How to Create Career Development Plan: Examples of Professional Work Goals to Pursue This 2023

A man writing professional work goals

It’s easy to carry on doing what you’ve always done or simply seize any opportunity that presents itself without giving your goals any serious consideration. However, sometimes you get bored and lose interest in what you’re doing, and you yearn for something fresh and challenging. People frequently feel pressured to change careers as a result of this.

Career choices don’t have to be permanent. People may transition into new careers and industries as a result of changing circumstances and interests. If you’re thinking about switching careers, pursuing your dream job, or just shifting to a higher position in the field, you need to prepare a strategy so you can make the transition smoothly.

We’ve got you covered, so relax! This blog post contains examples of professional work goals to get you inspired. The list also includes some professional objectives that you might wish to apply to your own career path, including your ambitions to start a new career.

What are Professional Goals?

Professional goals, also known as career development goals, are the specific measures you must pursue to advance in your chosen profession while improving your skills and abilities.

Good professional goals give you clarity about your future career path, the new skills you must learn, and the people in your professional network who will support your dream career. To put it simply, setting professional objectives is the key to responding to the dreaded job interview question “Where do you see yourself and your career in five years?”

Although sometimes the answer is obvious, such as when someone says, “I want to be chief technology officer,” other times, you might be unsure. In those cases, we advise to set goals that will lead you to identify your areas of interest and potential future interests.

Setting both short- and long-term objectives is beneficial, whether you know where you want to be in five years or are still figuring things out. Anything you can do in the next six months falls under the category of a short-term goal, whereas a long-term goal often takes longer to complete than six months. By creating both types of goals, you’ll have a clear roadmap of the actions you need to take both immediately and over time to create your ultimate goal.

A woman setting professional work goals

What Makes an Effective Professional Goal?

Goal setting should be both interesting and challenging, but not too difficult. The SMART framework can help you set ambitious goals that translate into corporate goals and objectives in addition to these parameters.

A SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Let’s take a closer look at each of those components:


A SMART goal isn’t vague, instead it has a clear objective. A specific goal should answer questions such as:

  • What needs to be accomplished?
  • Who’s responsible for it?
  • What steps need to be taken to achieve it?

Thinking through these questions helps get to the heart of what you’re aiming for.


SMART goals are measurable, making it simple to review whether they have been achieved. Consider the objective of going back to school to obtain a certain certification. Either you received a certificate or you didn’t, therefore it’s easy to see if this goal has been attained. To make this professional goal more impactful, you should incorporate measurable, trackable benchmarks.


At this stage of the process, you should give yourself a sobering reality check. Realistic goals should be set rather than lofty ones that you will inevitably fall from. Ask yourself: Is your goal something you can reasonably accomplish? If the goal you set is not an achievable goal, try revising it to make it more realistic.


There could be several professional work objectives vying for your attention. So, you must be selective by ensuring that your professional work goals are relevant to your larger career aspirations. Consider learning a foreign language as an example of a goal. While it might be relevant to your job goals if you work as a financial analyst for a large firm, it probably won’t be if you’re a nurse.

Therefore, when creating your professional work goals, think about where you want to be and what you need to accomplish to get there in 5 years. Choose career objectives that are relevant to where you are now and compatible with your ideal professional future.


Finally, a SMART goal is time-bound, which means you’ve set a deadline for yourself to complete it. This is essential, since having a deadline will keep you motivated and help you advance steadily.

Professional work goals with coffee and calendar

Why Set Professional Work Goals?

There are tons of reasons one must set professional goals. Setting up specific goals encourages you to reflect on your objectives, allowing you to seek a job or career that truly fulfills you. Since you know you have an action plan and are working toward something you genuinely want to achieve when you set professional goals, they offer your work focus and purpose.

Professional goal setting forces us to establish a clear vision of where we want to go. Setting goals, working toward them, and then celebrating when you succeed may be the most empowering activities there are.

