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Examples of Personal Development and Professional Goals

Jan 15, 2021
(updated: Apr 28, 2023)
Max 5 min read

Whether you're early in your career or are mid-level, personal and professional goals come up whether you're a freelancer building her business, working at a company, or just getting started in your career. In one of our previous articles, we talked about goal setting and how to set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. We've also talked about the benefits of a SWOT analysis.

In this article, we're going to talk about the difference between personal development and professional goals and how these two can interact with each other. 

Goals to earn a promotion

If you're working at a company, often times setting goals and sharing them with either HR or your manager is one of the ways to help work towards a promotion. Accomplishing the goals that you've set to grow yourself or help your organization are demonstrable ways that can be measured and tracked to earn you more money. 

When you're setting both personal and professional goals, it's important to consider what your company goals are. You'll be more successful if your goals are aligned with the larger objective of the organization.

Personal development goals for companies

When your goal is to get a promotion at work, here is a list of some personal development goals you can set to help accomplish this. These goals are less quantitative and more focused on developing your soft skills in a work environment. Focusing on quantitative and qualitative goals can help your success in a company.

Build your relationships with your coworkers

Having positive relationships with your coworkers, from execs, managers, and peers, is a great step in developing company respect, growing your network, and sharing what you’re working on.

Example of a SMART goal

To build my relationships with my coworkers, I commit to two coffee chats per month (virtually or in-person) and to attend at least one company event when applicable. 

This isn’t a goal that you need to tell your manager or HR but is something that should show its results naturally. It helps build your relationships, networks, and can even help develop friendships.

Improve your organization and prioritization skills

Improving organization is a great skill you’re able to communicate with your manager. If your company is more disorganized you can even set a goal to implement a new process or way to work together across departments, roles, and divisions. 

Example of a SMART goal

To research and create a new organization system to be able to share with my manager what tasks are being worked on, what’s been accomplished, and what’s in the queue. 

Improve your communication and listening skills with clients and coworkers

Active listening is an important skill to have that can help your relationships with your coworkers, managers, and clients. 

Example of SMART goal

By the end of Q1, I will have read three books that I researched on active listening and practice them within the meetings I have at work.

Professional Development Goals to Earn a Promotion

As you’ll see below, most of these goals are quantitive and can be specifically measured. They’re not focused on developing soft skills, but quantitatively measuring your success.

Increase company (revenue, retention, site traffic, time on page, etc) 

Increasing company metrics is a great goal that you can measure and is based on the role that you have. Revenue is a great one if you’re in sales, but if you’re a content writer, blog traffic can be the goal that you set. Depending on your skills and roles, set a realistic goal that you can obtain.

Example of SMART goal

Increase traffic to blog by 100% within six months of content strategy execution.

Goals for growing your freelance business

When your goals are set specifically for yourself, they can look different than the goals when you're trying to get a promotion. When you're working towards a promotion there is a need to understand and identify what are the company's goals and align your goals to fit within that. 

When you have your own business, you get to decide what's most important to you, knowing you're in full control of making that goal become a reality. Whereas many companies don't care about how many hours per week you want to work, or what your work-life balance looks like, you can factor those things into your goal setting.

Personal and professional development

Develop your network

Developing your network is one of the most valuable ways of growing your business. Referrals are a great way of getting the best leads and increasing the people in your network that know what you’re working on is a huge advantage. 

There are many different ways of developing your network from joining networking associations, reaching out to connections on Linkedin, or asking people in your network if they would introduce you to anyone they think you would connect with or can learn from.

Example of SMART Goal

This year, I will have one meeting per month with someone in my network to strengthen our relationship and will research and join a professional networking organization.

Monthly income goal

Income can have a high variance in freelancing. Setting a couple of different goals can be helpful in knowing the minimum amount you need to make to sustain yourself as a freelancer, vs a target number that allows you to invest in yourself and thrive. 

Example of SMART Goal

By the end of Q3, I will earn $4,000 a month in freelancing. By the following Q2, my goal is to earn $6,000 per month freelancing by either adding on new clients or expanding my client’s scope.

Work-life balance

Work-life balance is one of the reasons why many people choose to freelance. So taking into consideration the goals you have in how you want to live your life. Some freelancers are happy to work 40+ hours a week, while others want to find a way to work part-time while still keeping a high income. Learn what’s important to you so you can work towards accomplishing your goals.

Example of SMART Goal

By the end of this year, my goal is to earn $5,000 per month without exceeding 20 working hours per week.

There are a lot of different goals to consider for personal development and professional development, and that includes the goals you set with your clients. When you think about it, a contract is simply a way to hold both parties accountable in reaching agreed upon goals. See how easy it is to get in agreement with Indy’s contract tool.

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