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What is an aspiration statement, and should you write one?

October 13, 2022 - 13 min read

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What is a career statement?

Why are career statements important?

How to write a career statement

Career statement examples

Start writing

There’s value in living in the present. Checking off a list of to-dos. But when you take each moment as it comes, never turning your attention to the future, the days — and your career — grow stagnant.

Writing a career statement can help.

We know we’re throwing another assignment on your plate when it’s already full. But writing this statement isn’t time-consuming and will help you progress toward real growth.

And if you haven’t taken the time to write down your professional goals, a career goal statement is a good exercise to tackle before jumping in on your career statement.

This might sound like too much work, but it’s well worth it. Studies have shown people who write down their goals are 76% likely to achieve them versus 43% for those who don’t. Dedicating a little time to writing a goal statement today can go a long way toward bettering your tomorrow.

We’ll make it easier with a template. But first, let’s look at what exactly a career statement is — and why we think it’s a valuable tool for professionals.

 

What is a career statement?

Think of your career statement as an aspiration statement tailored to your professional goals. Aspiration statements express what you’re hoping to achieve in the future and describe your vision for the next chapter of your life. 

Think of them as the end of your life plan: your statement should highlight your dreams, encourage your ambitions, and provide an ideal outcome for your action plan. It’s a few sentences or a short paragraph outlining what you want to accomplish in the future.

Sounds simple enough, right? For career statements, you’re focusing those aspirations on your professional goals and intended career path. A career statement demands you to research what you need to accomplish those goals, as it depends on specific information. It needs specific dates, desired job titles or companies, locations, skills required, and more. 

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Why are career statements important?

Career statements keep your objectives top of mind. They never let you lose sight of your long-term goals and why you want to achieve them. Thanks to this focus, a career statement helps you visualize your career path, like a roadmap to success.

Writing a career statement can help you tackle three of the resources key to achieving your goals: 

  1. Motivation: What will make you spring out of bed and continue putting in a consistent effort? Increasing your motivation fuels your need to make your career aspirations a reality.
  2. Direction: How do you see yourself developing your career? Do you need to go back to school, move to another city, or network more? Direction gives you a clear understanding of the moves you need to make to achieve your goals.
  3. Accountability: Goals are great, but who’s holding you to them? Fostering accountability will keep your professional development goals top of mind and help you stay dedicated to them. 

Confident-mid-adult-businesswoman-writing-new-ideas-onto-a-adhesive-note-career-statement

There’s beauty in this journey. Goal-setting can reveal things you didn’t know about yourself, teaching you new skills and helping your well-being along the way. It’s been linked to:

  • Higher motivation and ambition to succeed
  • Stronger resilience
  • Higher self-esteem 
  • Greater self-confidence
  • More independence and autonomy

Career statements and goal setting go hand in hand. They build off each other to help you turn your dreams into your reality. 

How to write a career statement

You’re not likely to knock out your career statement in five minutes. It takes time — depending on how clearly defined your career goals are. Don’t rush the process.

If you run into writer's block or can't decide what goals you want to set, take a break. You might find time for a self-discovery journey to help you understand where you’d like your life to go.

Planning out your career doubles as a great self-discovery technique, too: you can ask yourself what you’d like your work-life balance to be, if you want to work remotely, where you want to live, if you want to be a manager, and more.  

When you’re ready to begin, follow these six steps:

1. Think about your passions and purpose

Your passions and purpose guide your life. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted two-thirds of US employees to reflect on their life’s purpose, with 70% of respondents reporting their purpose is tied to their work. Passions and purpose are a great place first place to look to help identify what goals you want to accomplish.

Example: “My passion is storytelling and writing.”

 

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2. Do plenty of research

This step won’t take long if you’re already clear on what you want. But if you have no idea what professional aspirations will enrich your life, dedicate time to research.

