Goals, Career and your CV

There are some natural, unavoidable questions any employer will want answered. 'Why do you want this job?', 'What are your career goals?' and 'Will this person fit with our business?'

All jobs relate to a career. Everyone is trying to get somewhere.

To an employer, the most useful candidate for a job is the one whose career path matches the position. A retailer will prefer someone who's made a career in retail, and is trying to advance their career.

In the professions, it's even more important. The career paths are well defined, and an employer can tell almost instantly who's working on a career path by applying for a position.

One of the most effective ways of showing your interest in a job is when your CV clearly indicates your career path and goals, and they relate well to the position.

You can include a statement of your goals in relation to the position pretty easily. Point out in your covering letter and CV exactly why you're keen on the job, showing your track record in that career. It should be done in a few simple sentences.

Remember that even if it's obvious to you, it isn't to the employer. Stay brief and to the point.

For example:

'I have a special interest in the position of (job name, in full). I'm a qualified/experienced (describe your role). The position is very much in context with my career goals.'

Meaning 'I'm serious. I'm in the business, I know the work, this is a step up, and I want the job.'

However you express it, it answers the employer's questions, and it's barely half a paragraph.

It also leads in well to your CV. A CV is a snapshot of your performance, and a reference guide to your history. Your CV will confirm your claim to the job, and verify your statements regarding a career path.


You've made your point. Now, you have to enhance it. The idea is to amplify your interest in the job, while proving your credentials. This is where your CV is your greatest asset.

Your accomplishments on the CV need to reflect your career goals, and relate to the job you want. The classic case is customer service, where however different the industries, the work has a lot of common factors. You can relate your other work pretty easily to a new job.

Show you've had responsibility, you've achieved goals, you've solved problems, and it's all in line with your stated interest in the position.

If you've had several different jobs:

Most people have several different jobs throughout their working life. Downplay those not relevant to the current position. You need to fill any gaps in employment, but you also need to make it clear this is your preferred line of work. Make it clear that your chosen career relates to the job. You can use the same basic approach regarding your achievements, but remember to be relevant to the current job at all times.

If you're at entry level:

This is where you have to show that this position is part of your chosen career. Emphasize your training, studies, any work experience, or any other factors indicating your suitability for the job. Membership of industry related social groups, amateur associations, whatever adds some depth will help.

If you're in a 'low end' job

Career goals still matter. If you're a checkout clerk, working for a big name retailer is a career move. It can be an opportunity to work your way up the scale, and that's what you need to recognize, and show your employer you understand. If you're a waiter or janitor, working for major league businesses is a potentially important career move. Who you work for is a reference to your own skills. In all jobs, career credentials make the difference between getting a job and not getting it.