the effects of harmful pesticide use on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children.  This year, as a senior in AP Capstone Research, I am learning about the effects of medical marijuana on the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  

Outside of school, I furthered my education through taking advantage of the Duke TiP summer program. Duke TiP is a summer program run by Duke University where students who score extremely well on the SAT as middle schoolers are able to take college classes at different universities throughout the summers of their middle school and high school years.  I took advantage of this opportunity twice.  First, I went to Trinity University in San Antonio to expand my horizons and learn more about debate.  However, once I was done exploring, I decided I wanted to go into neuroscience.  This led me to take an Abnormal Psychology class at Duke University’s West Campus.  This class opened my eyes to the interaction between neuroscience and mental health, mental illness, and personality.  Years later, I am currently continuing my education outside of school as an intern at the University of Texas Dallas Center for Brain Health.  Through this internship, I have been able to see different aspects of neuroscience including brain pattern testing, virtual reality therapy, and longitudinal research studies.  With this background, I have positioned myself to be accepted by top neuroscience programs throughout the nation.  So far, I have been accepted to the neuroscience department of University of Southern California, the University of Virginia, the University of Texas, and Southern Methodist University, as well as the chemistry department at University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.  

It is with this passion for neuroscience driven by my family and passion for education driven by internal motivation that I will set out to conquer my career objectives.  My educational aspirations consist of acquiring a bachelor’s degree in a biological or health science that would assist me in pursuing a medical career as a neuroscience researcher.  I decided to attain a career as a researcher since my passion has always been assisting others and trying to improve their quality of life.  After obtaining my Masters and my PhD, I plan to become a professor at a prestigious university and continue performing lab research on cognitive disorders.  I am particularly interested in disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  In the lab, I hope to find different therapies and medications to help treat the 3.5 million people around the world suffering from ASD.  Furthermore, I want to contribute back to underserved populations that struggle because they do not have as much access to medical assistance as other privileged groups.  As such, I hope to do a part of my research in less developed or developing Spanish-speaking countries. This will also allow me to pursue my love of Spanish while pursuing my love of neuroscience.  I think that following such a career path will provide me the opportunity to learn about the medical needs of the autistic community and improve their quality of health.  Furthermore, I hope to train a new generation of students to strive to research and make comparable discoveries.  Whether it be through virtual reality labs or new drug discoveries, I believe that research leads to innovation which leads to a brighter future. 

This student does a great job of making themself appear competent and dedicated to the field of neuroscience. This is primarily because they provided tangible evidence of how they have pursued their dedication in the past—through their AP Capstone courses, their Abnormal Psychology class at Duke TiP, and their internship at UTD. There is no doubt in the mind of a reader that this student is high-achieving. 

This student also engages successfully with a past-future trajectory, where they end with a vision of how they will continue to use neuroscience in the future. This helps the review committee see what they are investing in and the ways that their money will go to good use.

This student has two major areas for improvement. As we have said, the purpose of a personal statement is for a student to humanize themself to a review committee. This student struggles to depict themself separately from their academic achievements. A solution to this would be for the student to establish a theme towards the beginning of their essay that relates to both their values as a human and their achievements.

At the beginning of the essay, the student explores how their interest in neuroscience began. They explain their interest through the following sentences: “During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions” and “Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.” The student made the great decision to tell the backstory of their interest, but they described their research in very mundane and redundant terms. Instead, they could have focused on their value of intellectual curiosity as a magnetic force that encouraged them to research their mother and sister’s ailments. Curiosity, then, could serve as a value-related thematic throughline to taking AP Capstone classes, taking college courses during the summer that weren’t required, and interning before even graduating high school.

A second area for improvement would be avoiding statistics. As the student identifies their valedictorian status and the number of AP classes they have taken, they might turn away certain personalities on a review committee by appearing braggy. Even further, these statistics are a waste of space. The review committee already has access to this information. These words distract from the major theme of the essay and would have been better used to humanize the student.

Throughout my academic career, I have been an avid scholar, constantly pushing myself towards ambitious goals. I held and continue to hold myself to a high standard, enrolling myself in rigorous curriculum, including Honors and Advanced Placement courses to stretch my mental potential. During my junior year of high school, I took four AP tests, two on the same day, and earned the AP Scholar with Honor Award. Additionally, I received the Letter of Commendation for the PSAT/NMSQT, and qualified for Rotary Top 100 Students both my freshman and senior year, a sign of my commitment to my studies. However, school has not been all about having the best GPA for me; beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem. I always give each class my best effort and try my hardest on every assignment. My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result. It is a major goal of mine to continue to aspire towards a high level of achievement regarding future educational and occupational endeavors; I plan on continuing this level of dedication throughout my educational career and implementing the skills I have learned and will learn into my college experience and beyond.

This fall, I will begin attending the University of California Los Angeles as an English major. I chose this major because I am fascinated by written language, especially its ability to convey powerful messages and emotions. I also enjoy delving into the works of other authors to analyze specific components of their writing to discover the meaning behind their words. In particular, I cannot wait to begin in-depth literary criticism and learn new stylistic techniques to add more depth to my writing. Furthermore, I recently went to UCLA’s Bruin Day, an event for incoming freshmen, where I was exposed to many different extracurriculars, some of which really piqued my interest. I plan on joining the Writing Success Program, where I can help students receive free writing help, and Mock Trial, where I can debate issues with peers in front of a real judge. The latter, combined with a strong writing background from my undergraduate English studies will be extremely beneficial because I plan to apply to law school after my undergraduate degree. As of now, my career goal is to become a civil rights lawyer, to stand up for those who are discriminated against and protect minority groups to proliferate equality.

As a lawyer, I wish to utilize legislation to ameliorate the plight of the millions of Americans who feel prejudice and help them receive equity in the workplace, society, and so on. Though this seems a daunting task, I feel that my work ethic and past experience will give me the jumpstart I need to establish myself as a successful lawyer and give a voice to those who are often unheard in today’s legal system. I have been a Girl Scout for over a decade and continually participate in community service for the homeless, elderly, veterans, and more. My most recent project was the Gold Award, which I conducted in the Fullerton School District. I facilitated over ten workshops where junior high students taught elementary pupils STEM principles such as density and aerodynamics via creative activities like building aluminum boats and paper airplanes. I also work at Kumon, a tutoring center, where I teach students to advance their academic success. I love my job, and helping students from local schools reach their potential fills me with much pride.

Both being a Girl Scout and working at Kumon have inspired me to help those in need, contributing significantly to my desire to become a lawyer and aid others. My extracurriculars have allowed me to gain a new perspective on both learning and teaching, and have solidified my will to help the less fortunate. In college, I hope to continue to gain knowledge and further develop my leadership skills, amassing qualities that will help me assist others. I plan to join multiple community service clubs, such as UCLA’s local outreach programs that directly aid residents of Los Angeles. I want to help my fellow pupils as well, and plan on volunteering at peer tutoring and peer editing programs on campus. After college, during my career, I want to use legal tactics to assist the underdog and take a chance on those who are often overlooked for opportunities. I wish to represent those that are scared to seek out help or cannot afford it. Rather than battling conflict with additional conflict, I want to implement peaceful but strong, efficient tactics that will help make my state, country, and eventually the world more welcoming to people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. These goals are close to my heart and therefore I will be as diligent as I am passionate about them. My perseverance and love for learning and community service drive my ambition in both education and life as a whole, and the drive to make the world a better place is one that I will carry with me for my entire life.

This student emphasizes two values in this essay: hard work and community service. These are values that go together nicely, and definitely make sense with this student’s end goal of becoming a civil rights lawyer! That said, some changes could be made to the way the student presents their values that would make their personal statement more convincing and engaging.

Structurally, instead of using a past-future trajectory, this student starts by explaining their academic achievements, then explains their career goals, then explains their history of community service, then explains their future desires for community service. This structure loses the reader. Instead, the student should have started with either the past or the future. 

