"What are your long term career goals?"
This is a traditional question that is asked when you go on a job interview.
Many will look at such a question from the perspective that it is a flippant one. That is the wrong attitude to take towards the question.
Whether or not you have career goals over the long term can often give insight regarding how serious you are about your career.
However, there is more to providing an answer to such a question than just to impress those who are interviewing you. You truly do need such goals in place in order to attain the best results from what you wish to gain from your own personal career path.
Career goals are needed in order to have a definitive idea regarding where you will eventually end up later in your career.
You are working in your career because there are certain specific things you wish to gain at a latter point of your career. At such a point, you will want to be happy with what you have achieved. Long term career goals are a must to ensure your career moves the way you always wanted it to.
Those that have a clear idea as to what they wish to achieve in their professional endeavors will be better primed to achieve that much desired success.
Did every person in the workforce that achieved a high level of success did so because they previously visualized goals?
No! Some have achieved their desired outcome without having any goals devised. Should you follow their lead? Well, you cannot because you have no lead to follow. They are reactionary in their approach. That is to say they react to their career as opposed to actually propelling it forward. To truly propel things forward, you will need clear goals.
You cannot just randomly pick out your career goals without any idea regarding what goes into the establishment of such goals. If you do then they really are not valid goals. They are not properly fleshed out.
The way to determine your goals effectively should start in reverse. You need to look at yourself five years down the line and create a scenario in your mind as to where you want to be. At this point, you would need to ask what must be required in order to arrive at such a target. As you answer that question, you will be fleshing out the various steps needed to attain the end result. Certainly, you will need to devise a much clearer and more specific path required to attain the end result you have already defined in your mind.
Such a process should not just remain in your mind either. Crafting a written plan that details the steps needed to attain your goals is a must. As the saying goes, if it is not written down then it is not real.
Long term career goals must never be rigid or else you will never see much in terms of making them a reality. Since your circumstances will change at different points, you will need to alter your path to attaining your final career goal as suggested. It's true for the path you follow as well. Sometimes you will learn from your mistakes and need to tweak to your approach towards your end goal.