How to Create Professional Goals that will Advance Your Career

We all want to get ahead in our careers by setting professional goals. Professional development goals are essential because they stimulate and challenge you to move forward in the short and long term. When setting career goals, you want to ensure they are challenging but attainable. Professional goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

When your goals fit these SMART criteria, you are more likely to accomplish them and progress professionally.

Setting Professional Goals for 2023 and Beyond

While the SMART criteria are good guidelines and best practices, the only “right” professional goals are the ones that are right for you. You may already know what you want to achieve, but these steps can help you establish a framework for your path and track your progress toward your goals in the short and long term.

  1. Begin by looking at your past successes. Consider what you achieved, how you did it, and what may have changed since then.
  2. Consider what you want and why. Your goals should represent what is most important to you right now.
  3. Once you know what you want to achieve and why, you can focus more on what you want more of in your professional life, what you want less of, and what aspects of your professional life you enjoy the most.
  4. Write down your professional goals. These should reflect what is important to you, what you’re best at, and what you love to do. Use the SMART criteria to evaluate and structure your goals, giving them clarity and direction.

Tips for Achieving Your Professional Goals

Now that you have a framework for your professional goals, it’s time to start achieving them. Professional goals constantly adapt and change, so you must return to your goals regularly and assess them, adjusting as needed.

Use your short-term goals as checkpoints to motivate you on your professional journey and keep you on track toward your long-term professional goals. Using your support system to inspire and encourage you is essential, too. Your professional network, as well as your family and friends, can help you in attaining your professional goals. For more intensive, direct support, a professional coach may be a valuable asset to engage.


Setting professional goals is a crucial skill for career growth and advancement. Taking the time to prepare for the new year by evaluating, revising, and establishing professional goals will help you stay on track for development and improvement in your career in 2023.

Is a new role or career one of your professional goals for 2023? Contact Career Foundations to get your job search started today!