This could look like 1) identifying their career goals, 2) explaining that hard work and a commitment to community service are necessary to get there, and 3) explaining that they aren’t worried because of their past commitment to hard work and community service. Or it could look like 1) providing examples of their hard work and community service in the past, then 2) explaining how those values will help them achieve their career goals.

Additionally, like with our other example, this student shows a heavy investment in statistics and spouting off accomplishments. This can be unappealing. Unfortunately, even when the student recognizes that they are doing this, writing “beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem,” they continue on to cite their achievements, writing “My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result.” They say they are going beyond the numbers, but they don’t go beyond the awards. They don’t look inward. One way to fix this would be to make community service the theme around which the essay operates, supplementing with statistics in ways that advance the image of the student as dedicated to community service.

Finally, this student would be more successful if they varied their sentence structure. While a small-scale autobiography can be good, if organized, every sentence should not begin with ‘I.’ The essay still needs to be engaging or the review committee might stop reading.

Feedback is ultimately any writer’s best source of improvement! To get your personal statement edited for free, use our Peer Review Essay Tool . With this tool, other students can tell you if your scholarship essay is effective and help you improve your essay so that you can have the best chances of gaining those extra funds!

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career plans personal statement

Academic Personal Statement Guide + Examples for 2024

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You have a bright future ahead of you in academia and you’ve already found the program of your dreams.

The only problem? 

You have to write an impressive academic personal statement that sets you apart from a sea of applicants.

We know that writing about yourself might not come naturally. And when the academic program you have your sights set on is on the line, it doesn’t make it any easier.

But there’s no need to worry!

We’ve prepared this guide to help you write your academic personal statement and secure your spot in your program of choice.

In this article, we’re going to cover:

  • What Is An Academic Personal Statement?
  • 7 Steps to Writing the Best Academic Personal Statement
  • An Example of a Stellar Academic Personal Statement

Let’s dive in.

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You’ll need an academic CV alongside your personal statement. Create one with ease with Novorésumé !

What Is an Academic Personal Statement?

A personal statement is an essential part of the academic application process.

Much like a motivation letter , your academic personal statement serves to demonstrate why you’re the right candidate for the course and sell yourself as a capable student.

Your goal is to show the admissions committee that they’ll benefit from having you in their university as much as you’ll benefit from joining the program.

Academic Vs CV Personal Statement

The term ‘personal statement’ can mean different things depending on your field.

In the world of job hunting, a personal statement usually refers to a few sentences that go at the top of your CV . This paragraph is meant to convey your top skills, relevant experiences, and professional goals to a hiring manager from the get-go and increase your chances of getting an interview.

However, in the world of academia, a personal statement refers to a more in-depth description of you as a candidate. 

In a nutshell, an academic personal statement shows the admissions committee your academic achievements so far, as well as what motivated you to apply and pursue this position.

Personal statements are also often required when applying for certain jobs, much like writing a cover letter . If you’re looking at a position as a faculty member in a university or other academic institution, for example, you might be asked to provide an academic personal statement.

7 Steps to Write an Academic Personal Statement

Preparation is the key to success and this is exactly where our guide comes in handy.

So just follow these steps and you’re sure to secure your spot:

#1. Read the Brief (Carefully!)

Academic personal statements aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all piece of writing. 

Typically, every institution has its specific requirements on what candidates should include in their academic personal statement.

To make sure you’re on the right track with your academic personal statement, read the brief carefully. Consider taking notes and highlighting important points from your program’s brief as you go through it.

Pay attention to any specific question the university wants you to answer. If you don’t address everything the admissions board expects, your personal statement will look sloppy and you’ll be considered an inattentive candidate.

Be sure to re-read the brief after you’ve finished writing your academic personal statement, too. This way you can make sure you’ve answered everything adequately and you’ll have the opportunity to correct any slips.

#2. Research the Program

Make sure you do your homework on the academic program you’re applying to.

You can’t write a good academic personal statement without research, let alone a great one. Much like researching your employer , taking the time to learn more about your desired school and personalizing your application can make a huge difference.

For example, you can dive into how your values align with that of the school you’re applying to, and how your experience and interests relate to specific things about the program. The more you focus on how you’re the right fit for this specific position, in this specific program – the better.

Carefully read through the school and program’s official pages since everything you would need to know is probably on the school’s official website. You can also ask current and former students for help but remember that whatever they say should never replace official information when crafting your academic personal statement.

#3. Plan Your Statement

An academic personal statement is meant to explain your academic interests and shouldn’t contain irrelevant details about your personal life.

Focus on why you want to study the course you’ve chosen and provide any information about your achievements so far.

Ask yourself the following questions to get the ball rolling on what to write:

  • Why do you want to study (or work) in this program? How will it benefit you?
  • How do your skills match the position?
  • What makes you stand out from other applicants?
  • What are your exact career aspirations?
  • How can you and your work benefit the institution you’re applying to?
  • If you changed fields, how did you decide to apply in this direction?
  • What insight can you bring thanks to your different experiences?
  • How will this change of field help your future career?

Write down your answer to these questions in the first draft of your academic personal statement.

#4. Look at Example Statements

Don’t hesitate to read other people’s academic personal statements online. They’re a great source of inspiration and can help get rid of any remaining writer’s block.

If you’re struggling to understand how to meet the language and formatting requirements for your academic personal statement, seeing actual examples is the best way to learn.

But be careful – don’t copy any lines you read, no matter how impressive you think they are. 

Most universities run every academic personal statement through intensive plagiarism checking, and even a paraphrased sentence could lead to your application being rejected for plagiarism.

So pay more attention to the overall structure of the academic personal statements you read, rather than copying the exact wording.

#5. Structure the Contents

There should be a cohesive argument that your entire essay follows. Each sentence and paragraph should complement and build on the one that comes before it.

The structure of your personal statement should include:

An intriguing introduction to you as a candidate

The introductory paragraph should grab the admission committee’s attention and keep them engaged.

Here you should be sure to avoid cliches like saying how you’ve “always dreamt” of graduating from this university or of studying this exact program. Instead, give an example of what really influenced you to pursue this dream.

Here’s an example:

  • I’ve always loved reading and since I was a child, it’s been my dream to graduate from Oxford University and contribute to the world of literary analysis. That’s why I spent the past year volunteering at my local writers’ society and giving constructive feedback during workshops and book discussions.
  • It wasn’t until I failed my first essay assignment in secondary school that I realized the depth that lies beneath each sentence in a given text. I began to delve into the rich layers of literary texts and the intricacies of literary analysis became my passion. Although initially challenging, the depth of understanding that this field offers about human emotions, cultural contexts, and narrative structures enthralled me. I found myself questioning the narrative structures and character motivations that I had previously taken for granted, and I was eager to understand how the subtle and often overlooked elements within a text could have a profound impact on its overall interpretation. This need to fundamentally understand a given author’s work has stayed with me since and led me to pursue literary analysis as a postgraduate student.

An engaging body

The main part of your academic personal statement should detail your interests, experience, and knowledge, and how they make you suitable for the position.

This is where you should expand on your motivation and use the following tips:

  • Why this university? Provide strong reasons for your choice, related to your future career or the institution’s reputation.
  • Mention your relevant studies and experience. This includes projects, dissertations, essays, or work experience.
  • Give evidence of key skills you have, such as research, critical thinking, communication, and time management, and explain how you can contribute to the department with them.
  • Say what makes you unique as a candidate and provide an example.
  • Explain who have been the main influences who put you on this path and why they’ve influenced you.
  • Mention other relevant experiences, such as memberships in clubs related to the subject, awards you might have won, or impressive papers you’ve written.
  • Talk about your career aspirations and how the program ties into your goal of achieving them.

