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Developing a career vision statement

Career success means very different things to different people. For some it is about achieving the outward symbols of career progression, typically marked by achievement of a particular role, job title, or salary level. For others it is more about alignment with intrinsic motivations, such as...

Career success means very different things to different people. For some it is about achieving the outward symbols of career progression, typically marked by achievement of a particular role, job title, or salary level. For others it is more about alignment with intrinsic motivations, such as feeling a sense of competence, freedom and community.

The process of creating a career vision statement can help you to achieve greater clarity as to what is important to you, and why.

What is a career vision statement and why do I need one?

A career vision statement defines what career success means to you. It expresses your vision for where you’d like to be in the future and reflects your goals and values. It can give you a feeling of direction, serve as a powerful reminder of what’s important to you and what you’re striving for, and help keep you on track when you become distracted at different times. It can also guide you during the various career junctures we all face at some time or another.

Having clarity on the career ‘end state’ we are striving to achieve is an important prerequisite in helping us to achieve our career goals.

How do I create a career vision statement?

 

1. Set aside time

Carve out a chunk of time, free of distractions, where you are relaxed and able to fully turn your attention to this quiet reflection. You will probably need at least 30-60 minutes for this activity.

2. Write out your responses to the following questions:

  1. What does career success mean to you?

  2. If absolutely no obstacles stood in the way, what would you most like to achieve in your career?

  3. Imagine yourself in the future at a point in which you have achieved these career goals, and consider:

    • What is it you’ve accomplished? What does your life look like? How do you feel?
    • What are the steps you took to achieve your career goals? Be specific. What roles or sort of work did you do? Where did you work? With or for whom? 
    • What factors made the biggest difference to you achieving these goals?
    • What personal qualities and values have helped you to achieve these goals?

3. Using the answers above, pull together a career vision statement

Include in this the following:

  1. What you would like to achieve
  2. Who you would like to be
  3. The impact you would like to have
  4. Note: if you prefer you create this visually in the form of a vision board, using images or drawings that represent your career vision.

Here are a couple of examples: 

“I will be a customer service leader in my organisation, helping transform it into an organisation that delivers for the benefit of the communities it serves – while at the same time staying true to myself and being the best wife and mother I can be.”

 

“To be an empathetic, honest and respected commercial leader in a global organisation and to be recognised internationally within my industry. I want be an active part of raising standards and innovation in our industry, helping the industry to better serve end users. I will achieve this by: gaining experiences in sales roles in different business units, working abroad, gaining experience of managing teams and then teams of teams“

  

4. Periodically review your career vision statement. Keep your vision statement alive and relevant by reviewing it periodically – at least annually, such as during your annual career planning meeting.

Sharon Peake is the founder of Shape Talent Ltd, a gender equality coaching and consulting business established with the sole purpose of accelerating more women into senior leaderships roles in business. We work with organisations to remove the barriers to women’s progression and we work with individual women, helping them to achieve their career potential.

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Sharon Peake

Sharon Peake

Founder, CEO and Executive Coach

I am an experienced business leader and executive coach with over 20 years' experience in global blue chip businesses focused on career development for individuals and strategic people management for organisations. Over the course of my career I have interviewed thousands of individuals and helped organisations select and grow the best talent. I know what helps careers, and I know what hinders careers. I truly believe that the world would be a better place with as many women as men running companies, which led me to establish Shape Talent - a gender diversity coaching and consulting business geared at accelerating gender equality in business and beyond. In my coaching work I specialise in helping women leaders and executives to achieve their potential, navigate career transitions and ensure a fulfilling and rewarding career. As a Chartered Occupational Psychologist I bring a psychological perspective to my coaching, looking at the underlying factors that influence the way we behave and respond to situations. Where it helps the client I can use a range of psychometric assessments to bring greater clarity and self-awareness to patterns of behaviour. My clients describe me as insightful, open, warm, encouraging and focused on ensuring the client’s success.

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