Pradeep was well-qualified for a job he had been eyeing. So when he got a call for an interview, he was overjoyed and prepared himself well. But when the interviewer asked him about his short-term and long-term goals, he was stumped. Even though he was prepared for a question about his future plans, this distinction between short-term and long-term goals was new to him. This impacted his chances of getting hired.

Knowing how to respond to such a question is key to impressing your interviewer. Let’s define short-term goals and long-term goals before delving into how you can answer this tricky interview question.

What Are Your Short-Term Goals?

Short-term goals are actionable objectives that you can achieve within a short time. First, you have to envision your career with the organization. Aligning what you hope to achieve in the organization will help you assess what you should do. Advancing in your role, taking on more responsibilities and meeting expectations can be short-term goals.

An example of short-term goals is getting a promotion to make progress in your career. This could be to become a manager or lead a team. When you make a career plan, you evaluate all the steps you need to take to be successful. Each of these steps is a short-term goal.

List Of Short-Term Career Goals

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list to give you an idea:

  1. Developing new skills

Talking about your skills and abilities is a given in any job interview. The interview may ask you about what you can add to the organization. In this case, you can mention that your short-term goal is to acquire new skills and improve your ability to perform. This can include technical job-specific skills or fundamental skills like communication and teamwork

  1. Leadership

You may want to take on more leadership or managerial roles in the organization. Mentioning that you want to lead a team eventually and learn how to navigate different work styles can be another short-term goal. 

  1. Gaining knowledge

You could talk about gaining more knowledge and experience in your field. As a short-term goal, this can be a stepping stone to advance in your career. 

  1. Earning a professional qualification

These are certification courses and degrees like MBA or ACA for accountancy. You can find out from the organization’s website if they offer anything like this. This will even show the interviewer that you’ve done your research. 

  1. Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

If you’re someone who believes in giving back to society, your short-term goal could be to participate in the organization’s CSR initiatives. These could be tree plantation drives, teaching at a local school or helping out at a senior care home.

What Are Your Long-Term Goals?

Long-term goals are the ultimate goals that you hope to achieve. An example of long-term goals could be to own a company or become an entrepreneur. Your short-term goals chart out the path to your long-term goal. For example, to run your own business, you would need to gain experience with more established brands or organizations.

Your long-term goal is unique to you. Even if many people want to start their own business, they may not go about it the same way as you. Creating your own path to success will give you a better stronghold in your career.


Understanding your short- and long-term goals will give you more clarity about where you’re headed. Getting stuck in a routine often stands in the way of accomplishing long-term goals. Even as you achieve your short-term goals, it’s important not to lose sight of the big picture.

Harappa Education’s Discovering Purpose course will teach you how to identify and accomplish your goals. You’ll learn the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to help you create your path to success. 

Explore topics such as Goal SettingHow to Increase ProductivityTypes of GoalsSMART Goals & How to be Focused on Your Goals from our Harappa Diaries section and lead on a path of self-development.

Related articles

Discover more from Harappa with a selection of trending blogs on the latest topics in online learning and career transformation