How do you plan to work your way up to where you want to be?
Getting ready for the kinds of questions you might be asked in an interview can help you make better job applications in the future. Employers may ask how you plan to reach your career goals to learn more about you as a candidate and to see how well you do other things at work. If you know how to answer this kind of question, you can better prepare for interviews. This article looks at the question, tells you how to answer it, and gives you some answers that you can use as models for your own.
Why do employers ask, “How do you plan to get where you want to be in your career?”
There are many reasons why an employer might ask this question, including:
People will ask you why you did what you did.
An employer might ask how you plan to reach your career goals to find out what motivates you to do so. Depending on how much time and effort you put into these goals or plan to put into them, your work might show how much you care about them. A recruiter will want to know how passionate you are about the industry, because employees who are highly motivated are valuable to a team.
They are interested in how hard you work.
When you talk about how you plan to reach your career goals, it may be clear that you are getting closer to your goals. Interviewers may ask this question to find out how productive a person is at reaching their goals. This can be a good thing to know about candidates, since people who are good at preparing may also be good at their jobs.
They want to watch you work.
The interviewer may also ask this question to find out how you’ve prepared for the job. If you both work in the same field, the interviewer has also trained for that job field in the past. They might ask this to find out how you work and how well you’ve been preparing so far.
How to answer the question, “How do you plan to get to where you want to be in your career?”
If you want to be ready for this question at your next interview, you might want to take some of the following steps:
1. Be honest
Try to tell your recruiter as much as you can about your career goals and what you’ve done to get there. Telling your recruiter the truth about what you want to do in the field can show how much you care about it. Since employees who are passionate about their jobs tend to be productive, being honest about your passion could be good for your reputation.
2. Use the STAR system
Try to answer your question using the STAR method if you can. The STAR method is a way to answer interview questions that helps a person give a full explanation of a situation. It works best when paired with a story, situation, or anecdote. The steps of the STAR method are as follows:
- Start by talking about what was going on in your life when you were working on yourself to reach your career goals. You can say how old you were when you realized this was the career you wanted and what steps you had already taken to get there.
- Task: Describe what you need to do in as much detail as you can. If your goal is to become a doctor, for example, you would write down all the steps you need to take, such as going to school and getting a license.
- Action: The third step of the STAR method is to describe what you did after you figured out what was going on and planned what you would do. Tell us what you’re doing now and what steps you’ve taken to get ready for your career goals.
- Explain what happened because of what you did. If some goals haven’t been reached yet, explain how things are going here.
3. Give specifics to explain what you mean.
When you talk about how you plan to reach your career goals, try to give as many specific examples from your past work and efforts as you can. If you tell a story about something you’ve done well, you can give a unique answer that your recruiter may remember for the rest of the hiring process. If your interview is memorable, you might have a better chance of getting the job.
Answers to the question, “How do you plan to get where you want to go in your career?”
You can use some of the examples below to help you think of what to say in your interview about this question:
“I wanted to be a veterinary technician because I love animals. When I was in high school, I started to learn as much as I could about what I was interested in. I paid extra attention to the subjects I knew I would need to learn more about in college. I went to college and learned about how animals work. During my four years there, I tried to meet people who could help me get a job. Now, I keep going to workshops, applying for jobs, and studying to learn more about veterinary science, how it can be used, and what is going on in the field right now. I think I’m a good candidate for this job because I’ve worked hard.”
“When I got better at math and other subjects related to accounting, I knew I was interested in it. When I was in high school and college, my classes were easier than I thought they would be. Because of this, I started studying and meeting with my peers as soon as I could to get ready for my job as an accountant. I went to a lot of job fairs last year, and I’m hoping to get an internship before I graduate. So far, my classes and studying have taught me enough about accounting that I feel confident about what I know and what I can do when I start working there full-time.
“I went to college to study English for two years before I realized I really liked computer science. Even though it would set me back a year in school, I changed my major because I thought computer science would help me more than what I was studying before. During my classes, I worked on personal projects like games, visual novels, and simple programs with my professors and other students to see how good I was at making games. I think I’m ready to work in the video game industry now that I’m in my senior year and almost done with an independent game.