Depending on the guidelines of the specific university, you could also divide your academic personal statement’s body with subheadings, such as:

  • Academic background
  • Research interests
  • Methodological approaches
  • Research experience
  • Personal experience
  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Relevant skills
  • Career aspirations

A logical conclusion

Your academic personal statement needs a conclusion that ends on an enthusiastic note.

Make sure the conclusion reiterates the main points from the body of your text.

Your relevant accomplishments and desire to attend this specific program should be clear to any reader.

#6. Pay Attention to the Language

When writing the first draft of your academic personal statement, pay attention to the language and tone you’re using.

An academic personal statement is also a formal text, so your writing should reflect that. Colloquialisms aren’t appropriate, as they would take away from the well-mannered impression you want to give the admissions committee.

However, you also want your personal statement to be straightforward and avoid any complex jargon from your field of study.

For example, your opening sentence shouldn’t be overly complicated. You should communicate everything as clearly as possible, and be inclusive to those outside of your field of study since they might be on the admissions board that’s reading your academic personal statement.

Make sure that the tone throughout your text is positive and conveys your enthusiasm for the program. Your academic personal statement should show the admissions committee that you really want to be there, and why that’s beneficial to everyone involved.

#7. Proofread Your Statement

This step probably isn’t surprising to you but it’s worth paying attention to.

Your academic personal statement is a very formal document and it should be spotless. 

So, make sure it adheres to academic writing conventions . For example, contractions like “I’m” instead of “I am” are informal, and should be avoided.

Mistakes like these are very common when writing about yourself, particularly when you’re used to describing yourself in informal environments.

Carefully proofread your academic personal statement, then run it through a grammar checker like Grammarly or Quillbot, then proofread it again.

The tiniest grammar mistake or typo could make the admissions board reject your application.

Academic Personal Statement Example

Ever since my first encounter with the enchanting worlds spun by Flaubert, Balzac, and Proust, my intellectual pursuits have gravitated toward French literature. With an undergraduate degree focused on French Language and Literature, I have been fortunate to explore my passions both theoretically and empirically, embedding them within broader themes of cultural theory and comparative literature. It is with great excitement that I apply for the postgraduate research position in the French Literature program at Kent University, with the aim of contributing novel scholarly perspectives to this captivating field.

Academic Background and Research Interests

During my undergraduate studies, I delved deeply into the realms of 19th-century Realism and Naturalism. My senior thesis, which examined the dialectics of morality and social structures in Balzac's "La Comédie Humaine," was not merely an academic exercise; it served as a crucible where my theoretical understandings were rigorously tested. This research experience intensified my interest in the complex interplay between literature and societal norms, a theme I am eager to further explore in my postgraduate work.

Methodological Approaches

My academic approach is fundamentally interdisciplinary. I strongly believe that literature should not be studied in a vacuum; rather, it should be contextualized within historical, sociological, and psychological paradigms. During a semester abroad in Paris, I took courses in cultural anthropology and French history, an enriching experience that complemented my literature-focused studies. This holistic approach will enable me to contribute a multifaceted perspective to the research endeavors at Kent University.

Previous Research and Scholarly Engagements

My scholarly activities have also extended beyond the classroom. Last summer, I participated in an international conference on French Literature and Post-Colonial Theory, presenting a paper on the depictions of colonial landscapes in Dumas' adventure novels. The opportunity to engage with academics from various disciplines provided me with fresh insights and underscored the importance of collaborative research. Further, I've had the honor of having a review article published in the Sheffield Journal of Contemporary Literary Explorations, where I critiqued a groundbreaking new translation of Verne's works.

Extracurricular Contributions and Skills

In addition to my academic achievements, I have sought to enrich my department’s intellectual community. I served as the editor of our departmental journal and organized a series of seminars featuring guest speakers from the worlds of academia and publishing. My strong organizational skills, combined with proficiency in both written and spoken French and English, make me a versatile candidate capable of adding value to the French Literature program’s broader objectives.

To summarize, my deep-rooted passion for French literature, fortified by rigorous academic training and interdisciplinary methodologies, makes me an ideal candidate for the postgraduate research position in your esteemed program. The prospect of contributing to academic discourse at Kent University is an opportunity I find deeply compelling. I am especially excited about the potential for collaborative research and interdisciplinary inquiries, which aligns perfectly with my academic philosophy. I am fully committed to leveraging my skills, experiences, and enthusiasm to make a substantive scholarly contribution to the study of French Literature. Thank you for considering my application; I am keenly looking forward to the possibility of furthering my academic journey in this vibrant intellectual community.

FAQs on Academic Personal Statements

If you’re wondering anything else about academic personal statements, check out the answers to the most frequently asked questions related to them here:

#1. How do you start a personal statement for an academic job?

Applying for an academic job is different from applying for a position as a student. First, you need to establish your qualifications and enthusiasm for the role immediately.

Start by explaining your current status, for example, as a postdoctoral researcher or an experienced member of the faculty, and specify the position you are applying for. Then follow up with your research interests or personal philosophy towards teaching.

You can add a personal anecdote or compelling fact that summarizes your academic journey so far, or your passion for the field. After that, your academic personal statement can go deeper into the qualifications from your academic CV and how you’re a great fit for the position.

#2. How do I introduce myself in an academic personal statement?

The introduction of your academic personal statement is the key to grabbing the attention of the admissions committee.

Start by stating the field or subject that interests you, and why. You can share a specific personal anecdote or observation that led you to this academic pursuit and set the stage for the detailed explanation in your main body.

The goal of your introduction is to give the reader a sense of who you are, what drives you, and why you would be a valuable addition to their department.

#3. Is an academic personal statement like an essay?

Yes, an academic personal statement can be considered a type of essay.

Both essays and academic personal statements are structured forms of writing that are meant to deliver a coherent argument and are divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion. They provide supporting evidence to prove the point and maintain a logical flow to guide the reader to the final conclusion.

However, essays tend to be objective and explore a specific topic or question in depth. Academic personal statements use similar techniques but they present the candidate’s qualifications, experiences, and aspirations in a way that’s meant to persuade the admissions committee.

#4. How long is an academic personal statement?

Typically, an academic personal statement is between 500 and 1000 words long.

The exact length of the text varies depending on the university and program you’re applying to. You should always check the specific requirements for your desired program, and stick to the guidelines you find.

However, if the university you’re applying to doesn’t specify a word count, you should aim for one to two pages.

#5. What do I avoid in an academic personal statement?

Since your personal statement is a crucial part of your academic application, it’s important to avoid any common mistakes.

Make sure the content of your academic personal statement isn’t too generic. Its goal is to give insight into you as an individual, beyond what can be read in your CV . 

You should also avoid cramming too many points in your text. Your academic personal statement should follow a logical flow, and focus on the relevance of what you’re sharing about yourself and how it relates to the academic program you’re pursuing.

Key Takeaways

And that concludes our guide to writing an academic personal statement!

We hope you feel more confident when crafting your application for that academic program or faculty position you have your sights set on.

Now let’s recap what we talked about so far:

  • Academic personal statements are very different from CV personal statements. While CV personal statements are brief paragraphs at the top of the page, an academic personal statement is an in-depth text that details why you’re interested in a given position, and what makes you a good candidate.
  • The guidelines on academic personal statements vary according to the institution you’re applying to. Read the brief very carefully, and pay attention to what it says about word count and questions your personal statement should answer. Any mistakes here could result in rejection.
  • There are differences between applying for a postgraduate program and applying for a faculty position. But in both cases, you should research the exact place you want to apply to and adjust your application accordingly to match the institution’s values.
  • Always proofread your academic personal statement before sending it, even if you’re sure there are no errors.

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15 Best Examples of Professional Goals [+Tips to Achieve Them]

Cassie Wilson

Published: May 01, 2024

“So, where do you see yourself five years from now?” Oof, that can be a tricky interview question, especially if you’re unsure of your professional goals.

A man celebrates achieving his professional goals while holding a trophy and a balloon.

