50 Examples of Professional Goals for Work

professional goals examples and definition, explained below

Some examples of popular work and professional goals include getting a promotion, improving your communication skills, and increasing your productivity.

To set high-quality professional goals, focus on measurable and time-bound goals. The below examples can be used as a basis for your own professional goals for work.

Browse through the examples and find one that resonates with you.

Once you have selected a professional goal from the below examples, expand on them to make them specific to your own situation.

To expand and add detail relevant to your life, I recommend using the SMART goals framework. Scroll to the end of this article for an example of a professional goal that uses the SMART framework. 

Top 10 Examples of Professional Goals for Work

  1. I will meet with my mentor twice per month for the next six months to reflect on my own strengths and weaknesses, so I can have a better understanding of my own skillset in six months.
  2. I will take daily productivity notes in a productivity diary for the next five weeks in order to better track my time and incrementally improve my productivity.
  3. I will network with one new colleague per week for five weeks to ensure I have a growing network of contacts within my company.
  4. I will complete one probation task per week for five weeks in order to complete my probation period before September.
  5. I will rise to a managerial position within five years by volunteering for leadership positions in upcoming team projects.
  6. I will catch up on the latest industry knowledge by attending two nationally recognized conferences by the end of the year.
  7. I will develop clear experience and skills in leadership by volunteering to mentor and oversee the new interns arriving in January.
  8. I will improve my productivity by using a productivity app while working on my computer and writing down daily goals at the start of each day.
  9. I will reduce burnout in my role by moving to a hybrid at-home working model by the end of this year.
  10. I will revitalize my career by making a sideways move into a new department within my workplace as soon as a position opens up.

Professional Goals for Work by Category

Professional Development Goals

11. Take a refresher course to catch up with the latest methods and advancements in the industry.

12. Attend a professional development retreat to learn from peers about best practices in the industry.

13. Ask a colleague to observe my work once per month and provide feedback on how I am progressing.

14. Sign up for the top three industry newsletters and read them weekly in order to keep in touch with what’s happening in the industry.

15. Buy the newest software that’s designed to help me work more productively and learn to implement it.

16. Give a presentation in an upcoming staff meeting in order to share what I’ve learned with colleagues.

17. Take a public speaking and presentation skills refresher course in order to improve how I speak to my team.

18. Visit another department and research how they do things. I will take away 3 new strategies I can implement in my own department.

19. Read three books by industry thought leaders and implement their strategies.

20. Take a master’s degree in order to upskill and achieve a higher pay grade.

Workplace Recognition Goals

21. Win an employee of the month award by December.

22. Earn a lifetime achievement award from my professional industry body.

23. Write a journal article and submit it to an industry magazine.

24. Submit an application for a leadership award and provide evidence of my leadership skills.

25. Implement an awards system in my workplace so people can be sufficiently recognized when they do great things.

Networking Goals for Professionals

26. Meet three new people who are ahead of me in their careers and ask them for coffee in order to pick their brains.

27. Make sure each of the managers in the tier above me know my name and how I contribute uniquely to the workplace.

28. Contribute to the workplace culture by bringing coffees to team meetings, implementing positive communication techniques, and setting high personal standards.

29. Attend the largest industry conference this year in order to both network and engage with the latest knowledge in the industry.

30. Reach out via email to fifteen people in similar roles to mine (in other companies) to exchange notes on best practices and implement their best ideas in my workforce.

Read Also: A Complete List of Communication Goals

Professional Skill Development for Work

31. Develop the self-confidence to speak up in team meetings.

32. Improve upon my non-verbal communication skills so I can communicate more effectively with my team.

33. Become more active with my union (perhaps as the workplace’s union organizer) in order to help improve wages and conditions.

34. Learn to say no to people who are asking me to do things that would be more effectively delegated to other team members.

35. Take a personal day once per month (with the permission of my boss) to avoid burnout like I had last year.

Work Project Goals

36. Improve my organizational skills by implementing a new information storage and retrieval method. Hopefully, this will reduce clutter and save time.

37. Complete three overdue and projects that have been sitting on the backburner since last year.

38. Don’t start any new projects at work until my current ones are completed.

39. Identify two projects that are least important time-wasters and dump them so I can focus more on the projects that are most important to me.

40. Ask my boss to assign me a project that I can take the lead on in order to demonstrate my leadership skills.

Career Advancement Goals

41. Move up to the next tier in my career progression within 18 months.

42. Apply to 5 jobs per month for the next 6 months until I get the job I want.

43. Meet with my mentor to update my CV and practice some interview techniques that will best position me for career advancement.

44. Meet with my boss to let them know that I am interested in career advancement and ask them for tips, help, and advice on how to progress.

45. Make a sideways move into another departmental team within 12 months where there are more career advancement opportunities.

Financial Goals for Professionals

46. Identify five ways I can demonstrate higher productivity so I can ask for a raise that is above the rate of inflation this year.

47. Identify three ways to reduce overhead waste in my department and implement cost-saving measures.

48. Meet with my accountant three times per year to find new ways to decrease work-related expenses and identify work-related tax breaks.

49. Invest $1500 into my professional development by the end of the year.

50. Lock-in $5000 worth of grants to conduct internal workforce research by applying for at least 6 grants this year.

Work-Life Balance Goals

51. Reduce the amount of time wasted in meetings by having less meetings, making the meetings more productive, and implementing email-based meetings where possible.

52. Transition to a hybrid work-from-home routine so I can reduce transit time and lower my stress levels.

53. Make use of the company’s free gym pass to let off steam after work and, hopefully, increase my overall energy levels which will help with productivity.

54. Apply for my annual leave by the end of February to lock in the best time for annual leave as well as providing certainty for my team about when I won’t be around.

55. Change to a 4-hour work week by coming into the office early Monday to Thursday so I can take Fridays off.

See More: Work-Life Balance Examples

Leadership Goals

56. Mentor one of the new interns to help give back to the profession (and ‘learn through teaching’).

57. Listen to my team more to empower them. I want to become a leader who inspires the best work, encourages innovation, and doesn’t micromanage.

58. Have a one-on-one meeting with every member of my team in order to learn how I can best serve them (and develop better rapport with them).

59. Consciously teach leadership skills to one staff member who I am preparing to take over from me when I move on to my next job.

60. Revise company policy by consulting with team members on what their needs are from the workplace.

See 50 SMART Leadership Goals Here

How to Set SMART Goals for Work

The above goals for work examples will need to be expanded upon in order to make them clear and achievable. One of the best goal-setting methods is the SMART Goals framework.

The SMART goals model ensures you have thought about five important aspects of achievable goals. It ensures they are: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Here is an example of one of the above professional development goals in SMART goals format:

  • Specific – I will meet with my mentor for support on my concerns and to keep getting pushed to do better.
  • Measurable – I will do it twice per month.
  • Attainable – My mentor has agreed to coffee every second Monday at 9am.
  • Relevant – Meeting with my mentor will improve my ability to self-reflect and self-improve.
  • Time-Bound – Six-month time span.


Goals for work can help you to focus on what’s important, achieve continual self-improvement, and be a lifelong learner. By presenting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound professional goals examples at your next professional development meeting, you’ll be able to impress your boss and make it through the meeting unscathed!

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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