Tough Interview Question - How do you plan to achieve your career goals?

How do you plan to achieve your career goals?

Similar interview questions:
What effort do you plan to put forward to accomplish your career goals?
What are the next steps for you in your career development plan?
How will this job align with your career goals?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer often asks this question as a follow-up to the more generic "What are your career goals?" question. It is one thing to talk about career goals, it takes it to the next level when you need to talk about what you are going (or will be doing) to achieve them. So this question is designed to find out if you have progressed forward with your career goals to begin actually mapping out a plan or strategy for achieving your goals.

The best approach to answering this question:
Talk about what you have done to date, then lead into your specific plans for what you will be doing in the future. Tie it in as closely as possible to the job for which you are interviewing.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"I have a plan in place for becoming certified over the next two years. I have already taken the first certification exam and will be taking the second certification exam in the coming year. So I am on track to reach my certification goals. By having my certification in place, it will also help me in achieving my broader goal of becoming a Senior Investment Analyst by developing my technical skills needed to take on higher level analyses. Let me give you an example of this…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"My academic experience has provided me with an excellent foundation for my career and I will be graduating in the top 10% of my class. The internship I had last summer has given me some excellent experience in the field which has further broadened out my foundation. I look forward to working full-time as a _____ and gaining more practical work experience. So my near term focus will be to develop my skills in my role so that I will be ready if and when future opportunities for internal advancement come about. Let me give you an example of this…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"I know I need additional training to become more effective, but I just don't have the time for it right now. What can you offer me in terms of training?"


Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!


Further review: know the answers to these Fifty Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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