When I graduated from college and started interviewing in my chosen field, I felt like I needed to plan my entire professional life, complete with one concrete end goal.

To be honest, it was overwhelming. I desperately needed actionable advice to plan steps to reach my professional goals.

In this post, we’ll define professional goals, provide examples, and give you tips so you can plan, meet, and exceed the goals you set for yourself.

What are professional goals?

Professional Goals Examples

Tips for Achieving Professional Goals

Work Towards Your Professional Goals

Download your free marketing goal-setting template here. 

What Are Professional Goals?

Professional goals are achievements or milestones you hope to achieve in your career. These include personal and professional development, skill development, salary increases, career advancement, and switches.

Professional goals are often personal, but they don’t have to be. You can set professional goals for yourself and your team to help improve your organization and elevate it to the next level.

career plans personal statement

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What makes a good professional goal?

What separates a professional goal from a wish is that professional goals are attainable and achievable when designed with the appropriate framework.

It’s important to point out that you might have one overarching professional goal, like “become professionally bilingual.”

However, under your overarching goal, you might have smaller, more manageable goals with a specific, actionable framework attached to them to help you reach your biggest goal.

The SMART goal framework is the perfect framework to apply to reach your big and small goals. The letters of SMART stand for:

Let’s examine each letter so that you understand how to structure your goals for maximum achievement.

When writing your own professional goals, you need to be specific. For example, if you want to become bilingual to position yourself ahead of your competition in the job market, you need to be specific about the language you’ll need to learn.

There are over 2,000 languages worldwide, but only one or two will be relevant to your job market. Take some time to research your field before choosing your second language.

In other words, you need to ensure your smaller goal is specific enough to help you reach your overarching goal.

If your goal is measurable, you can easily track your progress. You can make your goals measurable by including a number. For example, if your goal is to learn Spanish, a more measurable goal would be, “Learn five new Spanish vocabulary words.”

The difference between “Learn five new Spanish vocabulary words” and “Learn Spanish” is that you now have something to work on. Making your goals measurable can help break down the task, too.

If your goals aren’t attainable, there’s a good chance they’ll fall into the “wishes” category. By adjusting your goals to your ability, you have something to work towards.

Once you reach your initial goal, you can change your objectives for continued improvement.

Attainable goals are helpful because they help you see how far you’ve come from your baseline. Small wins are encouraging and can help you push through to the end.

The trick to the SMART goal framework is to keep your objectives relevant. For example, if I wanted to learn Spanish as a global sales rep, I would need to focus on learning vocabulary specific to my job.

While watching Spanish comedians might be a great way to learn new slang, it won’t help me communicate effectively and professionally with my clients.

Before setting your goals, ask yourself, “Will this goal help me reach my desired objective?” If the answer is yes, make sure it’s specific enough, measurable, and attainable. If the answer is no, this might be a goal you set aside and pick back up later.

Putting a time frame on your goal helps you increase your motivation and stay accountable for your progress. Plus, when your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant, you can track your progress and better visualize your wins.

If you’re like me and tend to get off track, SMART goals are your best friend.

Writing and implementing SMART goals can help you reach your professional goals much faster because you can break your ultimate objective into actionable steps. Think of them as your plan for success!

Professional Goal Examples

Ready to set a goal for yourself, but you need some examples? Here are FIFTEEN examples of professional goals:

1. Land an internship

If you’re a college student looking for work experience or want to enter a new industry, landing an internship is an excellent goal. Internships are a great way to gain the skills you need to be successful in your industry.

Plus, you’ll gain insider knowledge. You can acknowledge your experience on your resume, giving you a leg up on your competition.

Pro tip: Check with your local labor unions or your university’s Student Success Center for leads on potential internships.

2. Grow Your Network

When I decided to become a freelance writer, I knew I needed to grow my network and connect with others.

Growing your network is a good idea for many reasons, including collaborating with like-minded people and uncovering career opportunities.

Becoming active on social media platforms, like LinkedIn, and attending in-person meetings is a great way to make yourself available and gain new connections.

Pro tip: If you want to grow your network online, commit to regularly posting updates on social media. Social media management tools can help you keep up with your posts and nurture relationships with your followers.

3. Learn a New Skill

Increasing your skill set is a fantastic professional goal. Think about the skills you need to be successful in your work. Are there any skills you need to brush up on?

Or, if you’re looking to change careers or get a promotion, which skills will make your transition easier? Make a list and find ways to gain those skills, like taking a class or attending a seminar.

Pro tip: After making your list of desired skills, use the SMART goals framework to create an actionable learning plan.

4. Start a Podcast

Kaitlin Milliken, Senior Program Manager HubSpot, made starting a podcast one of her professional goals. Podcasting is a great way to gain technical and interviewing skills.

Milliken says, “One of my professional goals was to start a podcast. I was lucky enough to work as a multimedia producer at a startup that was looking to kick one off. I started by listening to other shows for inspiration — Reply All, The Journal, and Post Reports were really big at the time.

Miliken says she spoke with a few folks who had started their own hobby shows to get a sense of what gear was available within her budget.

"After that, I pitched ideas, wrote scripts, and started booking interviews. The big challenge was finding the time," she says. "I was still reporting stories, making newsletters, and creating videos in my role."

She explains, "I had to be very intentional about blocking off time on my calendar so I could accomplish this professional goal.”

Pro Tip: If starting a podcast is one of your professional goals, listen to related podcasts for inspiration for your own.

5. Earn a Professional Certificate

Depending on your job, you may need a professional certificate to advance your career. As a teacher, I needed to become licensed to teach my chosen subject. So, I spent a lot of time taking education courses to gain licensure.

If earning a professional certificate is on your list of professional goals, look for classes that offer relevant certifications. Then, commit to signing up for and completing the course.

Pro tip: Many companies offer continuing education courses for their employees. Take advantage of these offerings to advance your career and deepen your knowledge base. HubSpot Academy is also a great resource for learning new skills and receiving certifications.

6. Start a New Business or Company Initiative

Your personal goals can double as a company initiative, too. Not only will you benefit from gaining new skills, but your company benefits from your efforts, too. Caroline Forsey, Principal Marketing Manager at HubSpot, made starting a new company-wide initiative one of her professional goals.

Forsey says, “A professional goal I set for myself was to own the first thought leadership program at HubSpot -- I succeeded in doing so by leaning into team and company-wide goals and ensuring my program became indispensable to hitting those goals."

She explains, "So, for instance, I knew our team-wide goals were to grow organic traffic on the SERPs."

Rather than leaning into social or email views for my program, Forsey ensured she kept organic views top-of-mind with each piece of content she created for the program.

"I continued to ask myself: Does this have search intent? Is there MSV? Can I make it more SEO-optimized?" she explains. "It's always tempting to lean into personal interests when creating and working towards a goal, but it’s critical you keep the larger picture top-of-mind if you want it to gain buy-in from stakeholders.”

7. Become a Pro at Time Management

If you’re anything like me, the workday can slip by before you know it. And in times like that, productivity seems to go out the window. Becoming better at time management is an excellent professional goal and a necessary skill for many jobs within any industry.

To improve your time management, you might need to reduce your distractions or use a planner to schedule your workday.

Pro tip: Time blocking is a fantastic way to stay on task. At the start of each day, write down your to-do list and break it into smaller chunks that you can complete in a certain amount of time. Then, commit to completing those tasks during your given timeframe.

8. Increase Your Sales

If you’re in sales, you know how important it is for your company to reach your sales and revenue targets yearly. So, setting “Increase My Sales” as a personal and professional goal is not a bad idea. Take a look at your numbers, then determine where and how you need to improve it.

Pro tip: Check with your managers about their sales enablement program. Sales enablement can help you learn how to manage your sales more effectively.

9. Be a Star Employee

Becoming a star employee is really about advancing your career within your company. Erica Santiago, Marketing Manager at HubSpot, made this one of her professional goals and told me how she did it.

