Essay About Career Goals: Top 5 Examples and 3 Prompts

Career goals are milestones that demonstrate your development. Read some examples for inspiration to write a thought-provoking essay about career goals. 

Why might you need to write an essay about your career goals? When applying for universities, internships, and full-time jobs, you may be asked about your plans for the future. This helps the company or individual decide whether you are a good fit for the position.

Setting career goals can start with making a vision board, jotting down your aspirations, or even telling loved ones about them. There is no need to start big; it can be as simple as learning a new language or skill. It’s the process that counts, and the process can be ongoing and will likely lead you to identify further goals. 

If you want or need to write an essay about career goals, here are some examples to give you inspiration and some prompts to help you choose your own approach to the essay.

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1. My career goals changed after uni, and that’s okay by Hazel M.

“If life has taught me anything, it’s that planning too far in advance can be more troublesome than it’s worth. I still have 30 years left before retirement and I’m open to anything – who knows? Maybe that editor job will happen after all. The most important thing, however, is not to be disappointed if it doesn’t; to appreciate the here and now, and pause long enough to look at how far you’ve already come. So, if your plan doesn’t pan out (or several years in you realise it might not be for you), that’s okay. You haven’t failed or disappointed anyone, you’ve just taken a different path. Chances are, you’re exactly where you need to be.”

Here the author describes how different her life is compared to how she envisioned it in her youth. When establishing her career goals, she planned to work as the editor of a national newspaper; however, she is not dissatisfied with the path her life has taken. 

Hazel M. initially pursued her goals by moving to London but soon realized she preferred a different location and a line of work she could manage independently. Setting goals for the future is always sensible, but never be afraid to choose a different path if you feel your current route is not working. The author demonstrates that choosing goals is a fluid and ongoing process. 

2. How My Career Goals & Self-Perception Have Changed Now That I’m In My 30s by Audrey Gonzalez

“When I think back over the last decade, it’s a little weird to recognize just how much I’ve changed, both in my attitude toward my career and my perception of myself. I’ve gone from coasting along with whatever job pays the bills to actively broadening my marketable skills, and from constantly second-guessing my adulthood to being adult enough to say I don’t know, but I will soon.”

Similar to the previous essay, Gonzalez details how her life has deviated from her original plans. She realizes she was only doing jobs to stay financially stable and that her career goals were not as well-thought-out as she had believed. She also began to see herself as an adult rather than a mere student or an intern. 

Finally, Gonzalez realized that by taking a more proactive approach, bolstering her existing skills, and learning new ones, she could access broader and more rewarding opportunities. Gonzalez’s essay perfectly shows how career goals should not only be about money.

3. How to keep your career goals on track by Clare Whitmell

“Persistent effort and the willpower to stay the course are the fundamentals for achieving any sort of change. But you’ll also need a strategy for staying motivated when you experience setbacks and obstacles. Learn from these and use them as a spur to change what isn’t working rather than allowing them to chip away at your self-confidence.”

Whitmell gives readers tips on how to formulate career goals that are targeted, measurable, realistic, and achievable in a given timeframe. An essential piece of advice she gives is to have a positive mindset and be confident in yourself. 

Being determined, confident, and optimistic will help you bounce back from whatever setbacks you may encounter at any point in your career. And we all experience setbacks; however, they must be viewed as an opportunity for growth and part of the learning curve.

4. My dad scorns my career goals. How do I keep us from falling out? by Annalisa Barbieri

“Your dad may never understand you in the way you want, but that shouldn’t result in a broken relationship. He should respect your choices, because they will be the building blocks of your life, not his. You are a whole different person from him, with your own fears and hopes. These are worthy of discussion.”

Barbieri responds to a reader at odds with her father over her career goals in this article. The author recommends finding the right time for the reader to talk to her father and finding common ground regarding the reader’s career goals. These goals reflect her passions, and even if her father disagrees with them, he should at least respect them. 

5. Why Career Plans Are Not Always The Answer by Melody Wilding

“The idea of a five-year plan is so popular because it promises certainty –– that if we follow a linear path to success, happiness will follow.

But trying to predict the future is a losing battle. It’s impossible to know what your priorities will be a few years from now, let alone the opportunities you’ll be presented with.”

In her article, Wilding writes about how strict career goals are not always beneficial. She discusses how they can leave you obsessed and “stuck” trying to fulfill these goals. She also provides insight on how to plan your career, including pursuing your passions, using failure for improvement, and not looking too far into the future. 

Top 5 Writing Prompts On Essay About Career Goals

1. What are the benefits of having a solid set of career goals?

Having career goals can help you feel prepared for the future. But what good does it do? Discuss the benefits of setting career goals. Include the drawbacks of having a fixed plan too early and the importance of revisiting it incrementally. Remember, your dreams and aspirations will change as you progress through life, and your goals should accommodate this.

2. Should you disregard others’ input when setting career goals?

We have heard about basing career goals on “what you want.” However, should you still listen to the opinions of others, such as your parents, as is the dilemma in Barbieri’s essay? Or should you follow your gut? The people closest to us know us well and sometimes better than we know ourselves. How do we choose when to take advice and when to follow our instincts. You can include career advice services offered to teenagers and school leavers. This advice is sometimes based on a snapshot of a person by an unfamiliar advisor. Is this advice valid?

3. When it comes to career goals, is there a blueprint to success?

essay about career goals: When it comes to career goals, is there a blueprint to success?
Look at the examples of recognizable entrepreneurs and compare the steps they took to develop and achieve their goals

Explore the process of developing career goals. Look at the examples of recognizable entrepreneurs and compare the steps they took to develop and achieve their goals. Are there similarities between their methods? Is it possible for someone to take a blueprint to success and apply it to their own career path?

4. Guidance on Setting Career Goals in the Education Sector

Analyze the current system for helping students develop career goals within your country or state and compare it with other countries. Look at the most effective strategies and back them up with statistical data. How are we teaching young people to plan for their future, and is there scope for improvement? You can include your personal experiences of career support for comparison.

5. Does the socioeconomic status of an area affect the career goals of a population?

Pick a locality, region, or country and assess the socioeconomic status. Then discuss how this may affect the aspirations of the population, particularly those leaving education. You might consider populations dominated by industries such as mining or manufacturing. Does the nature of the environment hamper potential or does it fuel determination to achieve alternative career options. Include some examples of your findings.

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