A Step-By-Step Guide To Creating a Personal Vision Statement
Updated April 28, 2023
Many professionals use personal vision statements to support their career plans. Personal vision statements can keep you focused on long-term goals and help you set realistic short-term goals, and are useful when you are pursuing job opportunities and leadership roles.
In this article, we discuss what a personal vision statement is, explain how to write an effective vision statement and review examples to guide you in creating your own.
What is a personal vision statement?
A personal vision statement is a brief summary of your ultimate career goal and key attributes. You may also see such statements referred to as “career mission statements” or “career vision statements.”
The vision statement typically communicates your goal in 30 to 40 words. That goal could be anything from becoming a top engineer to becoming the first female CEO of a particular company. Developing a clear career statement can help establish a path toward a final goal that helps you navigate career challenges, changes in the job market and professional success.
Components of a personal vision statement
Short- and long-term goals: One of the key components of a personal vision statement is your short and long-term goals. Long-term goals relate to your overall professional development, while your short-term goals can serve as steps that help you get there.
Values: Knowing tour personal values and principles may help you determine how to achieve your goal. Values might include honesty, creativity, loyalty, open-mindedness or community.
Interests: Adding your interests or passions to your personal statement can help remind you about the reasons behind your goals. For example, your passion for helping others might inspire you to set a long-term goal of becoming a firefighter or nonprofit director.
Skills: Include your skills in your personal vision statement to help evaluate what your strengths are and what abilities you might want to work on.
Difference you hope to make: Consider ultimately the value that you want to bring to your client, community or even the world. Share this in your personal statement to help convey to others what motivates you to pursue your goals.
How to write a personal vision statement
These steps can guide you through the process of writing a personal vision statement:
1. Identify your strengths
Knowing your strengths and how to apply them make you a more desirable job candidate. Perhaps your math skills have always stood out, enabling you to work out complex calculations in a matter of seconds. Or maybe you're extremely organized, whether that be in managing other people or planning a major event.
Here are some steps to help you identify your strengths:
List your skills: Write down the things you're good at, whether it's a school subject, practical activity or soft skill, like teamwork. You can also choose skills that represent your passions and the activities you enjoy to determine options you may not have considered before.
Identify your marketable skills: Narrow down your strengths to the ones most important to the job market and the field you are interested in. Come up with three to five strengths, some of which may complement each other.
Make positive declarations of your abilities: View your skills as ways to make improvements in your future role. When it comes to using your statement to advance your career, approach the job market with positivity and confidence in order to convince potential employers that you're the best candidate for the job.
2. Reflect on your values
Your values are linked to your attitude and professional approach. Determining your core values is a key step in developing your career vision statement. Working toward a long-term goal is easier if you really believe in its purpose.
The following questions can guide you as you try to identify your core values:
Is it important that your work gives back to society?
Do you prioritize work-life balance?
Are you motivated by inspiring others?
Do you believe in taking responsibility for your own actions?
3. Get a different point of view
To gain a wider perspective of your values, consider the following:
Ask those who know you best: Close friends or family members can identify what they think your values are. Since you interact with them on a regular basis, they can tell what they believe matters to you, what drives you and what makes you happy.
Take an online values test: These tests provide you with information about your personality and beliefs, both of which can help determine your values. Answer the questions as honestly as you can, and the results can show you what it is you truly value.
If your values counter your established goals, consider altering your goal to one that is related to, but still maintains, your core values. Once you're clear about your own values, you may be in a better position to decide on an appropriate career goal.
4. Evaluate your skills
Another key stage in developing your vision statement is to decide how your personal abilities and beliefs can solve problems. Identify what potential issues you may encounter in your career and determine how your skills and attributes make a positive impact.
Take some time to think about your answers to these questions:
What issues are you passionate about?
Are there issues that your personal strengths are particularly well-suited to tackling?
Are there certain issues, like human rights or financial regulation, that fit well with your core values?