Santiago says, "A professional goal of mine at HubSpot was to really own a lane in terms of content so that I could be a go-to for certain projects and really get my name out in the company."

She says she noticed other writers and contributors seemed to really own a topic, and it helped them stand out.

"I wanted to do the same to set myself up for opportunities," she says. "I achieved this by taking a moment to ask myself what my strengths are, what topics I enjoy, and how these things tie in with HubSpot's greater goals."

Eventually, Santiago realized that the creator economy is a topic that she's really familiar with, thanks to the content creation she does outside of HubSpot.

She then realized there are content creators who could benefit from HubSpot’s marketing products and blog content.

"From there, I took it upon myself to write more content centered on creators and eventually started my series 'The Creative,'" she explains. "It‘s still getting off the ground, but the content that’s come out so far has proven it to be a promising project."

She continues, "Now, I‘m regularly assigned creator economy-based content, and I’ve carved my own niche within the marketing blog.”

10. Become a Mentor

If you feel you have a lot of industry experience and knowledge to share, consider making "Become a Mentor” one of your professional goals. As a mentor, you’ll gain leadership skills, like teaching, while positioning yourself as a leader in your field.

Pro tip: If you want to become a mentor, consider partnering with your manager to design a mentorship program for new employees. If your organization already has a mentorship program, sign up to share your knowledge with others.

11. Create a Work-Life Balance

As someone who works from home, it can be tempting to work 24/7. But one of the biggest reasons I started my own business was to have time for the things I wanted to pursue—like running a half marathon and working on my personal blog.

So, making it a goal to create a better work-life balance was a must! Time to refresh and recharge is critical to decreasing the chance of burnout.

Pro tip: Commit to keeping your work at work. That means getting into the habit of leaving unfinished tasks on your desk for the next day. You can always pick up on your tasks later.

12. Get a Promotion

Many people share the professional goal of working towards a promotion, which often comes with a salary increase.

Martina Bretous, Editor of HubSpot’s Next in AI blog, made getting a promotion her goal. But she didn’t sit idly by and wait for her managers to notice her. Instead, she made a plan and shared it with me.

Bretous says one of her professional goals was to become a blog editor at HubSpot.

"The first thing I did was ask blog editors to shadow them. This was a key part of my learning," she recalls. "I had to understand the day-to-day of the role and ask questions to understand initiatives, goals, and challenges.

She then took any opportunity to fill in when an editor was out of the office. This gave her the hands-on experience she was looking for before she was actually in the role full-time.

"All of this prep work set me up nicely so that when an opportunity presented itself to fill in that role, I was a shoo-in because I knew the property very well," she says. "Other editors could recommend me as someone who understood the blog and confirm that I had hands-on experience."

13. Become a Pro at Technology

Technology is constantly changing, which sometimes means our jobs change with it. If using technology is integral to your job, consider becoming a pro or super user of your tech stack.

This will help keep your skills current and set you up as the office go-to for assisting others in learning, too.

Pro tip: Depending on the tech you use in the office, many organizations offer training courses on how to use their products. Sign up for their email newsletter to stay on top of their training and product releases.

14. Publish Your Research

Publishing your research can set you up for success and position you as an industry expert. Consider writing and publishing your work in industry publications if this is a career goal.

You’ll gain new writing skills and learn how to promote your work to experts in the field.

Pro tip: Research industry publications and their submission guidelines. Each publication may have different submission guidelines, and it’s helpful to know them upfront to save time in the submission process later.

15. Receive an Award

It’s nice to be recognized for your dedication and hard work. Plus, recognition can add to your credibility and credentials as an expert. Receiving acknowledgments and an award takes time, though.

But if this is your professional goal, it’s well worth the effort.

Pro tip: Consider the backgrounds of the award winners within your industry. What did they do to stand out amongst the crowd? Use what you learn from their experiences to map your own path to success.

Be sure to make it your personal roadmap, though, to stand out.

Ready to set your goals in motion? Here are five tips from me and our HubSpot experts for achieving professional goals.

1. Lean Into Your Network

Your network is a gold mine of opportunity. Instead of “gold mine,” rebrand it to “goal mine.”

Milliken offers expert advice on using your network to achieve your professional goals:

“Make the most of your network. The chances are there’s someone you already know who has accomplished the professional goal you want to achieve. In my experience, people have been really generous about sharing their advice. You just need to reach out.”

2. Break Your Goals Down

If you’re not careful, your professional goals can become too big to achieve and manage. Instead, follow Bretous’ advice and break your goals into smaller pieces.

Bretous says, “My advice to anyone with a goal is to break it down into bite-size pieces. Because having a goal can get overwhelming when you see how much you have to accomplish to get there."

She explains, "To avoid that, break it into measurable, smaller goals that you can tackle on a daily or weekly basis. And don’t forget to lean on colleagues and managers for help in achieving this goal.”

3. Find a Mentor

You don’t have to tackle your goals alone. Support, especially from a mentor or manager, is invaluable.

Santiago suggests reaching out to your manager. 

“Share your goals with your manager so they can help steer you in the right direction," she explains. "When I first thought of The Creative, I wasn't sure how to pitch it or what direction to take it in. So, I reached out to my manager, and he helped me fill in the blanks."

4. Be Your Own Advocate

Advocating for yourself is a tough lesson to learn. However, if you want to achieve professional goals, you need to learn to be your own advocate.

Forsey agrees and offers two essential tips for advocating for yourself. Forsey says, “My tip for achieving personal goals is a) ensure your personal goals are aligned with larger business goals, and b) be a major advocate for yourself!"

She explains, "Let people across the company know the impact your goals are having on the company— and, equally importantly, make sure your manager as well as leadership is aware of your personal goals."

Forsey says to continue asking your manager things like, “My personal goal is X. What is your advice on how to get closer to that goal?” or “My personal goal is X. How am I measuring up when it comes to meeting that goal?”

"Having leadership aware of your personal goals helps create personal momentum even on the days that you're feeling less motivated," she says.

5. Seek Feedback

My last tip for achieving professional goals is to seek feedback. In my experience, feedback is an invaluable tool for guiding your personal improvement.

If your manager doesn’t directly offer feedback, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Their insights into your work can help you identify areas for improvement that you might not have been aware of.

Work Toward Your Professional Goals

Professional goals are more than things to check off your to-do list. Instead, they help advance your career and give you a purpose for your hard work.

Don’t let your goals get out of hand, though. Set yourself up for success by using the SMART goals framework and breaking your goals into smaller tasks. With this framework in place, you’ll hit your targets in no time!

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How to Become a Financial Advisor

Becoming a financial advisor can lead to a lucrative career, but the real reward is helping clients achieve their dreams.

Happy multiracial businesswoman communicating with her colleagues during a meeting in the office.

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As a financial planner, you might work in a bank or brokerage firm or settle into a niche in a smaller firm or as an independent consultant.

"Financial advisor" is more than just a title. It means you've committed to guiding people through their financial journey. You can help others with their money and future goals, guiding them to make smart choices about saving, investing and planning for what's ahead. Depending on factors like experience, location and the type of firm, financial advisor salaries can range from $61,960 to $165,590.

Advisor's Corner

Advisor's Corner

Advisor's Corner is a collection of columns written by certified financial planners, financial advisors and experts for everyday investors like you.

As a financial planner myself, I can tell you that beyond the numbers, the real reward is seeing your clients achieve their dreams. If you're thinking about becoming a financial planner or are already set on it as a career choice, I'll walk you through how to make it happen:

  • What is a financial advisor?
  • What does a financial advisor do?
  • Financial advisor qualifications.
  • Important skills for financial advisors.
  • How long does becoming a financial advisor take?
  • Is being a financial advisor right for you?

What Is a Financial Advisor?

