Career Aspirations: 5 Examples (Plus How To Form an Answer)

By Jamie Birt

Updated August 30, 2022 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated August 30, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

Jamie Birt is a career coach with 5+ years of experience helping job seekers navigate the job search through one-to-one coaching, webinars and events. She’s motivated by the mission to help people find fulfillment and belonging in their careers.

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Most interviewers will ask job candidates questions about their career aspirations. Understanding your career aspirations and being able to relate them to each position you apply for can help your chances of being hired. When preparing for an interview, you should consider how you would answer this common question about your future goals.

In this article, we discuss the reasoning behind this interview question and provide sample answers for a few different positions.

Key takeaways:

  • Interviewers ask this question to determine whether your career goals align with the role and company

  • Answer honestly and explain how the role fits into your long-term goals and aspirations

  • Offer only professional aspirations, such as leadership roles, expertise or business ownership.

Why employers ask about your career aspirations

Employers ask about your career aspirations as a way to see how well your goals align with theirs. They want to get an idea of how committed you will be to your job and how long you plan on staying with the company. They also want to see if the position you are applying for makes sense for your ideal career. Questions about your career aspirations can help employers understand your motivations other than salary and benefits.

Related: Top 10 Career Development Goals

5 examples of career aspirations

People develop their career aspirations based on their talents, personal values, ideal lifestyle and other factors. Consider your interests and values when brainstorming ideas for your response to questions about your goals. Career aspirations can be influenced by whichever factors are most important to you. Some examples of career aspirations are:

1. Managerial success

Many people seek out secure managerial roles where they are responsible for large departments and projects. Manager jobs are desirable because they offer increased compensation, benefits and ability to make changes at work. Companies often hire for manager positions by promoting current employees, so showing interest in being a manager shows that you plan on staying at the company for a long time.

Related: 15 Effective Managerial Skills and Tips for Improving

2. Executive positions

Moving through the corporate ranks and earning a job at the executive level is a common career goal. Executives have a high level of power, authority and influence. They are often in charge of large and extensive projects, companies and operations. Sharing your goal to be an executive shows an interviewer that you are ambitious and motivated.

Read more: Learn About Being a CEO (Chief Executive Officer)

3. Owning a business

Owning a business can provide people with personal and financial freedom. Many people have the goal of being an entrepreneur in their area of expertise. An aspiration to become a business owner shows drive and passion, however, it may not be best to express this desire when seeking a position at another company because you might be perceived as someone not intending to stay for long.

Related: 10 Pros and Cons of Being a Small Business Owner

4. Becoming an expert

Becoming an expert in a field is a common career aspiration, especially in academic and scientific fields. In order to achieve this goal, you must be devoted to your education and able to publish new contributions to your field. People who are well-known as experts in their field can also expand their career opportunities by becoming a consultant.

Related: 11 Steps To Become an Expert in Your Field

5. Earning acclaim and prestige

Many people have career goals to earn awards, win competitions and get recognition within their field. Some awards are seen as a standard of success and excellence in a line of work. If you have the aspiration of earning acclaim and a prestigious award, you have to be dedicated to your work and willing to take risks for success. Both of these qualities can be very attractive to employers.

Related: A Guide To Power Motivation

How to answer questions about your career aspirations

Talking about your career goals can be challenging, especially if you're still considering different career options. When interviewing for a job, stay focused on how well you would benefit from the job and vice versa. Here are steps you can take when developing an answer to interview questions about your career aspirations:

  1. Consider why you want the job. Before the interview, think carefully about why you want the job you are applying for. Think about possible ways you could learn and grow from working in that position. Think about how this job will support your long-term goals.

  2. Focus on your career. When answering this question, avoid mentioning goals that are not related to your career. While your salary is an important factor in choosing a job, focus on other measures of success during the interview.

  3. Relate your aspirations to the position. As you discuss your career goals, relate them back to the job that you are applying for. Mention aspirations that make use of skills you would use at this job.

  4. Show dedication. Telling the interviewer that you plan to commit to a career path for a significant amount of time can make them more interested in spending time and resources hiring and training you.

  5. Emphasize growth. Regardless of your aspirations, you should describe some sort of growth in order to show the interviewer your ambition and potential.

Related: 12 Examples of Career Goals for Professional Growth

"What are your career aspirations?" example answers

When answering this question, personalize the answer to the position as much as possible. You can impress the interviewer by having many goals in common with the job description. Use these example answers as a guide when practicing for an interview question about your career aspirations.

Related: Interview Question: "What Are Your Future Goals?"

Example 1: Human Resources Manager

I have a passion for human resources and working with employees to improve their quality of life through support and communication. One of my main goals is to develop my knowledge of human capital management and promote employee wellness programs. Within the next 10 years, I hope to move into a position as a human resources director at a midsize nonprofit like this one, where I can implement innovative programming.

Example 2: Social Studies Teacher

I love teaching 4th-grade social studies and feel lucky that I discovered my passion so early in my career. I hope to find a school that I can work at for a long time in order to build relationships in my community and make a lasting difference. I hope to work in a position that supports my professional development so that I can continually learn new teaching techniques to best support my students.

Example 3: Graphic Designer

After completing my Master's of Fine Arts in Design, I became especially interested in how organizations build identity through their design suite. I also have an interest in creating the most accessible and versatile designs for use on the web and in print. One of my lifetime goals is to win an International Design Award, which I plan to do by challenging myself to be a creative force on behalf of my clients.

Related: How to Talk About Career Aspirations in an Interview

Jenn shows how to strategically speak about career aspirations in an interview to highlight alignment with a company and show investment in the role.

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