By answering these questions, you can develop a shortlist of potential areas of work that interest you. In the next stage, you can work on narrowing them down to decide on a specific career.
5. Select your desired position
After determining how your skills impact real-world problems, find a career path that aligns with your goals. Follow these steps to help you narrow down your options:
Choose your field. Select the field you want to work in, such as medicine, finance or law. At this stage, try to simply narrow your focus to a broad field of jobs.
Pick the role. Decide on the job you ideally want to have in the field, such as a doctor, bank manager or lawyer. Select a job you can realistically achieve within the medium-term, such as the next four to six years, so you can have a goal with a greater motivational impact on your day-to-day work.
Set role-specific goals. Write down some of the things you hope to accomplish in the role. This step may be asking yourself the question, “why do I want this particular job?“
It's okay to take time. You likely won't do this in one sitting or get them perfect the first time. Revising your goals and personal vision statement is natural, but it's best to start one so you can see what's working and what's not. Once you've got this information together, write your career vision statement and put it into action.
6. Write your vision statement
Aim to keep the statement concise while giving enough detail to make it unique. The statement can be written in two sentences, which helps keep it brief and to the point. Here's a sentence-by-sentence breakdown to make the most of this short, concise statement:
First sentence: Simply state the field you want to work in or the specific job you want to have. For instance, you may write that you want to be an insurance broker for a large insurer or a mechanical engineer at a top company.
Second sentence: Explain your reason for setting the career goal in your first sentence. Perhaps you want to make improvements to how insurance policies are sold to young people or develop new technology for the oil sector.
When you're finished, review your completed statement. Ideally, your personal vision statement can now clearly point to your career goal and say why you want to get there. If it needs more specificity or clarity, revise it until the two sentences clearly explain what you want to achieve in your career and why.
Using your personal vision statement
With your statement complete, you can begin using it to advance your career. Here are some ways to integrate your personal vision statement into your work life:
Review it every day: Write your statement on an index card, and keep it in a prominent place you can see it often. If you work in an office, it could be on your desk. Alternatively, you may choose to display the card somewhere at home so you see it when you get up in the morning or do work tasks from home.
Let it guide your job search: Use your statement to keep your final goal in mind when searching for new jobs. Choose your next step based on what role gets you closer to your goal, and invest your energy in applying for jobs that get you where you want to be.
Include your vision statement in your resume: The best place to add your career vision statement is to your objectives section. This placement gives potential employers a clear idea of how your previous education and work experience translates into your ambitions for the future.
Revising your statement
Part of your career development involves reassessing and possibly changing your goals. As you pursue new opportunities and gain more experience, consider altering your vision statement to take account of the new situation.
Decide why you need to change your statement: While changing your career direction is common, it's important to make sure you understand your specific reasons for doing so. When reviewing your statement, you may find that your statement can lead you to a new direction.
Reevaluate your new career goal: You can introduce your new goal into your vision statement by following many of the same steps you went through to write it the first time. On this revision, you have the benefit of experience to help you decide whether you want to pursue a different role in the same field or totally change direction.
Rewrite your statement: Depending on what your new goal is, you may need to either partially or entirely rewrite the statement.
As your career progresses, you may want to write a new statement to outline your next goal. The techniques you in this guide can continue to be useful as your career progresses.
Related: How To Change Careers
Personal vision statement examples
Here are some examples of what a personal vision statement could look like. Remember that your statement is meant to express who you are as an individual and what you ultimately hope to achieve in your career. Use these examples as inspiration.
My career goal is to become a doctor working in a large hospital. I've always wanted to help people live healthy lives and cure illnesses.
I want to work with young people in the community as a social worker. My talent as an approachable person and my strong commitment to justice have inspired me to assist others who are less fortunate.
My career goal is to become the CEO of a technology company. I'm driven by technology's ability to affect global communication and dedicated to providing technological solutions to empower underrepresented populations.
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