A financial advisor is a trained professional who helps people with their finances. They offer guidance and expertise on the intricacies of managing money, from retirement and estate planning to real estate and investment opportunities.

As a financial planner, you might work in a bank or brokerage firm or settle into a niche in a smaller firm or as an independent consultant. You could also choose to specialize in a specific financial area or work with people who fall within a certain net worth or age bracket.

What Does a Financial Advisor Do?

The role of a financial advisor is as varied as the clients they serve. As Adam Breazeale, a senior financial planner at Schwab Wealth Advisory, puts it, "We look at where our clients are relative to where they want to be, then provide the tools and solutions necessary to create a road map for success."

As a financial advisor, you'll help with financial planning by creating long-term strategies to build wealth and manage risk. We analyze our clients' current financial situation and seek to understand their goals and objectives. "If you understand the psychology of money, and how emotions and childhood experiences impact financial decisions, this will let you better serve and understand your future clients," says Jude Wilson, founder of Centrus Financial Strategies.

Then you develop a tailored plan to help them achieve those goals. You might offer advice on investment options, manage their investment portfolios , recommend insurance needs, map out a tax strategy, or provide any other type of financial planning or advice.

Financial Advisor Qualifications

I can attest that there's no "one right path" to becoming a financial advisor. For instance, my professional journey began at a Japanese investment bank. However, I wasn't able to connect on a deeper level with clients to truly help with their personal financial well-being. I took my career in a new direction and became a certified financial planner, or CFP.

Financial advisor careers are open to almost anyone, which is one of my favorite aspects of the profession. The financial industry is strictly regulated, but the requirements you'll need to meet can depend on the type of service you want to provide.

Many financial planners come from backgrounds in finance, economics or business. I suggest taking courses in investments, taxes, estate planning and risk management to help you get a solid grasp on financial principles, investment strategies and economic trends.

While you don't need a bachelor's degree to become a financial advisor, a career in finance is difficult to start without one. Keep in mind that educational guidelines can depend on your career aspirations, too. For instance, I wanted to become a CFP, which requires CFP Board-approved coursework and a bachelor's degree.

Professional Licenses

Professional licenses are required for some financial advisors. If you want to sell investment products or operate in multiple states, a common occurrence at broker-dealers and banks, you'll need to pass exams administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam is a common requirement for many in the financial services industry. You may need to pass additional exams as well, depending on your situation:

  • Series 6: The Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative Qualification Examination (IR), required to sell mutual funds, variable annuities or other limited investment products.
  • Series 7: The General Securities Representative Qualification Examination (GS), required to sell common and preferred stocks and other fixed-income investments as a stockbroker.
  • Series 3 or 31: The National Commodities Futures Exam or the Futures Managed Funds Exam, required to sell commodity or managed futures contracts.
  • Series 63: The Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam, required to satisfy state law registration requirements.
  • Series 65: The Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam, required to provide fee-based investment advisory services.
  • Series 66: The Uniform Combined State Law Exam, which merges the Series 63 and 65 exams.

If you establish a practice as an individual, you may also need to register your firm as a registered investment advisor, or RIA, with the Securities and Exchange Commission and register yourself as its representative.


These professional certifications can enhance your credibility and are encouraged by financial advisory firms, but they're not mandatory for becoming a financial advisor. Many certifications and designations are available, and deciphering them can feel like navigating a complex maze of acronyms.

The CFP certification is a well-known badge of expertise in the industry. Earning it demands several years in financial planning, a formal degree, clearing the CFP exam and adhering to high ethical standards. You must also act as a fiduciary , which means prioritizing your clients' needs over your own.

In addition to the CFP, other notable financial planner certifications include:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): A globally recognized certification for investment professionals, especially in the areas of investment management and research.
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC): A certification focused on advanced areas of financial planning, such as retirement, real estate, insurance and income tax planning.
  • Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA): Focuses on asset management and investment consulting.
  • Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA): Designed for professionals who work with high-net-worth clients on wealth management.
  • Certified Fund Specialist (CFS): Specializes in mutual funds and the mutual fund industry.
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS): Offered to certified public accountants, or CPAs, who want to specialize in personal financial planning.

Professional Experience

Starting with internships or entry-level roles is more than just a resume builder; it offers valuable experience in the financial industry. You learn more than the mechanics as you navigate client interactions, strategy crafting and problem solving. The hands-on learning prepares you for future hurdles and deepens your understanding of the industry.

Mentorship, too, is invaluable in this journey. A seasoned mentor not only shares wisdom and strategies but also offers insights based on personal experiences that textbooks can't capture.

Wilson's experience underscores the importance of this. Being among the less than 2% of Black financial planners in the U.S., he faced unique challenges and perspectives. "I recommend to anyone, especially those in the minority, to find a mentor or to intern with a professional," says Wilson.

You may eventually arrive at the crossroads that many financial advisors face: joining an established firm or forging your own path. Both have merits. While existing firms offer stability, going solo can be rewarding for the entrepreneurial at heart.

Important Skills for Financial Advisors

Technical knowledge is undoubtedly essential, yet it's our ability to build trust, understand our clients' needs and effectively communicate that can make all the difference for success. One crucial aspect of being a financial planner is the ability to break down complex financial jargon and explain it to clients in a way they understand.

In my experience, financial advisors should ideally have:

  • An ability to build and maintain strong client relationships.
  • A keen ear to actively listen to a client's financial worries and goals.
  • The acumen to analyze investment opportunities and gauge market trends .
  • Creativity to find solutions that fit individual client needs.
  • Time management skills to balance client consultations, planning and market research.
  • A solid moral compass to uphold the highest standards of integrity and trust.

Financial planning does not use a one-size-fits-all approach, and every client will have different challenges and goals. A versatile skill set can empower you to address these needs effectively.

How Long Does Becoming a Financial Advisor Take?

Your path to becoming a financial advisor depends on where you start your journey. It can vary from a few months to a few years. One of the quickest routes is to get your series licenses with FINRA, which require no prior job experience.

Hazel Secco, a certified financial planner and president and founder of Align Financial Solutions, reflects on her initial journey. "I began with four different licenses: Series 6, 63, 65 and an insurance license. This process took approximately three months before I officially commenced my role as a financial advisor," says Secco.

She didn't stop there. "I decided to pursue the CFP designation right from the beginning of my career. It took me three years to accumulate all the necessary experience and complete the required courses," says Secco.

You must also factor in the time it takes to complete an internship or gather experience.

Michelle Bender, a certified financial planner at Potomac Financial Consultants, says she'd "struggle to bring in" for an interview an applicant who lacked experience and had not taken the appropriate courses.

Is Being a Financial Advisor Right for You?

Becoming a financial advisor can be a fulfilling and rewarding career choice, but it's important to consider whether it's the right fit for you . Think about your strengths and interests and evaluate the educational and regulatory requirements. But above all, consider where your heart lies.

Being a financial advisor requires technical knowledge, but it's more than crunching numbers. It's about nurturing a passion for finance, combined with a genuine desire to help others achieve their financial goals.

10 Best Financial Certifications

Julie Pinkerton Sept. 19, 2023

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Tags: financial advisors , financial literacy , financial goals , investing , money , retirement , financial regulation , careers , second careers , Advisor's Corner

The Most Important Ages for Retirement Planning

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Politics latest: Keir Starmer accused of 'rank hypocrisy' by Rishi Sunak after setting out what he'll do to tackle small boat crossings

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer lays out his party's plans to try and tackle small boat crossings if it wins power. Listen to the latest episode of the Electoral Dysfunction podcast as you scroll.

Friday 10 May 2024 18:30, UK

  • Starmer says small boat crossings 'one of the greatest challenges we face'
  • Explained: What's in Labour's plan to try and tackle problem
  • Darren McCaffrey: Will Labour's plan cut it with voters?
  • Starmer says no flights to Rwanda will take off under Labour
  • Sunak accuses Starmer of 'rank hypocrisy'
  • Electoral Dysfunction:  Jess Phillips says Elphicke defection like 'being punched in gut'
  • UK exits recession | Economy 'returning to full health'
  • Faultlines:   Can British farming survive?
  • Live reporting by Tim Baker

Across the UK, anger is brewing amongst some farmers.  

