So what are your career goals?
This is a question you might hear from your friends, colleagues, HR folks, or potential employers during an interview.
Recruiters, in particular, love bringing up this question during interviews. They want to understand if a proposed role (or several) matches your personal career objectives. Because if not, you are unlikely to stay with their company for too long. Yet, every great company wants to minimize employee turnover.
Also, this question acts as a quick “reality check” of your self-awareness and overall understanding of the industry. For example, saying that you “want to sit on the board of directors in three years” when you are applying to an entry-level role might sound pretentious and immature.
That said: formalizing your professional goals can be a tough exercise. To help you out, we’ve made this big list, featuring examples of professional goals,
Big List Professional Goals Examples
The next time you get asked to discuss your career goals and professional aspirations, use these prompts to give your best answer!
Examples of Professional Growth Goals
There’s no shame in touting your ambition. Show that you are a driven, motivated professional and want to progress through the chain of command.
The caveat, however, is to not focus your reply on personal gains (e.g. higher salary or prestigious job title) but to strengthen the value you could generate for the company.
Here are several captivating examples of professional growth goals:
- “In five years, I’d love to head a content team (or the entire marketing department) and make content marketing the primary lead generation channel, bringing not just 100K+ website visitors per month, but also up to $250K in attributable revenue.”
- “I see joining the Customer Success team as the next step in my career. Perhaps in two-three years, once I develop a better understanding of the corporate sales cycles and learn more about customer advocacy and experience management.”
- “I’m pretty satisfied in the paralegal role, but I always wanted to complete a legal degree and move up to become an associate and then continue my career in corporate law.”
Need more ideas? Check our previous post about answering “Where do you see yourself in five years?” interview question.
Short-Term Professional Goals Examples
Some employers want to learn about the “big picture” of your career development. Others are more interested in what you’d want to accomplish in your current role. After all, they hire you to get results. Tell them what success in the offered role would look like to you.
Here are several working samples of short-term professional goals:
- “As a training project manager, I’d really want to learn SCRUM better and improve my knowledge of JIRA + Confluence software. I also want to have a successful first project (of course) — and deliver it ahead of the planned timeline.”
- “My short-term goals for this role would be re-designing the checkout page and key product landing pages on your website and doing extensive CRO. As mentioned earlier, I see ways to simplify your checkout flow for mobile users, which could lead to major improvements in conversion rates.”
- “I understand that Acme Inc’s reputation recently took a hit after the data leak. So my priority would be creating opportunities for more positive coverage by working on original research together with the marketing team and negotiating founder interviews with my media connections.”
- “This year my focus area is improving the existing service catalog to align it with the new company positioning and customer demands. I want to remap it using JTBD and category management techniques and then validate with sample customer cohorts.”
Professional Development Goals Examples
Professional goals aren’t limited to career achievements and vertical progression up in the corporate ranks. It also pays off to show that you are a life-long learner and want to horizontally expand your knowledge, upskill, or get trained to do new things.
Given that 94% of business leaders expect their employees to master new skills on the job, talking about your professional development goals can win you extra points during the interview or your annual performance review session.
Here are several sample responses you can adapt to your needs:
- “I feel that I currently miss having skills for curating digital materials and making multimedia sections – something more and more library visitors expect to see. Hence, I was planning to take an introductory course in media studies this year and attend a masterclass from Amy Schneider of Congress Library on the matter.”
- “The insurance agency has changed a lot after the pandemic, so as an agent, I realize that strong interpersonal skills aren’t always enough to make sales organically happen. This year, I’ve completed an introductory course to social selling and I’m now working on my certification in digital marketing. Next, I’d be curious to learn more about product marketing as the industry seems to be heading towards embedded insurance product distribution.”
- “This year I’m looking to learn more about UX writing. After collaborating closely with our copywriting team, I realized that (micro)copy plays an equally important part in UX as graphical elements and overall information architecture. So I’d really want to brush up my knowledge in this area to be a more well-rounded professional.”
Professional Goals Examples for Managers
Your manager’s resume introduced the employer to your past accomplishments, which hooked them. Now you need to paint a picture of the future results you could secure for them (if hired).
To accomplish that, adapt one of the following professional goals examples to your managerial background:
- “In my last position, I managed to grow a business analyst department from one person to fifteen, plus develop a “Center of Excellence” checklist program. If hired, not only do I want to replicate these results, but I also want Acme Corp to progressively adopt new BI tools (predictive analytics and next-best-action algorithms) to deliver even better market analysis to our clients.”
- “As an Agile Coach, I’d say that my core priorities (apart from the obvious delivering projects on time and within the budget range) would be ensuring high team morale and retention. I intend to keep team turnover at 0% and team happiness at adobe 90%.”
- “Delicious Dinner dinners have just returned to pre-pandemic foot traffic, which is excellent news. But our CSAT scores are at the lower end. I plan to channel my efforts into hiring extra waiting staff (as we’re short on people across locations), improving dish presentation, and introducing ‘seasonal specials’ to drive more repeat visitors.”
- “I’m a KPIs person, so here’s how I see things for Property Dev Inc this year: I see a way to improve occupancy rates to 95% for the downtown condo area by refurbishing one unit as a co-living space for mid-term (6 to 12 months) rentals. Also, plan to curb tenant turnover by 25% by changing our lease policy and implementing a stricter screening process.”
Teacher Professional Goals Examples
Many teachers are happy in their roles and don’t look for rapid promotion up the ranks (which is fine). Still, being unable to properly articulate your career goals can make you sound passive and disengaged — and that’s a surefire way to being overlooked for a promotion.
Here are several nifty examples to show your passion and professional drive:
- “I want to improve my classroom management skills, which is understandable since I’m teaching elementary. In particular, I want to introduce more gamification techniques — a digital leaderboard for homework assignments, role modeling games, and an outdoor historic town quest for the summer. I believe this could help ease the kids back into in-school mode after a year of virtual learning.”
- “My professional (and let’s be candid — personal goal) is to see Sunnydale High’s female tennis team doing the nationals this year. The girls have been training hard after the pandemic slump – and already shown solid results during the sectionals.”
- “I love to keep my goals scoped, but ambitious. So this year, my focus is to increase the average math test scores to a 90% pass rate. Bold? Yes. Doable? Absolutely, because I’m pairing this with a new module quiz approach and self-training guide for students who are currently training behind.”
Nursing Professional Goals Examples
Nursing is a super-intensive career, which requires both emotional strength and constant education. That’s why you should always demonstrate your eagerness to learn new patient care protocols, medical procedures, and research know-how.
At the same time, showing that you are also improving your social skills can be advantageous as more and more hospitals are focused on improving patient satisfaction rates.
Here are sample nursing professional goals you could bring up to your employer:
- “After my last rotation in the Pain Clinic, I was really inspired to learn more about emerging approaches to chronic pain management and new drug clinical trials. That’s why I applied to complete a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) certification program this year.”
- “The hospital got a major technology lift over these two years, so I’m now focused on mastering the new e-health system and patient portal to ensure timely patient updates and accurate record-keeping as per HIPAA standards. I’m also currently completing a course in cyber-safety best practices.”
- “I’ve been a Senior CNA for almost a decade now – and developed a wealth of procedural competencies, clinical experiences, and strong patient management skills. As a next step, I’d like to progress to being a Nurse Educator and spend more time teaching new nurses about the top standards of care we have at Colorado State Hospital.
Setting Goals and Getting Them Done
The reason why many employers love asking about goals is that they want to track your progress. By naming your goal, you also draw a line of accountability. So not only should you frame realistic goals, but also put in the effort of working your way towards them!