9 professional goal examples to spark your creativity

Has development in your professional life become increasingly stagnant? Do you feel as if you’re stuck in your current role with no conceivable way out? If so, the best way to remedy that is to set actionable professional development goals that you stick to like glue. As long as your goals are realistic and measurable, they will help you streamline your career development.

How’s that?

It’s because career goals will act as the catalyst that keeps you motivated to take continued action. A time-bound goal will help you stay consistent so you can achieve key milestones for your professional and personal development.

For instance, say that you want to advance to a leadership position at your company. If you don’t set any goals, it will likely remain a pipedream that you seldom work at due to the lack of focus. If you take the time to set and write smart goals, you’ll have something tangible to help make your vision a reality. Your goals will act as ‘templates for success’ in your pursuit of a leadership role.

In fact, people who write down their goals are 20% more likely to succeed than those who do not.

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But what types of professional goals should you set?

It will depend on what you want to achieve in your professional career, which will vary heavily from person to person. If you’re having difficulty coming up with any goals, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve put together nine professional goals examples categorized by the department they relate to the most to help get your creative juices flowing.

Professional goals: What’s in it for you?

If you’ve never set professional goals for work before, you may wonder why you should go to the trouble of setting some. If you’re all about WIIFY (what’s in it for you), then these clear benefits should change your mind on the importance of setting achievable goals.

You get to assign purpose to your work

Do you feel like you’re just going through the motions at work, only showing up to collect your paycheck? If so, your work lacks purpose and meaning, which isn’t good for your morale or productivity.

By setting short-term and long-term career goals, your work will suddenly have a purpose – which can supercharge your motivation. Instead of working just to work, you’ll be actively working toward your vision for a better future. That will enable you to define what work is on your own terms instead of always answering others.

You’ll discover areas for improvement

If you never take a look at your career in the mirror, you’ll never realize where you can improve. As an example, say that you’re not the best public speaker in the world. In fact, you’re downright terrified of it.

By coming to terms with that, you can set a goal to improve your public speaking skills. If you stick to it and make a serious effort to improve it, you’ll face your fear, and it won’t be a big deal anymore. You may even take a liking to it and decide to start giving seminars on the side.

The point is that setting goals will help you face your fears and improve on your weaknesses.

Increased career satisfaction

This benefit builds on the other two. Since your work now has a purpose, and you’ve learned new skills and improved weaknesses, you’ll be a more fulfilled professional. Not only will your work have meaning, but you’ll also have chosen the career path you wanted instead of letting the company choose one for you.

That leads to increased satisfaction with your career trajectory and professional life as a whole, which is a big plus.

9 professional goals examples categorized by department

Now that you know how essential it is to set career goals, it’s time to see some professional goals examples to help you brainstorm some of your own.

For your convenience, I’ve categorized the goals by department so you can quickly skip to the goals that pertain to you the most.

Examples of professional goals for sales and marketing

Sales and marketing are both fast-paced departments that are constantly evolving and changing. As such, continuing your education is a must.

The last thing you want is to realize that you only know outdated tools and tactics, so you’ll need to set short-term goals and long-term goals to continue your development. Here are some specific goals that will help you improve your sales and marketing skills.

#1: Read more sales and marketing books

In today’s age, many professionals overlook the power of books in favor of videos, webinars, and social media.

Yet, books are still one of the best ways to:

  • Learn new skills

  • Discover new insights and sales techniques

  • Improve time management skills

  • Learn the success secrets of industry gurus

There’s no shortage of sales books online, and Amazon is a great place to start.

There are also a few ways that you can set this goal, but it’s essential to be as specific as possible.

For example, your goal could be to read 20 sales and marketing books by the end of the year. Or you could focus on only reading one book but strive to get the absolute most out of it. Books that teach new professional skills, such as learning a software tool or selling technique, are the best candidates for this type of goal.

#2: Start a blog to develop your brand

Do you want to know a surefire way to develop your professional network and improve your writing skills?

Start a blog!

It doesn’t have to relate to your current position, either. You can start a blog simply to grow your personal brand and expand your network.

It’s always best to write about what you know so that you can start a blog covering various sales/marketing techniques.

Or, if your goal is to broaden your horizons, you could start a blog about one of your other interests, such as music or hiking.