You might first feel uncomfortable setting and pursuing your career goals because they are outside of your comfort zone. However, as you start recognizing your improvement, you’ll gain a better sense of power and control, more self-confidence, and higher self-esteem—all of which are admirable objectives in and of themselves!

How to Set Professional Goals You Can Achieve

There are neither right nor wrong professional goals. One of the best methods is the SMART approach mentioned earlier. Your chances of success will also increase if you make work goals that will clarify your objectives and provide a structure for tracking your progress. You must first consider what you want in order to set the best goals. Here’s how to pick which goals you want to pursue and how to focus your job desires.

1. Determine your core values.

Asking yourself what the most important to you is and what kind of employment has brought you the most fulfillment in the past is a great place to start. Try to keep your personal ideals separate from what you believe you “should” want or what would appear best on a performance assessment.

List the accomplishments for which you are most proud, together with the principles they upheld. Efficiency and organization, for instance, might be two of your values if one of your proudest professional moments involved redesigning and streamlining your team’s onboarding procedure.

2. Visualize your ideal job.

Now that you’ve identified your core values, you can start to think more specifically about how they could manifest in your career. To start, try asking yourself questions like, “What do I wish I could do more of?” “What do I want to do less of?” “What kind of work gives me the most fulfillment?” and “What do I excel at?”

You don’t have to decide everything at once, so give yourself some time to consider the possibilities. It’s normal for you (and your goals) to change over time, since it’s part of the process.

3. Write them down.

Write down your professional career goals as you create them. This will not only strengthen your dedication, but also push you to become certain about your goals. Instead of letting your goals just bounce around in your head, writing them down has a special power. In fact, just writing down your goals improves the chance that you’ll accomplish them.

Some people give up on their goals because they underestimate the amount of effort required to accomplish them. Most big goals demand considerable time, attention, and commitment; and regrettably, there may be periods along the way when it doesn’t seem like you’re progressing at all.

This is why you need to develop a realistic grasp of the process needed to achieve your goal, as well as how long those steps are likely to take. Then, decide if your goal is worthwhile. Set benchmarks for achieving your objective if you still believe it is possible. Even though your ultimate, “big” goal is still a way off, these milestones will allow you to recognize that you are making progress.

Examples of Professional Goals for Work This 2023

1. Enrolling in a Course to Enhance Skills

There are several options available for developing your professional soft and hard skills. For instance, you might choose to focus on developing your written communication skills, listening skills, Excel mastery, interpersonal skills, and many other, especially nowadays that you have an option to enroll in online courses. However, always make sure and see if it’s the right fit for you and if it’s worthwhile.

2. Ramping Up Your Network

Having a large and strong network of professional colleagues is an excellent method to boost your professional development. Not only will it will boost your visibility to opportunities; it will also provide a rich environment for mentorship. You can do this by attending conferences to meet other industry professionals.

3. Getting Promoted

Climbing the corporate ladder is not only a great professional work goal; it also puts more money in your pocket. Request feedback from your immediate superior, then address any areas noted as “room for improvement.”

4. Improving your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

Improving your KPIs at work is another excellent goal. Regardless of your industry, there are likely some relevant KPIs you can address. You might also enhance your productivity KPIs by raising the number of outputs expected of you or exceeding the benchmarks set by your employer.

5. Taking on a Leadership Position

Leadership capabilities are extremely valuable in the job. Fortunately, if this is your professional career objective, there are numerous options for you to lead. Consider heading up a committee, initiating an office recycling campaign, or creating a diversity program for your business. When your superiors see that you can effectively lead projects like these, they will entrust you with even more responsibilities, which could lead to a promotion.

Successful entrepreneur celebrates success with professional work goals

Plan Your Next Career Move Starting with Professional Work Goals

Switching careers is very common. If you’re thinking about changing careers, it’s a good idea to spend some time learning the field before making the transition. The examples of professional goals mentioned above are just stepping stones to get you started.

The IT sector is a competitive industry, so you need to raise your game. Begin your search by reviewing our IT resume samples and engaging one of our skilled IT resume writers. To attract opportunities, use Infotech Resume writing services. Let’s get started!

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