Regardless if you are interviewing for an entry-level or experienced position, it is not uncommon for a hiring manager to ask, "How do you plan to achieve your career goals?"
This question is often asked after you have been asked about what specifically your goals are. Pretty much everyone has goals, but the quality that separates good candidates from the great ones is that a great applicant will actively be taking steps to achieve those goals.
This question is designed to figure out if you actually have a strategy in place to get to where you want to be rather than just having a vague outline.
Points to Emphasize
This question is a chance for you to talk about your accomplishments and what you are planning on doing in the future.
- Talk about what you have already accomplished and how you went about achieving that milestone.
- Relate your goals to the position you are applying for.
- Go into details about the plans you have for the future.
- Mention how getting this job will set you on the right path for achieving your objectives.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Answering a question about your goals should be easy, but there are a lot of mistakes candidates fall into. Make sure to avoid falling for these common tricks.
- Don't say you don't have any goals at all.
- Don't be vague with your goals.
- Don't say that you have goals but that you haven't done anything to achieve them.
- Avoid mentioning any setback that may have prevented you from achieving some milestone.
It is okay to not have achieved everything you want in life, but you should show that you have a clear vision in mind and are taking the steps to make your dreams a reality.
Your specific answer should be customized to reflect your own personal goals and the steps you have taken to achieve them, but a good response should generally be formatted like this:
My education has provided me with a great framework to achieve my goals. I graduated summa cum laude, and I had an internship last spring with a publishing company that provided me with great real world experience. I look forward to working as a full-time assistant in order to gain more experience within the field.
Going into the specifics will really help sell your response, so you should be thoroughly prepared to answer this question if it comes up.