Protests have already been held in London, Dover and Cardiff, with more planned - mirroring similar tensions seen across Europe in the last six months.     

They say they’re annoyed about cheap foreign imports and changes to subsidies forcing them to give up land in favour of environmental schemes.    

But what does this mean for the food on our table - and does British produce risk becoming a luxury product for the wealthy only?    

On the Sky News Daily , Niall Paterson is joined by West of England and Wales correspondent Dan Whitehead to find out why farmers are so concerned, and speaks to Liz Webster, the founder of Save British Farming, about why she believes eating British isn't just good for our farmers - it's good for the nation's health, too.   

In response to our report, Farming Minister Mark Spencer, said: "We firmly back our farmers. British farming is at the heart of British trade, and we put agriculture at the forefront of any deals we negotiate, prioritising new export opportunities, protecting UK food standards and removing market access barriers. 

"We've maintained the £2.4bn annual farming budget and recently set out the biggest ever package of grants which supports farmers to produce food profitably and sustainably."

The Welsh government said: "A successful future for Welsh farming should combine the best of our traditional farming alongside cutting-edge innovation and diversification. 

"It will produce the very best of Welsh food to the highest standards, while safeguarding our precious environment and addressing the urgent call of the climate and nature emergencies."

👉  Listen above then tap here to follow the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts   👈

Following the defection of the Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke to Labour, Beth, Ruth and Jess discuss the surprise move and whether it could have been handled differently by Sir Keir Starmer.

They also talk about Beth's interview with the former immigration minister Robert Jenrick and his warnings about Reform UK.

Plus, how significant was the defeat of former Conservative mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street? Beth and Jess were both there to tell the story.

And they answer a question on Labour and the Muslim vote, and what the party can do to restore confidence and trust.

Email Beth, Jess, and Ruth at [email protected] , post on X to @BethRigby, or send a WhatsApp voice note on 07934 200 444.     

👉 Listen above then tap here to follow Electoral Dysfunction wherever you get your podcasts 👈

In January 2023, Rishi Sunak made five promises.

Since then, he and his ministers have rarely missed an opportunity to list them. In case you haven't heard, he promised to:

• Halve inflation • Grow the economy • Reduce debt • Cut NHS waiting lists and times • Stop the boats

See below how he is doing on these goals:

The Sky News live poll tracker - collated and updated by our Data and Forensics team - aggregates various surveys to indicate how voters feel about the different political parties.

With the local elections complete, Labour is still sitting comfortably ahead, with the Tories trailing behind.

See the latest update below - and you can read more about the methodology behind the tracker  here .

Speaking to Sky political editor  Beth Rigby , Sir Keir Starmer has defended his decision to allow Tory MP Natalie Elphicke into Labour.

Ms Elphicke was on the right of the Conservative spectrum, and previously defended her sex-offender ex-husband, comments which she apologised for this week following her defection.

Addressing Tory voters, Sir Keir says he wants Labour to be a "place where they who have ambitions about their families, their communities, their country, can join and be part of what we are trying to build for their country".

Asked by Beth if he was ruthless, Sir Keir said: "Yes, I'm ruthless in trying to ensure we have a Labour government that can change this country for the better.

"Not ruthless for my own ambition, not ruthlessness particularly for the Labour Party - I'm ruthless for the country. 

"The only way we'll bring about a change in this country is if we're ruthless about winning that general election and putting in place a government of public service, that’ll be a major change.

"Politics, I believe, should be about public service, that's what I've been about all my life."

More now from political editor Beth Rigby's interview with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

She reminded him that he previously ruled out doing a deal with the SNP - but has not done so for the Liberal Democrats.

Sir Keir again ruled out a coalition with the SNP - adding that he is aiming for a "majority Labour government".

He says Labour needs "to keep working hard, keep disciplined and getting our message across, which is something fundamental to me".

Pushed on his lack of ruling out a possible agreement with the Lib Dems, Sir Keir says: "I'm going for a majority.

"That's the answer I gave you a year ago. It's the same answer I'm giving you now."

Sir Keir Starmer was earlier today pushed on whether Rwanda deportation flights will take off if he was prime minister - although it was not clear if he would cancel flights which had already been organised.

Sky News understood that previously booked deportation flights to Rwanda would still go ahead if Sir Keir entered Number 10. 

But the Labour leader has now gone further.

Speaking to political editor Beth Rigby , Sir Keir has ruled out any flights taking off.

"There will be no flights scheduled or taking off after general election if Labour wins that general election," he says.

He says: "Every flight that takes off carries with it a cheque to the Rwanda government. 

"So I want to scrap the scheme - so that means the flights won't be going."

Sir Keir says he would rather spend the money on his own measures to counter small boats.

"No flights, no Rwanda scheme. It's a gimmick," he says.

By Alix Culbertson , political reporter

Scotland's new first minister has told Sky News that the controversial gender recognition reforms "cannot be implemented."

John Swinney,  who became first minister this week , has faced questions over his stance on gender recognition after MSPs voted in 2022 to pass a bill to make it simpler for people to change their gender without having to obtain a medical diagnosis.

The UK government blocked the bill from being made into law and the Supreme Court rejected a request by the Scottish government for a judicial review.

Asked if he would be fighting to push the bill through, Mr Swinney told Sky News: "The reality of the situation we face is that the Supreme Court has said that we can't legislate in that area. We can't take forward that legislation."

The UK economy is no longer in recession, according to official figures.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by a better-than-expected 0.6% between January and March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Economists had predicted the figure would be 0.4%.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it showed the economy had "turned a corner".

He told Sky News's Ed Conway: "I am pleased that while there's more work to do, today's figures show that the economy now has real momentum, and I'm confident that with time, people will start to feel the benefits of that.

"We've had multiple months now where wages are rising, energy bills have fallen, mortgage rates are down and taxes are being cut... I'm pleased with the progress that we're making."

Mr Sunak added: "I am confident the economy is getting healthier every week."

You can read more here:

Rishi Sunak has criticised Sir Keir Starmer's position on Rwanda as "rank hypocrisy".

Speaking to broadcasters, the prime minister says the Labour leader has announced things the government is "already doing".

He gives the example of "punching through the backlog, having more law enforcement officers do more, that's all happening already".

"We've announced all of that more than a year ago," the prime minister adds.

"The question for Keir Starmer if he cares so much about that, why did he vote against the new laws that we passed to give our law enforcement officers new powers? 

"They've now used those to arrest almost 8,000 people connected with illegal migration, sentenced them to hundreds of years in prison.

"And if it was up to him, all those people would be out on our streets, so I think it's rank hypocrisy property of his position."

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  1. 10+ Sample Career Plans

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  2. Personal Plan

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  3. 20 Career Plan Template

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  4. Career Planning Examples

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  5. My Career Goals Essay Example Free Essay Example

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  6. Career Goal Statement

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  1. Write an Incredible Personal Statement: 3 Steps with Examples

  2. How To Write Personalize Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose using ChatGPT & Gemini

  3. How to write a Personal Statement?

  4. Personal Wide Planner Flip Q1 2024

  5. Revising the Personal Statement for Health Professions

  6. Writing personal statements (part 2 )


  1. 50 Inspiring Examples of Career Goal Statements

    21. "To advance my career in the field of education technology, developing innovative tools that facilitate learning and growth.". 22. "Seeking to become a master electrician, overseeing complex projects and mentoring apprentices in the trade.". 23.

  2. Steps to an Effective Career Goals Statement with Examples

    A career goals statement, also known as a personal statement or a statement of purpose, is a written assertion of your long-term professional goals. A personal statement is your plan for success and the measure for where you want your career to head. They are a statement of your professional intentions and reveal commitment to your craft.

