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What To Expect

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Your Occupational Targets

Develop a clear and specific Occupational Target

Now that you have your Top Three Career Fields, you need develop language to help you translate these into Occupational Targets.  Having one to three clear Occupational Targets helps you better communicate with those in your professional network and with potential employers. 

Your Occupational Target is a personal statement defining the specifics you wish to attain through work.
  1. It’s personal: Others may share similar goals, but your objective should state your goals in terms that you are comfortable with.
  2. It’s a commitment: Stating a goal identifies who you are and what you want to achieve.
  3. It’s action-oriented: You take control of your life and communicate to employers what you can do.
  4. It’s directional: Focus on your future to identify steps to take and information to seek. Your focus can be short- or long-term.
  5. It’s specific: Clearly identify facts about a work situation. Broad terms like “successful” or “challenging” may mean something to you, but convey no facts to an employer.

Examples of clear and specific Occupational Targets

  1. Instead of this: Something to do with clean water
  2. Try this: Create safe water supplies, sanitation facilities and hygiene-related facilities for rural villagers in developing countries using Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems in conjunction with an NGO (Non-Government Organization)

  3. Instead of this: Helping people using my listening and communication skills
  4. Try this: Represent the rights and interests of crime victims as a victims advocate in the county court system using my listening and communication skills

  5. Instead of this: Help students find jobs
  6. Try this: To be a career counselor in a medium-sized private university in the Midwest using my counseling, communication, and organizational skills to assist undecided students in the career decision-making process

What Do I Include in an Occupational Target?

Deciding what to include in an Occupational Target can be difficult. The following pages specify ten elements you can include in your objective. Remember, the elements you choose should align with your personal situation.

Career Field: Career fields are general areas of work which include many different job titles that require similar kinds of work activities.

Example: Law Enforcement

List 1-3 career fields you are pursuing:

  1. _________________________________________________________________________
  2. _________________________________________________________________________
  3. _________________________________________________________________________

Position Title: Position title, occupational title, or job title is the name of a specific position one holds and may be appropriate for your Occupational Target. 

Find sample job titles for this career field by searching for position openings using search engines such as http://www.indeed.com/.

Example: Special Agent

For this exercise, choose one career field to focus on; list 1-3 position titles that relate:
  1. _________________________________________________________________________
  2. _________________________________________________________________________
  3. _________________________________________________________________________
Organizational/Industry Category: Organizational category refers to settings in which you might like to work. In the broadest sense, organizations are categorized as either service-producing or goods-producing. More specifically, organizations are categorized by industry groups. 

Learn about different organizational/industry categories for this career field by searching Occupational Outlook Handbook at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/home.htm or simply brainstorm possible settings based on your own research and knowledge.

Federal Government

For this exercise, choose one position title to focus on; list 1-3 organizational/industry categories that relate:

  • _________________________________________________________________________
  • _________________________________________________________________________
  • _________________________________________________________________________

Functional Area: Functional area refers to the structure of an organization. Identifying a functional area in an Occupational Target specifies which part of the organization would be of interest to you without narrowing yourself to a specific industry group or organizational category. 

Think about what types of office, unit, or departments within a particular Organizational/Industry Category in which you would like to work. 

Example: CIA

For this exercise, choose one organizational/industry category to focus on; list 1-3 functional areas that relate:

  • _________________________________________________________________________
  • _________________________________________________________________________
  • _________________________________________________________________________

Skills: Skills are special talents, functions, (General Skills) or tasks (Specific Skills) that you have learned to do well.

Find sample required or preferred skills for this career by searching for position openings using search engines such as http://www.indeed.com/ or the Occupational Outlook Handbook at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/home.htm and highlighting the skills you possess. 

Example: critical thinking, complex problem-solving, strong written communication, judgment and decision-making…

List at least three skills that relate to this position title:

  • _________________________________________________________________________
  • _________________________________________________________________________
  • _________________________________________________________________________

Populations/Interest Area: Populations are the people you work with as you do your work. In an Occupational Target, population usually refers to the clients or customers of your services or products. 

Think about where your interests lie or use the Occupational Outlook Handbook at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/home.htm under work environment for options.

National Clandestine Service

For this exercise; list 1-3 populations/interest area that relate:

  • _________________________________________________________________________
  • _________________________________________________________________________
  • _________________________________________________________________________

Pulling it all Together

After completing all of the sections that will be useful to you in creating your Occupation Target, simply list them all here and then create your statement.

Career Field: Law Enforcement
Position Title: Special Agent
Organizational Category: Federal Government
Functional Area (setting): CIA
Skills: critical thinking, complex problem-solving, strong written communication, judgment and decision-making…
Populations/Interests: National Clandestine Service

Occupational Target: To be a Special Agent in the CIA National Clandestine Service using my interest in law enforcement and my strong critical thinking, written communication, and judgment and decision-making skills

Your Turn

Career Field: _________________________________________________________________________

Position Title: ________________________________________________________________________

Organizational Category: _____________________________________________________________

Functional Area (setting): _____________________________________________________________

Skills: _______________________________________________________________________________



Populations/Interests: _________________________________________________________________

Fill in the blanks below, be sure to have it make sense, or create your own using your own language:

A  (position title) in the (functional area) using my interest in (career field) and my (skill), (skill), and (skill) skills to assist (populaito/interest).