Exploring Best Ways to Answer “What is Your Future Plan?”
As individuals embark on their academic journey, the question “what is your career plan?” often arises. It’s a question that can evoke a mix of excitement, uncertainty, and even anxiety. For some, the answer may come easily, while for others, it can be a daunting task to articulate their aspirations and goals. Nonetheless, having a well-thought-out career plan is crucial in today’s fast-paced and competitive job market.
According to a report by Reliable Plant, only 20% of people actually set their goals, out of which only 14% are able to achieve them or work towards them. According to Bigger Pockets, people who set goals are ten times more likely to succeed in life, implying how essential setting your career goals can be.
If you’re hoping to find answers to questions like “What is your future plan?”, keep reading to gather more insights on how to set career goals and answer this question if asked in an official setting!
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What is a Career Goal?
Before initiating your quest to find the right answer, let’s explore what exactly is a career goal.
A career goal is a long-term plan that outlines the desired outcome of an individual’s career and the steps needed to achieve it. Career goals can range from achieving a certain job title or salary to acquiring specific skills or expertise. They are essential for individuals to stay focused and motivated in their career journey and to achieve personal and professional growth. Setting career goals can also help individuals to identify potential career paths, evaluate job opportunities, and make informed decisions about their future.
Why Should You Have a Career Goal?
A career goal is important as it provides direction and purpose to your professional life. Here are a few reasons why you should have a career goal:
It helps you focus
A career goal helps you focus your efforts and energy in a particular direction, making it easier to stay on track and achieve your desired outcome.
When you have a clear career goal, it can provide you with the motivation to work harder and overcome obstacles along the way.
Enables you to make better decisions
Knowing what you want to achieve in your career can help you make better decisions about the types of jobs, training, and education you need to pursue to achieve your goals.
Helps you measure progress
Having a career goal allows you to measure your progress over time and adjust your strategy as needed.
Increases job satisfaction
When you have a career goal, you are more likely to feel fulfilled and satisfied in your work because you are working towards something meaningful to you.
Types of Career Goals
In order to aptly answer the “What is your career plan?” question, you need to explore some of the best careers available for aspirants!
These goals involve developing your leadership skills and abilities. Examples of leadership goals include becoming a team leader, managing a department, or leading a project team.
These goals relate to obtaining additional education or training to advance your career, such as earning a graduate degree, attending a professional development course, or completing a certification program.
Skill Development Goals
These goals relate to building your skills and competencies in areas such as public speaking, project management, or data analysis. By developing these skills, you can increase your value to your organisation and improve your career prospects.
Network Development Goals
A strong network of business connections is essential when considering a career shift. In other words, getting over your shyness and engaging in peer networking is entirely worthwhile.
How to answer ‘What are your career goals’ – What to say and what not to say?
When answering the question “What is your career plan?” in an interview, it’s important to strike a balance between being ambitious and realistic. Here are some tips on what to say and what not to say:
What to say:
Clearly articulate your short-term and long-term career goals, and explain how you plan to achieve them. For example,
Short-term goal – To develop your skills in a particular area
Long-term goal – To take on a leadership role in your field
Tie your goals to the job
Show how your career goals align with the position you are interviewing for. For example, if you are interviewing for a marketing position, you can explain how your career goal is to become a top-notch marketer and that you are excited about the opportunity to work for a company with a strong marketing team.
Emphasise your commitment
Let the interviewer know you are committed to achieving your career goals and willing to work hard to make them a reality. For example, you can present how keen you are to upskill and willing to take on extra projects or attend training programs to stay current.
What not to say:
- Avoid being too general or vague when describing your career goals. Saying that you want to “be successful” or “make a lot of money” doesn’t provide any insight into what you really want to achieve in your career.
- While being ambitious is good, don’t set unrealistic or unachievable goals. For example, saying you want to be the CEO of a top company within five years may be unrealistic and make the interviewer question your judgment.
- Don’t just tell the interviewer what you think they want to hear. Be honest about your career goals and how you plan to achieve them. If you are unsure about your goals, it’s okay to say you are still exploring different options and opportunities.
Let’s explore a few samples of what are your future plans best answers:
Sample Answer for Freshers –
“In the short term, my goal is to develop skills further and gain more experience in digital marketing campaigns. I aim to explore more responsibilities and work on larger projects to broaden my skills and knowledge in this field.”
“My long-term career goal is to become a marketing manager at a reputable company. I plan to gain more experience in managing campaigns, develop my leadership skills, and build a strong network in the industry to achieve this goal.”
Sample answer for Executives
“My short-term career goal is to gain more experience and become proficient in using analytical tools. I plan to attend training programs and take online courses to develop my skills in this area.”
“In the next five years, I hope to become an expert in data analysis and work as a senior data analyst for a major organisation. I plan to attend conferences and events to build my network and gain exposure to advancing industry trends and practices.”
Sample Answer to Becoming a Manager/Director
“By the next year, I hope to assume a supervisory role in my department and gain experience managing a team. I believe this will help me develop my leadership skills and prepare me for future management roles.”
“My long-term career goal is to become a director of operations for a leading brand. I plan to gain experience in different company areas, such as finance, marketing, and sales, to develop a broad understanding of how organisations operate. I also plan to attend leadership training programs to improve my management and communication skills.”
Tips to Answer the Question
Here are some tips to get you through the interview process –
Make your career goals clear
- Briefly discuss your current career stances, like your current role or industry.
- State your specific career goal or aspirations, such as a desired job title, industry, or type of work.
- Explain why this goal is valuable to you, such as your passion for the work, desire for professional growth, or long-term career aspirations.
- Highlight any relevant skills or experience that makes you a strong fit for this career goal.
The answer should be focused
Try to be as specific as possible about your future career plans. Avoid vague statements like “I want to work in a big company.” Instead, say something like, “I would like to be a part of your marketing team”.
Highlight your skills
Talk about the skills and strengths that make you a good fit for your chosen career. From proficiency in programming languages like Python or SQ to being an efficient leader, highlight your most valuable skills.
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Show your knowledge
Demonstrate your knowledge of the industry or field you want to work in. Discuss any research you’ve done, certifications you’ve earned, or relevant experience you’ve gained.
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How upGrad can help?
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upGrad, being one of the leading education platforms in India, has multiple resources to help students progress professionally. Their expansive catalogue of in-demand courses can help you develop world-class business acumen and open several global opportunities. The flexible learning environment and real-world experience offered under upGrad work as fuel to assist learners in staying aligned with evolving trends and tech advancements to advance in their careers.
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