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Curtin University

Career aspirations and motivations

Our aspirations and motivations provide signposts and a commitment to help us work toward career goals.


Aspirations (dreams and life goals): We all have dreams and aspirations, some more conscious and more clearly articulated than others. It can be helpful to spend time thinking about our aspirations, this is why ‘self awareness’ is such an important and basic element in the career management process.

Career aspirations are our dreams and goals in life. In our Western social and economic environment, aspirations often are closely linked with/require employment in the workplace. Work and paid employment usually takes up a large chunks of our time, so it is a good idea to find positions and workplaces that provide satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment as well as having relevance to our personal life goals and aspirations.

Our aspirations provide a signpost for our long-term goals, which will help us to identify (and work toward) more manageable short-term goals.


Motivations: Once we have adequate food, shelter, safety and feel reasonable good about ourselves we are motivated to achieve and contribute in our community. Our aspirations and goals provide the motivation to work through the many short and long term life goals. Motivation factors are important in career management, as some of the short-term goals may be tedious, demanding and sometimes discouraging (e.g. course work or junior positions before promotion into work roles you are aiming for). Persistence involves working on the details (immediate goals) whilst keeping the long-term goals in mind.

Additional resources and reading