Goals give you a direction to move towards, something to achieve after grueling hours of hard work.

Work goals are especially important since they motivate you to go beyond the basics of your job. Even if your job is monotonous, a goal can help you push past the daily grind and feel energized to strive for something more.

And career goals can boost your professional development since you learn new skills and acquire the knowledge needed to achieve them.

To help you elevate your career, we’ll explain what work goals are and why you need them. Plus, we’ll give you 9 common examples to help you get started thinking about your own big goals.

Get started with monday.com

What are work goals?

Work goals are targets or objectives that you aim to achieve. They help you gain experience and improve your professional skills.

You can have personal development goals, such as ‘improve work ethic’ or ‘develop workplace relationships’, or professional development goals, like completing a certification course or becoming a manager.

Often, successfully achieving a professional development goal also involves personal development.

To decide what your goals are, you must first answer the elusive question — the one they ask in every job interview — “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Dig deep, give it some thought, and answer this question honestly.

Your answer to this question will help decide your short-term and long-term professional goals.

Let’s say your long-term objective is to become the regional head of your company in 5 years. To achieve this, you must be a dedicated worker with consistent performance and have something to show for it.

Attributes like ‘increase [performance metric] by 5% in 3 months, ‘apply for X promotion,’ etc., can be short-term goals that help build you up to achieving your longer-term target.

Why you should set career goals

Here are 4 reasons why everyone should set career goals:

  • Provide a direction: professional goals can act as a guide. They can help you answer questions such as ‘what do I want to learn?” and “what do I want to achieve?” When you know what you’re working towards, your priorities become more focused, and the way you approach each task changes.
  • Gain clarity: clear goals help you see the bigger picture. This can help you manage your time and resources better since you now know the skills you need to develop, how to develop them, and by when.
  • Measurable success keeps you motivated: short-term performance goals keep you motivated and on track to achieve your overall goal. You can measure progress toward these short-term goals and identify where improvement is needed.
  • Gain an edge over competitors: the process of setting and defining goals helps you develop both personally and professionally.

Goal-orientated employees, who are motivated and confident, are more likely to stand out and outperform their peers who are caught up in the daily rat race.

How to set work goals

Using the acronym ‘SMART’ is a simple process that can help you with your goal setting. A smart goal is:

  • Specific: your goals should be as detailed as possible, such as “gain 10 new leads by April 15.” Specific goals leave no room for procrastination, overthinking, or excuses.
  • Measurable: your goals must be measurable. “Become a better writer” is vague and not helpful. However, “finish writing course by April 30” or “seek feedback from editors/mentors” is a measurable goal that gives you a clear direction.
  • Attainable: set attainable goals rather than unfeasible ones. Properly evaluate the steps you need to take and the amount of time required to complete them.
  • Relevant: while you can have goals outside of your profession, your workplace goals must be related to what you want to achieve in your career.
  • Timely: always set deadlines or a defined period for your goals. This provides clarity and creates a sense of urgency to take action.

9 work goals to inspire you

Here are 9 common career goals to inspire you in 2021:

#1. Complete a certification course

organize tasks on monday.com

One of the most common professional goals is to complete a course related to your current role or the job you’re aspiring for.

Certification courses help you improve your skills and provide insights into your industry. This information and expertise can help you reach your goals and beat out competitors when it’s time for a job search, promotion, or performance review.

Of course, juggling a course while managing your daily work tasks can be hard to handle. For better organization and clarity on the tasks you need to complete daily or weekly, you can use a digital workspace like monday.com to help you out.

With 9 different project board views and the ability to group tasks, you’ll never lose track of what to work on and when.

#2. Get regular feedback from peers and managers

Asking for feedback is a simple goal that’s also crucial for development.

While you might have an idea of where you need to improve, feedback from peers, managers, and your team could give you a different perspective and open your eyes to any gaps you might have missed.

If you thought your major fault was time management and were solely focused on that, feedback could reveal that your work methods were lacking or you weren’t using the right tools.

Using monday.com, you can collect feedback on a regular basis (such as once per quarter) via forms within project boards. You can customize each form, allow anonymous submissions, and share different forms with different departments.

feedback forms on monday.com

#3. Learn new tools

Tools or software platforms are an integral part of the workplace. Learning how to use new tools or use existing software more efficiently can help you work faster and complete more tasks.

