How to Write a Good Career Goal Narrative

A career goal narrative informs employers of your past experience and future objectives in a career.
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While colleges, graduate programs and jobs will likely require a resume of past experiences and accomplishments, you may also be asked to write a career goal narrative. A career goal narrative is a brief essay commonly submitted in job applications that describes your job aspirations and how your interest in the field developed. You can construct a strong career goal narrative by describing your past experiences, sharing your future goals and writing in a friendly yet professional voice.

1 Research and Prewriting

Researching the company you're applying to demonstrates the depth of your interest in the job through your writing. It also shows an employer that you've taken the time to think through the details of the position and how your abilities, past experiences and talents fit into its mission statement. Another preliminary step to writing your essay is to brainstorm past jobs, activities and education that show why and how you wish to enter the profession. Make a timeline of your interest in your desired career that includes these specific experiences.

2 Past Experiences

One way to begin your essay is by describing when you first knew you wanted to enter your chosen profession. For example, if you want to be a journalist, you might describe when your school newspaper adviser said you were a talented writer. Then, you can describe related work, education and extracurricular experiences that furthered your interest. Each example should address what you have learned and how the experience has helped you grow your interest in the profession. For example, majoring in journalism and having an internship with a newspaper might have taught you the value of honest, professional writing.

3 Future Goals

According to the Harvard Business Review, a good career goal narrative will link your past accomplishments to your future ambitions. As you begin to describe what you want to accomplish in your chosen field, make the essay specific to the job you're applying for by stating how the position can meet your goals. Using details will make your objectives clearer; for example, while "I want write for a newspaper" is vague, saying "I want to work for a paper that upholds integrity and publishes well-written material" specifically links the things you admire about the company to your own goals.

4 Voice

While your essay is written in first-person, it shouldn't be informal. The voice should be appropriate to your communication style but still maintain decorum and professionalism. Using slang, profanity or informal language will decrease your credibility. Your voice will also be stronger if you avoid self-deprecating language or negative comments about past jobs. Instead, being honest and humble about your skills and achievements will better communicate your character. Through your writing, you can also show enthusiasm for your future plans to reveal your potential as a positive job candidate.

Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.