Reach out to people in your network for a chat. Expand your knowledge about your industry, learn the requirements for the jobs that interest you, and familiarize yourself with potential roadblocks. Research will give you the knowledge you need for the planning and execution stages.

Example: “I’m interested in writing a fictional novel and working with a local publisher.”

3. Test the waters 

This is a time for curiosity, intentionality, and reflection. Put your research to the test. If you want to change careers, go to a seminar about your target industry. You might be bored to tears, which could indicate you need to modify your plans.

Ask yourself questions along the way — are you staying engaged with the topics you’re learning about? How do your body and mind feel as you turn in this new direction?

Example: “I’ve written a storyboard, and it’s made me feel excited and motivated, so I’d like to continue and take the next step.”

4. Use the SMART goal template

The SMART goals model will help you set realistic goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This model provides a template that keeps you organized and lets you visualize your goals more clearly.

You should have a pretty good handle on your goals by now. And if you find that your initial goal doesn't work well after listing the different elements, don’t be afraid to make changes — without adaptability, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. As you grow and move down your career path, your goals might shift. That’s perfectly fine. 

Example: “I plan on pitching a 300-page novel by the end of this month to three different publishers in my community. I’ll pitch my novel to their fiction team and take notes when they provide any feedback.”

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5. Solidify your action plan

So you’ve explored the things that matter to you, spent time researching and experimenting, and defined your goals. Now, it's time to make a solid action plan. Take a moment to think about each step you'll take. Do you need to further your education, work on your communication skills, or find a mentor?

Planning ahead has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and make responsibilities feel less overwhelming. Mapping out your steps will eliminate potential stressors and procrastination. 

Example: “I’m going to create a timeline for myself to write the novel, including the brainstorming, writing, and revising process. This will help keep me on pace and focused on each section as it comes.”

6. Make adjustments when needed

You've put tons of effort into creating an actionable, well-thought-out career statement. But sometimes life throws a curve ball. Challenges arise, obstacles you may have no control over.

Adopt a growth mindset that welcomes learning from your mistakes and changing your plan when necessary. Adapting to change will help you achieve your goals, not hinder them. 

Example: “My pitch hasn’t been picked up by any of the publishers I’ve pitched my story to, so I’m widening my circle to publishers from other communities. I’ve learned from my network to be more specific with my pitches and to explain more about myself.”

Career statement examples

Career statements differ depending on your goals, industry, and lifestyle. Your life purpose could be tied to working with nonprofit organizations or climbing the ladder in the tech industry. Whatever your professional aspirations, your career statement should reflect them.

Handsome-Latino-man-is-sitting-at-a-desk-and-writing-career-statement

Here are three career statement examples to inspire you:

  1. I’ll be a full-time writer in two years. I'll start as a freelance writer and build up my portfolio, expand my network, and tune in to workshops and seminars about writing. I'll dedicate 30 minutes each week to reading great pieces of writing, and I'll be ready to do some problem-solving when editors give me feedback. 
  2. I'm going to be my own boss and open a café next year. I’ll create a welcoming new culture within my café that values kindness, compassion, and respect. I'll further my existing business knowledge by taking marketing classes and talking to people within my industry about the financial costs of entrepreneurship.
  3. I'll be promoted to sales manager within two years. I'll focus on improving my leadership and communication skills by listening to feedback from my manager. I'll also continue to learn more about sales since it's my big interest and passion and become familiar with my soon-to-be managerial responsibilities.

Start writing 

We’ve outlined the steps and benefits of writing a career statement. Now it’s time to invest in your future and start writing. 

When you’re happy with your career statement, put it somewhere you'll notice each day. If you wrote it up by hand or printed out a copy, stick it on your fridge or bathroom mirror, or hang it above your desk.

If you went digital, set your statement as your phone’s lock screen. Keep it close. It'll remind you of what you're working toward — and what you’ve already achieved by putting your goals and plans into words.

Give your statement another read when you're feeling down or unmotivated. They're yours for the taking.

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Published October 13, 2022

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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