How did you arrive at these career interests? How have you or how will you position yourself to pursue them? (250 words maximum)
This is a two part question that deserves to be addressed in two parts:
Part 1 – “How did we get here”
There are probably thousands of factors and moments that contributed to your current interests. But we only have about 125 words here. To make this sing, we should identify the 1-3 most significant moments in your personal history—specific things that happened, discoveries you made, people who mentored you, etc.—that shaped your goals. The key is that in the absence of these things, your career interests would be entirely different.
If your 1-3 moments come easily, great. If not, here’s a trick: articulate your career interests right now, out loud. Be as specific as you want. Now broaden it a bit, to some kind of category: “consulting,” “finance,” “entrepreneurship,” etc. Look at those broad categories and ask yourself: Why did I end up in category X instead of all the other ones? Say you’re in finance—ask yourself why you didn’t want to become an entrepreneur, or a marketing specialist. By forcing yourself to address why you DIDN’T end up somewhere, you may reveal the reason you DID end up where you did. Why? Because we often take “what is” for granted… until we start to consider “what might have been.” By examining why you went with your current interest instead of a few other paths you considered along the way, you should end up with a newfound awareness of a moment or two in the past that “steered you” toward your current career interest.
Once you have those moments, we should focus the essay on them. There’s no need to discuss other things you might have done in our 125 words—just use that thought experiment to identify the key moments.
Part 2 – “Why ‘here’ is the perfect place from which you pursue your goals”
The smartest way to demonstrate REAL readiness is to clearly identify “what one would need to succeed.” Show that you’ve done your homework and know exactly what’s required of a person in your target role. (And if you HAVEN’T done that homework—talking to people in your target industry/role—then go do it!)
Once you’ve identified 1-2 key skills and qualities that are needed for success, show the extent to which you’ve checked the box. Ideally, we have an example of you either USING each skill/trait in your work to date, or a way in which you WILL USE the skill in the near term. So it’s not “then I need two years of experience as a management consultant” it’s “then I need to master THIS and THAT skill, and gain exposure to THIS and THAT thing…. for which management consultant at XYZ type firm will make the most sense.” See the difference?