How to Start a Journal of Your Career Goals

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Career Advice

Ah, there’s so much that you want to do with your career. Long-term goals, short-term goals, companies you want to work for…

You feel like one of those memes… you know, “My future’s so bright, I need shades.”

Uh, no. You have so many things you want to do, so much that you don’t want to do, so much that you don’t know if you can or can’t do, so much that you think you’re overqualified for, or under qualified for… that your brain is a mess over this “career thing.” And lest we forget, you’re already working.

A journal of your career goals — while it may not immediately lead you to the path of needing shades to see your bright, rose-colored future — will help you feel organized. Starting said journal could feel as overwhelming as the tangled web your brain is in, but that’s why you have us here to help.

See how the experts do it
I’ve even given you some examples to get you started. Here’s a few sample career journal formats from

Know what type of medium works for you
This advice seems like common sense, but it’s important, as you’ll be more likely to keep up your career journal if you’re using a medium that you feel comfortable with. I myself am a computer and mobile device user for nearly everything from my to-do list to my calendar to any type of writing. If you want to write down your career goals, go for it. If you know you’ll be more diligent via Microsoft Word, start a brand new doc. Even if you don’t like to type or write, you can use a video recorder (hint hint — there’s one installed on your iPhone).

Decide on a format
You can write down your goals via a timeline. You can utilize writing prompts (here are a few to give you some ideas). You can plan to free write every day on what you learned. You can make lists of goals. Or you can combine all or some of the above. But, by all means, set a goal for your career goal journal — whether it is to contribute daily, weekly, monthly, or a time interval of your choosing — and live up to it.

Make an outline
It doesn’t have to be neat, unless, of course, that’s your way no matter what. Write freely or compile a list, at least to start out. The format that you decide should be one that is easily compatible with the medium that you choose.

You can be as creative as you want to be with this journal — as long as you stay organized and on track. It is yours, and you want to make certain that you want to keep up with it.

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