The more tools you learn, the large your work scope gets, meaning you can explore more opportunities and set goals accordingly.

And, learning new tools and introducing them to your peers or manager makes you seem like a knowledgeable employee.

For example, becoming proficient in a Work OS like monday.com can help you organize your work more efficiently. And monday.com’s easy-to-use, intuitive interface means you’re not going to invest hours in getting up to speed.

Take it a step further by introducing it to your team for better collaboration.

Get started

#4. Track and improve against performance metrics

Performance metrics are measurable factors that clearly outline where you stand as a professional.

Metrics can be generic such as deadlines or the number of tasks completed weekly. They could also be more specific to your job responsibilities, such as SERP rankings for marketers or the number of leads converted for a salesperson.

When you measure your metrics, you’re likely to notice areas where you need to improve. Which brings clarity about where you could consider setting some short-term goals.

Whatever your performance metrics are, monday.com can help you track them. Our project boards have endless features and dashboards that can help you visualize your performance data.

#5. Improve communication skills

Clear communication is the cornerstone of a good team. The way you communicate directly impacts your workplace relationships and how you’re perceived. It also affects a team’s work efficiency.

Workplace communication goes far beyond verbal communication. It includes chats, emails, comments, infographics, presentations, etc.

Improving communication can be both a personal and a professional development goal. If you want to improve, you can take public speaking or communications courses, software courses that can show you how to create better presentations, etc.

Any team of professionals can streamline their entire workplace communication by using monday.com. The work management software has dynamic project boards that allow for in-task comments, a discussion page for the whole team, and integrations with third-party apps, like Slack and Gmail.

streamline communication with monday.com comments

#6. Grow your network

Professional networking is a crucial goal that aids your development. Connecting with peers and seniors in your industry can greatly improve your knowledge, give you insights on current trends, help you find new collaborators, and so much more.

Networking is crucial in sales, marketing, and related roles. A sales executive relies on effective networking to generate leads, and a sales board like the one below can help you keep track of all those connections:

manage leads and connections on monday.com

Plus, you don’t need to be in the sales team to have a networking board. monday.com lets you create dynamic boards for whichever field you’re in.

#7. Make the most of your time

Better time management is a common professional and personal goal, with most workers trying to complete their work efficiently and quickly.

However, this is easier said than done, especially if you’re working from home. Endless distractions lead to procrastination and reduce your work efficiency.

Time tracking helps create a greater sense of accountability and helps reduce procrastination. This leads to better deadline management and might even improve your work-life balance.

monday.com allows you to track the time you take for each task. If you thought you could complete a task in 2 hours but the time tracker says you took 4, it’s time to evaluate where you’re going wrong or at least extend your deadlines.

time tracking on monday.com

The platform also allows you to set clear deadlines and milestones for every project and sends notifications to keep you focused.

#8. Become a leader

Most professionals have the long-term goal of becoming a leader within an organization. A leader could be a team lead, a manager, a department head, the CEO, etc.

Help support your work aspirations by volunteering for valuable work opportunities. For example, you can request to take the initiative for new projects or ask for more leadership responsibilities.

monday.com’s project boards have the features to help you with all of these tasks and much more.

Making a contribution to an organization and investing in your own skills and experience shows employers that you’re an enthusiastic and committed employee. This helps you stand out when the time comes to apply for a new role.

#9.  Increase financial earnings

Everyone has financial goals. Ideally, a worker’s earnings improve as their career progresses. Whether that’s by progressing within one organization or moving between companies to get the desired pay.

For those working in traditional jobs, the easiest way to improve earnings is to be more efficient at work and apply for promotions or get raises. They could also change jobs for a higher salary.

For freelancers and gig workers, the more work they do, the more money they earn.

In both scenarios, you need a work platform that can help you create an efficient work process by keeping track of tasks, monitoring progress, and meeting deadlines consistently.

A monday.com project board can help with all of this, and we even have templates for freelancers.

Time to tackle your work goals

Work goals are crucial for professional development.

Once you’ve set your professional goals, you can focus on reaching them with the help of comprehensive work management platforms like monday.com, which are suitable for both personal and organization-wide usage.

Why not start planning and crushing your goals with monday.com by checking out our Daily Task Manager template?

Get started