24 examples of professional goals
1. Gain an internship
with a large company in your industry can be a great opportunity. With an internship, you can learn important industry skills, practices and methods and increase your professional network. You can also gain valuable experience to add to your resume, which can make you a more appealing candidate when you begin your job search. Try looking for local internships through laborer’s unions, job programs or local universities.
2. Increase your core skills
Consider what your core skills are in your job, as well as the soft and hard skills you can’t perform your job without. You can increase and enhance those skills through classes, mentors or internships. You can also use personal time to pursue new core skills to increase your employability. For example, an attorney might read books on law to increase their understanding of why certain laws are in place and how they work.
3. Grow your professional network
Growing your professional network can help you form important connections in your industry. Consider focusing on attending industry or work-related events, such as seminars, training sessions and casual gatherings. Try to make connections online through professional networking sites or email lists.
4. Advance in your company
Advancing in your company can mean moving to a position you feel is better suited to your skills, but it’s not necessarily a leadership position. You might want to move to a parallel position within the company in a different department or to a position that allows more creative freedom. You can think about when and why you want to advance and what skills or steps you need to reach that goal.
5. Obtain higher credentials
in your industry, which can create new employment and salary opportunities. For example, if you already have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, you can pursue a master’s degree to become a professor at the local university. Higher credentials also can help establish industry credibility.
6. Earn a higher salary
Many professionals work toward obtaining a higher salary. Earning more money can help you become more financially secure and confident in your position. Consider what your ideal salary is, what your current salary is and how you can work towards achieving your ideal salary, whether at your current job or in a new position.
7. Pursue a different career
You might want to pursue an entirely different career as your main professional goal. You could find greater satisfaction and happiness in a new career, as well as a higher salary and more opportunities. Consider what your ideal career is and how you can reach it from your current job. Consider reaching out to professional connections you have in other industries to see whether they might be a good fit for you.
8. Become an expert in your field
Becoming an expert in your field can provide many opportunities for employment and additional opportunities as a consultant or freelancer. Consider what credentials or experience current industry experts hold and how you can obtain those credentials. You can consider a mentorship from industry professionals to learn more about what industry leaders do daily.
9. Obtain a leadership position
Obtaining a leadership position can help you enhance your teamwork, collaboration and leadership skills and establish your credibility in the industry. Consider what type of leadership position you want and how you might reach that position. It’s important to determine whether the company you work for offers such opportunities or if you might need to pursue a career change.
10. Win an award in your industry
Winning an industry award can bring you notoriety with industry experts, increase your employability and establish your credentials as an industry expert. For example, winning an award as an interior designer can make you more recognizable and lead to more job opportunities. Awards differ by industry, but obtaining an award can require patience, skill and innovation. Consider where your industry might need innovation and apply your skills to that need.
11. Learn a new industry tool
Advancing technology often provides new and innovative tools for industries. Learning one of these new tools can give you a competitive advantage over other job candidates and may allow you to earn a higher salary. Consider the latest industry technology and pursue opportunities to learn more about it or how to use these tools.
12. Use your skills to start a business
Some professionals include starting a business as their primary career goals. If you think you have strong leadership skills, you can apply them and other industry skills to start your own business. Owning your own business can give you more creative freedom over your career path, help you earn a higher salary and provide a more flexible work schedule.
Why are goals so important?
1. They’re measurable
Setting goals can quantify or evaluate your growth. The SMART goal method, discussed in detail below, is one of many ways to track how you’re doing and where you might need to improve. Without measuring, you won’t know if you’re meeting goals or falling short. Measurable goals allow you to see when you need to reduce them into steps to make them more attainable.
2. They provide vision
What do you wish to learn? To achieve? Where do you want to be next month, next year? Goals are a wonderful way to help build your personal and professional mindsets, your physical skills, and more.
3. They provide clarity
Most people have a list of daily, weekly, monthly goals. But life is messy, and your goals can be easily forgotten or pushed aside. To stay focused on what you want to achieve, try using a whiteboard or online platform to outline your goals.
4. They help you stand out
If you set goals, you’ll achieve dreams. That’s bigger than completing the bare minimum responsibilities, and people will notice. Plus, when you hit your goals, you’ll be more confident.
How to set up goals
First things first: there’s no right or wrong way to set and achieve your goals. It all depends on your preferences and what works best for you. Regardless, clearly outlining what you’re striving toward is a great start.
Although pushing yourself to do better isn’t bad, your goals should be achievable. Developing plans too far out of reach isn’t healthy and can stir up negative feelings and attitudes. Setting goals should keep you inspired and working hard for yourself or your team, not discourage you.
Your ambitions should be purposeful and suitable to your career and professional environment. If what you want to achieve isn’t in line with what you can achieve, maybe you need a career change.
Establishing a time frame to achieve your goals will help you work harder and smarter, and see results quicker. This also gives you a marker on the calendar so you can access whether or not you’ve achieved a goal. This gives you an opportunity to recalibrate as needed.
Looking back at what you’ve already accomplished can serve as a good source of motivation as you consider your SMART goals. Ask yourself why you set goals in the past, and if achieving them led to positive changes in your life. Asking these questions will boost your well-being and give you the necessary push to start.
Carving out some time to reflect about what you desire in life currently and later on will give you the room to explore and decide what path and what types of goals are best for you.