The purpose of having a career goal statement is to give you a clear and inspiring direction for the future.
The reason you may wish to write this in your CV is in order to convey this information to those involved in your selection process. A really good career goal statement will readily convey to the person who reviews your CV where you see yourself in the future (let’s say in about 10 years time), what you have done already to get there and how you plan to keep working towards your career goal. Career goal statements are normally placed at the very start of your CV.
An example of a career goal statement – for a JMO wishing to train in paediatrics
I wish to pursue a career in community paediatrics with a research focus on improving rates of childhood obesity. In order to pursue my goal I have striven as a JMO to obtain placements in paediatrics, volunteered my services teaching healthy lifestyles to children and parents at my local community centre and conducted research into rates of obesity in children in Western Sydney as part of my undergraduate medical degree. I now plan to formally enrol in the Paediatric Training program of the College and have familiarised myself with the requirements for training and contracted with a mentor to assist me in training.
When might you want to not include a career goal statement?
There are some situations where including a career goal statement may be risky. The first is if your career goal statement does not read as authentic or perhaps appears to be somewhat unrealistic. You will likely be passionate about your career goals so its best to get some other trusted people to read your statement (in fact you should ask other people to read your entire CV for you) and ask them their opinion. The second situation is similar to the first and is where your career goal statement is ambitious but you are unable to demonstrate much evidence in relation to pursuing your career goal. In this case you may wish to temper your career goal statement somewhat to fit your achievements to date or consider an alternative. The third situation may be where your CV is being used for multiple job applications and you are only able to submit the one CV. In this situation it will be risky having a CV that has a career goal statement that does not fit with all jobs you are interviewing for.
Are there alternatives to career goal statements?
The answer is Yes. You can write a career summary, highlighting a few key achievements. You might want to intersperse these with some key capabilities (things you do particularly well). Alternatively, you may have a really good quote from a written reference from one of your referees that you feel helps to sell your candidacy.
Tip: The content of your CV should reinforce your career goal statement.
Someone who reviews your CV should be able to see severely examples that demonstrate how you have been endeavouring to pursue your goal. For e.g. if your goal is to be a hand surgeon in ten years time have you undertaken any placements in hand surgery, have you taken any postgraduate surgical courses, do you have a hand surgeon as a mentor or referee?
For many more tips and advice please visit our Blog.
– Dr Anthony Llewellyn