  3. 16 Winning Personal Statement Examples (And Why They Work)

    Here are 16 personal statement examples—both school and career—to help you create your own: 1. Personal statement example for graduate school. A personal statement for graduate school differs greatly from one to further your professional career. It is usually an essay, rather than a brief paragraph. Here is an example of a personal ...

  4. Career Statement: How to Write One and Why It Matters

    Mapping out your steps will eliminate potential stressors and procrastination. Example: "I'm going to create a timeline for myself to write the novel, including the brainstorming, writing, and revising process. This will help keep me on pace and focused on each section as it comes.". 6. Make adjustments when needed.

  5. 4 Career Goals Statement Examples You Can Learn From

    As the name implies, a career goals statement is your personal vision for the future of your career. Think of it as the ultimate target that you're aiming toward. For example, perhaps you're currently employed as a marketing analyst, but your long-term career plan is to start your own marketing agency that primarily serves software clients.

  6. Career Goal Statements: Definition, Importance and 6 Examples

    Definition and Examples. 5. Develop an action plan. Once you know what your long-term goals are, develop an official action plan using the knowledge you've gathered. Think about the steps you need to take to achieve your goals and include these in your career goal statement. Include any education, skills courses, mentorship and other ...

  7. What Are Career Goals? 15 Examples & How to Set Them

    Setting work goals that align your career with personal milestones helps you build an action plan that seeks harmony, enriching both dimensions of your life. 15 career goals examples. While dreaming up potential career goals, seeing examples can inspire and motivate you. Here are some short-term, long-term, and continuous goals to set for your ...

  8. How To Write a Career Goal Statement in 6 Steps (With Tips)

    When submitting a job application with an email that includes your cover letter and resume, you can write your career goal statement in the email's body. 6. Revisit and update your plan. Your goals may continue to change and develop as you advance in your career.

  9. What is a career goal statement? (With tips and examples)

    A career goal statement is a personal statement providing a written description of your long-term plans for your career based on specific targets and outcomes. Your goal statement is unique to your aspirations. For example, you may aim to receive a promotion, improve your education or take over specific responsibilities as a career goal.

  10. 6 Common Career Goals (And Examples)

    Short-term goals: Attend seminars and training sessions, take a class, explore a hobby, learn a new skill, research various career paths, request informational interviews, network with people in different industries, find a career coach. Long-term goals: Master a new skill, incorporate a new skill into your career, find a mentor.

  11. How to Write a Personal Mission Statement

    A good formula you can use to write a personal mission statement is as follows: "I am committed to [your core values and beliefs] and strive to [your long-term goals and aspirations]. My mission is to [your mission or purpose] by [how you plan to achieve it] to [the impact or legacy you want to create] .".

  12. How to Write Your Personal Statement

    A personal statement is a short essay of around 500-1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you're applying. ... You should demonstrate that you've put plenty of thought into your career plans and show why you're well-suited to this profession.

  13. Writing a Personal Statement

    A personal statement is a narrative essay that connects your background, experiences, and goals to the mission, requirements, and desired outcomes of the specific opportunity you are seeking. It is a critical component in the selection process, whether the essay is for a competitive internship, a graduate fellowship, or admittance to a graduate school program.

  14. Sample Career Vision Statements for Career Planning

    Career Vision Statement Sample #1: To touch the lives of as many people as possible, empowering them to achieve personal and career happiness and success. I plan to achieve this career vision through one-on-one learning situations (teaching and coaching); creating and publishing empowering and uplifting web content (career college success ...

  15. How to Write a Personal Statement

    Watch out for cliches like "making a difference," "broadening my horizons," or "the best thing that ever happened to me." 3. Stay focused. Try to avoid getting off-track or including tangents in your personal statement. Stay focused by writing a first draft and then re-reading what you've written.

  16. 9 winning personal statement examples for a job

    Here are some examples of personal and professional statements: 1. Personal statement for a postgraduate programme. Joan David Personal statement for master's programme in Public Policy and Administration London School of Policy 'I held my first textbook when I was a 23-year-old undergraduate.

  17. How To Map a Clear Career Plan (With Example)

    Attainable: Your end goal should have at least a 50 percent chance of being achieved. Relevant: Make sure each milestone and the end goal are important and relevant to your desired outcome. Time-bound: Your plan should fit within a specified time frame. 7. Create a plan of action.

  18. How to write an excellent personal statement in 10 steps

    Use your closing couple of lines to summarise the most important points in your statement. 9. Check your writing thoroughly and get someone else to check it, too. 10. Give your brain a rest by forgetting about your personal statement for a while before going back to review it one last time with fresh eyes.

  19. 7 Meaningful Answers to "What are Your Career Aspirations?" in an

    Example: "My career aspirations are centered around constant growth and skill enhancement. I am committed to staying updated with the latest trends and technologies in the industry. In the coming year, I plan to pursue specialized certifications and attend industry conferences to learn from experts. By continuously improving my skills, I aim to ...

  20. How to Write a Personal Statement for a Scholarship + Examples

    That said, it is of the utmost importance that you find a focus. First, think about both your goals and your values. Types of goals include: Career goals. Goals for personal growth. The type of friend you want to be. The change you want to make in the world. Values could include: Authenticity.

  21. Academic Personal Statement Guide + Examples for 2024

    Academic Vs CV Personal Statement 7 Steps to Write an Academic Personal Statement #1. Read the Brief (Carefully!) #2. Research the Program #3. Plan Your Statement #4. Look at Example Statements #5. Structure the Contents #6. Pay Attention to the Language #7.

  22. 15 Best Examples of Professional Goals [+Tips to Achieve Them]

    Pro tip: After making your list of desired skills, use the SMART goals framework to create an actionable learning plan. 4. Start a Podcast. Kaitlin Milliken, Senior Program Manager HubSpot, made starting a podcast one of her professional goals. Podcasting is a great way to gain technical and interviewing skills.

  23. Improve Your Professional and Personal Life in One Year

    This is step three: Identify how you feel about your thoughts. This can be tough, because many of us never learned how to sit with our feelings and we spend a lot of time trying to avoid them. But we can't address them, and can't change them, until we can identify them. Actions. This is what we do (or, many times, what we don't do) in ...

  24. How To Write a Good Personal Statement (With Examples)

    Include information that describes more about you than the details in your transcript. 5. Identify your plans for the future. Part of your personal statement can include future goals and ambitions. Explain what can happen if you gain acceptance to the university of your choice or you receive the job you want.

  25. How to Become a Financial Advisor

    In my experience, financial advisors should ideally have: An ability to build and maintain strong client relationships. A keen ear to actively listen to a client's financial worries and goals. The ...

  26. Dominic Thiem confirms retirement rumors, plans to end career after

    00:00. 03:59. Dominic Thiem confirmed rumors that he planned to retire from tennis on Friday, releasing a video statement explaining his decision to end his career at the end of the year. "I ...

  27. Body camera video shows fatal shooting of Black airman by Florida

    Crump released a statement later noting that the officer did not tell Fortson to drop his gun before shooting "multiple times within a split second of the door being opened."

  28. 20 Career Goals Examples (And Tips for Setting Them)

    20 examples of career goals. Here are 20 examples of career goals to help you determine what you want to accomplish in your professional life: 1. Improve performance. Consider setting a goal to improve your job performance, including your productivity and efficiency. This may help you grow quickly as a professional.

  29. How Drake Can Recover After Kendrick Lamar Battle Loss

    After a hellacious heavyweight feud between two of rap's top superstars, Kendrick Lamar and Drake, the court of public opinion seems poised to announce the Compton MC as the victor. For now ...

  30. Politics latest: Keir Starmer sets out what he'll do to tackle small

    Follow live updates as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer sets out his party's plans to try and tackle small boat crossings if it wins power.