Career goals are specific actions or accomplishments an employee wishes to achieve within a professional setting, such as improving the performance of a product or becoming the manager of a division. Career objectives are statements about the skills and traits of an applicant for a specific position, commonly appearing on a resume as a type of thesis statement for the document.
Creating career goals can be a formal or informal process, depending on the requirements of the company or the needs of the employee. The process generally involves outlining a general goal for a specific position or the employee's overall career, and then breaking it down into smaller goals that function as steps to achieve the larger accomplishment. This can include a broad goal of being a marketing manager at a specific firm, with smaller goals such as getting a job as an associate at that company, completing a certain number of projects, or getting to know a current manager there.
In contrast, career objectives focus less on specific desires and more on the broad abilities of an applicant and the ways in which she may benefit the company. These objectives may include broad goals as long as they demonstrate the intent and ability of the applicant, such as working within a specific field or utilizing a skill set. They appear as the opening statement within resumes, with the content of the document supporting the claims of the objective.