Defining your Career Objectives

Now that you are clear about your strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities available to you, start thinking about where you want to go.

Create a career “mission statement” that sets out your long-term career aspirations.  Break this down into a set of Major Career Goals that will help you achieve your mission.



Just as all good corporations create a statement of their intended purpose, you too must define the basic direction of your career.  This is an important and necessary starting point for your Personal Development Plan.  It sets the compass direction, and the plan itself then maps the route you’ll take.

Take some time and decide what you want to do.  Consider these questions:

  • What do you intend to accomplish?
  • Why is this accomplishment important to you?
  • What values are at the core of your decision?
  • Does this make you feel you’re making a significant contribution to society?
  • What deep emotional value or meaning does this have for you?
  • How do you want others to perceive you?

Write your career mission statement – remember this is your long-term vision for yourself.  A typical mission statement will give you a five-year perspective (it’s hard to know what your life will look like in five years), but this can be modified to suit your needs.

A career mission statement is very personal so there’s no formula for writing one.  For example, one person might choose a very specific mission such as “To be a finance director by the time I am 45”, while another’s could be less specific, perhaps “To really make a difference and improve the quality of care for the elderly in my town”.

Spend a little time drafting and redrafting your mission statement until it’s a punch and motivating statement of where you want to go.  You’ll record it on your personal development plan later.


Use your mission statement as a guide and break down your long-term objective into manageable pieces.  These will be your Major Career Goals – the steps toward accomplishing your mission.   Keep track of these goals to ensure that your personal development plan is on the right path.    For example:  Your mission statement is to be a finance director by the time you reach 45.  That is five years away.  What major accomplishments do you need to achieve within those five years to get to that position?  Management accounting qualifications? Experience in another division?

To help work out what your major career goals (at least 3-6) are, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you need to upgrade your education or qualifications?
  • Do you need to gain a promotion from your current position?
  • Do you need to gain experience in a particular department?
  • Do you need to move to a different organisation or industry? This question requires serious thought – are you in a comfort zone?
  • Do you have to master a particular skill or set of skills?

If appropriate, you may want to include your current manager in the discussion as well.  You will need assistance and information along the way in terms of support and perhaps access to training.  Enlist the help of a professional body in the area, or of people who are in a position to help or advise you (those already in the career).

How is your personal development plan looking? Next week we will be discussing the final stage of creating an action plan and how you can start putting what is on paper to practice!

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