Examples of Short-Term Goals To Improve Your Career

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 11 October 2022

Published 30 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Short-term professional goals can help you clarify your objectives for a certain period, which can boost your job opportunities and prospects. Defining and establishing realistic objectives for the near future, irrespective of your area of work or hierarchy within an organisation, is likely to make you more productive and capable of achieving your career objective. Setting short-term work objectives is a crucial step, but achieving them requires commitment and effort. In this article, we go over what are short-term professional goals and some examples of short-term goals you can implement to improve your career.

Related: Career Goals: How To Set, Examples and Tips for Achieving

What are short-term professional goals?

Short-term goals are essentially small objectives that you set to help you bridge the gap between where you're currently at and where you foresee yourself in the long run. Short term goals often entail tasks to be completed in a short period, no more than one or two months. In addition to breaking down a complicated goal into smaller, simpler, measurable and more realistic ones, short-term goals motivate you on your journey to long-term achievement. Creating smaller milestones ensures that you're constantly focused on your next goal. Listed below are 40 examples of such goals to improve your career:

  1. Reading a book on leadership

  2. Enrolling in a continual online education course

  3. Researching and attending industry conferences

  4. Learning how to progress in your career

  5. Studying to obtain a professional certification

  6. Organising your workstation

  7. Attending a seminar once a month

  8. Increasing your productivity level by a certain percentage

  9. Improving your communication skills

  10. Attending networking events

  11. Cultivating confidence

  12. Stopping procrastination

  13. Being early on work

  14. Meeting deadlines earlier

  15. Updating your portfolio

  16. Learning about a new technology

  17. Updating your career plan

  18. Setting up a professional social media account

  19. Looking for additional sources of income

  20. Studying your industry

  21. Learning a new language

  22. Doing volunteer work

  23. Overcoming your shortcoming

  24. Reducing screen time to enhance focus

  25. Learning a new technical skill

  26. Becoming more confident in public speaking

  27. Achieving a key performance indicator (KPI)

  28. Landing a job in your desired organisation

  29. Gathering hands-on experience in your chosen industry

  30. Building a personal website

  31. Becoming a mentor

  32. Seeking a mentor

  33. Enhancing work-life balance

  34. Honing one soft skill

  35. Connecting with industry professionals

  36. Evaluating your current work and progress

  37. Coming up with a savings plan

  38. Building connections with your colleagues

  39. Developing a morning routine

  40. Getting out of your comfort zone

Related: Career Planner: Definition and How To Outline Your Career

14 examples of short-term goals for work

Discussed below are some examples of short-term goals, along with their explanation and elaboration for your better understanding:

1. Obtain a new certificate or degree

As new technologies and processes emerge, almost all professional disciplines evolve over time. As a result, continuous learning is a crucial short-term objective. A postgraduate degree, an online technical course or a corporate certification is likely to boost your job chances and offer you a competitive edge.

2. Enhance your performance metrics

Improving your performance numbers, such as quantity, quality and productivity, is arguably the most simple and fundamental professional short-term objective. Having such an objective in mind helps you grow professionally at what you do. Your performance metrics may vary depending on your career and organisation, but these are often correlated to enhancing client satisfaction, delivering projects on time and minimising the organisation's costs and expenditures. Working hard towards achieving these targets on a daily basis can put you in a strong position to achieve a long-term objective, such as career advancement.

3. Strengthen your communication, interpersonal and networking skills

Understanding how to connect and reach out to relevant experts in your field can help you accomplish your long-term career objectives. Networking may connect you with industry connections that can lead to new opportunities. To fully benefit from networking possibilities, it's essential that you enhance your verbal and nonverbal communication skills to effectively communicate with key stakeholders and industry professionals. In addition to improving your networking experience, enhancing your communication skills can aid you in better coordinating with your colleagues and being a more effective team player.

4. Pursue a new occupation or role

You can deem changing jobs as a short-term professional goal. There are times when a job or organisation is unable to assist you in furthering your professional growth. By shifting jobs, you can keep yourself motivated and retain your drive to continuously grow, which can boost your professional opportunities in the long run.

5. Enhance your work-life balance

Striking the appropriate balance between working too little and working too much is crucial for your well-being and quality of life. If done properly, a work-life balance can leave a beneficial influence on your health, wellness and workplace performance. As such, aim to establish a work-life balance to help you achieve your career goals while not jeopardising your physical and emotional well-being.

6. Make more effective use of your working hours

The time you invest in and the outcomes you provide during working hours might add up over time and help you achieve your long-term goals. Aiming to reduce time-wasting behaviours such as Internet surfing or chatting to family or friends during work hours can help you become more productive and achieve more in the time you spend at work. Additionally, you can look for and try out new ways to stop procrastinating.

7. Create a personal website

A personal website is a simple and efficient method to promote your job experience and talents. It might be beneficial in a variety of scenarios, such as when applying for new jobs or gaining greater acknowledgement at work. On your website, you can include your most recent work portfolio as well as professional accomplishments and qualifications.

8. Communicate with your colleagues more frequently

Because most professional professions and responsibilities are part of a broader team effort, effective communication and interpersonal skills are essential. Effectively working and collaborating with your colleagues is likely to increase your chances of success. Take an effort to speak with them and connect with them whenever feasible, like at lunch breaks or workplace activities. A strong rapport and connection with your colleagues can also help you kick start expanding your professional network.

9. Get to work earlier

Arrive 15 minutes sooner to work or a job-related function every day is a short-term objective that might potentially boost your long-term professional chances. Not only can it be simpler to focus and arrange your day when there are fewer people around, but you can also project the impression of a hardworking and committed individual. Moreover, reaching to work earlier can help you mentally prepare yourself and minimise the emotions of rushing and stressing out.

10. Organise your workstation

Keeping your desk and any of your workspaces tidy and organised may substantially increase your morale and motivation. It can also demonstrate to others that you're a well-organised person. Moreover, an organised workstation can tremendously aid you in boosting productivity and efficiency.

11. Read more

Irrespective of the sector you work in or the position you hold, there's always something new to learn because of improvements and updates. Every month, try to make a concerted effort to read at least one job-related book. The newly gained knowledge may accumulate over time and most likely be a professional advantage at some point in the future, whether it's for advancement or job changing opportunities.

12. Familiarise yourself with the latest technologies

There are continual technical advancements in almost every sector and being aware of those occurring in your line of work might potentially boost your future performance. Look for internet sites that cover such industry changes and check them on a regular basis to keep up to date. If you've got any spare time, invest some of it into thoroughly learning new technologies that can greatly impact your industry.

13. Kick start a personal project

Working on something you're enthusiastic about in your leisure time might also benefit your work life. A side project is likely to boost and retain your creativity and good mood, making it simpler to deal with negative working circumstances. These projects may be related to your hobbies, such as baking or sports.

14. Observe your colleagues

Invest a concerted effort to closely observe how your colleagues handle specific job circumstances, particularly employees with more experience than you. This may expose you to new methods of carrying out your duties. It can also provide you with a better understanding of who are the most dedicated and efficient individuals in the company.

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