Create a Personal Mission Statement

Mission Statements

Writing a personal mission statement is the central task of good career development. When done well, a personal mission statement clearly articulates who you are, what you will do and why you will do it. Essentially it defines your career direction and becomes your compass for decision-making.  Heart-felt mission statements also often significantly increase students’ focus, intentionality and motivation.

The best personal mission statements are crafted by students who have spent at least some time considering their strengths, values, pride stories, deep interests, life dreams, sources of energy, personal heroes, as well as beliefs. (There are many journal assignments, assessment tools and other exercises linked here on our blog that can support students interested in this type of introspection.) Often careful reflection on these areas can reveal common threads that can be creatively wound into a powerful statement of purpose and passion.

Personal mission statements are unique. There are no strict rules. However, some students find a formula to be helpful:

The distinctive skills and/ or perspective you want to offer + The people you would like to serve + The expected outcome

Here are some examples:

I will use my passion and expertise in technology to inspire researchers to create drugs to cure rare diseases.


I want to use my knowledge to create my own entrepreneurial ideas and support other people’s great ideas to create more good in the world.  


I want to use specialized helping skills, to create the space for people to solve their own problems.


I want to plan and execute opportunities and experiences for at-risk and vulnerable youth to gain skills and knowledge they can carry throughout their lives.


When you are finished drafting your mission statement, read it out loud. Do it. You will know that you have a good statement when reading it puts a smile on your face and you feel a sense of excitement. If you don’t get it right the first time, keep editing until your words resonate. You might find that you need to do more introspection, or even get some help from a career counsellor or trusted friend. If you are going to use this statement to guide your decision making, you want to be sure it’s great!

While your aim should be to capture who you are and what you want now, don’t expect that your mission statement will carry you on into mid-life or even next year. Your mission statement should be fluid. It will change as you explore and learn more about yourself and the work world. Commit to your mission statement now, but know that increased clarity will come with action.

Once you have a personal mission statement, an occupational direction will likely emerge. Keep your career development going by taking some action. Your next step may be to start researching occupations that will allow you to do the kind of work you can feel passionate about. Or it may be time for you to start collecting the experiences you need to refine your mission statement further. Either way, hang your mission statement up in a prominent place. Refer back to it regularly for inspiration, validation and focus.