There are also plenty of ways you can monetize your blog to earn some income on the side. Examples include affiliate marketing, content marketing, and SEO (search engine optimization). Not only will these help you earn extra money, but they’ll improve your understanding of marketing as a whole.

#3: Learn new tools

The sales and marketing world has more software tools and applications than you can imagine.

That includes CRMs, CMSs, APIs, SaaS, ADs, CVSs, and hundreds of other acronyms.

If you’re in sales and marketing, it’s likely that there are a few tools you could benefit from learning.

In some cases, specific tools even act as stepping stones to new positions. As an example, you won’t be able to land certain sales positions if you don’t know how to use the CRM software Salesforce.

If you want to be bold, you could even learn a programming language to broaden your skillset and career opportunities.

Professional goals examples for PR and HR employees

If you work in PR or HR, you need razor-sharp communication skills, and you need to know how to work well with team members. As a result, your professional and personal goals need to reflect that.

#4: Work on public speaking

Public speaking skills are invaluable for PR and HR positions, whether you’re talking to the press or conducting a job interview.

To improve your public speaking competency, you can:

  • Study successful public speakers

  • Rehearse in front of friends and family

  • Learn to control your breath and voice

  • Record your speeches and critique them

To make the goal actionable, you must set a time frame. A good example would be to improve your public speaking skills within six months.

#5: Improve communication skills

This goal refers to both verbal, nonverbal, and written communication – so it encompasses a lot.

PR and HR are all about maintaining quality communication with the press and the internal employees at your company.

Writing-wise, performance reviews, press releases, and company policies are all examples of content you’ll need to write at work.

Job interviews also require flawless verbal and nonverbal communication.

Improving these skills will make it easier to advance your career and ensure things run smoothly at your organization.

#6: Expand your professional network

It’s always beneficial to add to your professional network, regardless of which department or industry.

Sales and marketing professionals are always looking for ways to expand their networks, as it’s part of their jobs.

PR and HR professionals, on the other hand, don’t have as much upfront need to network with others. Yet, expanding your network is still something you should do, even if it takes some additional hard work.

The more professionals you know, the more options and leverage you’ll have as an employee. For example, if you’ve rubbed elbows with executives from another company, you might end up switching jobs and making more money as a result.

Here are some ways you can expand your network without making it your full-time job:

  • Attend local conferences/webinars/seminars

  • Network with others through LinkedIn

  • Schedule a call with an expert in your field

These are all candid ways you can add to your network without completely disrupting your work-life balance.

Professional goals examples for IT employees

IT departments are integral to the function of any organization. Employees in this field need to update their skills frequently in order to stay relevant, so proper goal-setting is a necessity.

#7: Sign up for online courses

There are thousands of IT online courses you can take taught by industry gurus, and they’re extremely valuable.

Yet, you can’t sign up for a course and then abandon it without completing 100% of the curriculum — so make sure that you only sign up for courses that you know you’ll finish.

You should also make sure that the course relates to your position and will teach you something valuable that will help advance your career.

An example would be taking an online course that teaches web development, completing it, and then receiving a professional certificate that you can use on your resume.

Taking and completing online courses will let employers know that you’re serious about IT and are constantly furthering your education.

#8: Start your own business

This may seem ambitious, but starting a business in today’s age is easier than ever. It will also help you further your IT/development skills by creating a website that offers products and services.

Options for businesses that you can start include:

  • Dropshipping (selling a third-party’s products through a website)

  • IT Consulting (selling your expertise as a mentor to young IT professionals)

  • Affiliate marketing (promoting a company’s products through a website or blog)

Those are three options that take next to no capital to get started, and they can earn you extra income/further your IT education.

#9: Improve your time management skills

Last but not least, mastering time management is an incredible goal to set for any department, and IT is no exception.

IT projects often have steep deadlines that have to go off without a hitch.

That’s why you’ll benefit from citing time management as one of your primary professional goals.

There are lots of ways you can improve your time management. Software tools can help, but often the best solution is to start writing detailed work schedules and sticking to them.

Final thoughts: Professional goals examples

Professional goals are necessary to advance your career, learn new skills, and stay relevant within your industry.

I hope that these professional goals examples have sparked some goal ideas of your own.

Career goals don’t have to be overly complicated, either. All you need is a target to focus your efforts on during a given timeframe, and you’re good to go.

Did I miss any of your favorite professional goals? Let me know in the comments below.