By Sharine Sample

It’s hard to believe it’s already November! With the end of the year quickly approaching, now is the time to take a moment to focus on your professional goals for 2023.

Easier said than done, right?! With the holidays coming up, it’s the busiest time of the year. That’s why I advise goal setting now, before we get caught up in holiday activities and commitments.

Why is setting goals so important? This process helps you choose a direction based on the results that you want to see. Goals help you narrow down your most important priorities and make plans to achieve them. I’ll bet that you have personal goals, so why not set some for your work life as well?

So, sit down, eliminate distractions, and clear your thoughts. Think about where you’d like to be professionally this time next year. You may want a greater leadership role at your current job, or to switch jobs altogether. I keep my goals realistic and simple. And I’ve learned not to put too much pressure on myself to check every item off the list – think of your goals as a guide to keep you accountable.

Now, create a checklist of steps that you need to take to reach your goals, and then check it twice. For me, setting goals in the form of a checklist makes it easier for me to accomplish them. Your checklist doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to make sense to you.

Whatever your professional goals for 2023 are, here are some suggestions for your “get started” checklist:

  1. Update your resume. Updating your resume is an easy way to start checking things off your list. If you already have this step covered, good job! Check it off the list.
  2. Update your cover letter. You may or may not use a cover letter when applying for a job, but it’s better to have one than not. Create a generic cover letter that you can tweak depending on the job or industry.
  3. Refresh your references. Have current references on-hand with correct spelling of names, titles, phone numbers, and emails. This will save you a lot of time later. Make sure to ask your references ahead of time if you can use them. This gives them a heads up and communicates that that you think highly enough of them to want their perspective.
  4. Choose two or three achievable Emphasis on “achievable.” When you add a goal to your checklist, ask yourself, “Is this something I can accomplish over the next few months?” If not, how can you modify it to make it more realistic? Think about how important these goals are to you. If you’re not motivated to work on reaching one or more of these goals, they don’t belong on your list.
  5. Do you need to create a new budget? Will any of your goals include training or have a cost associated with them? If so, make sure to account for that in your budget and allow plenty of time to plan for those new expenses.
  6. Update your LinkedIn. Now that you’ve updated your resume, you can easily refresh your LinkedIn profile, too. Ask your references to give you recommendations. Update your profile picture with a recent photo. If you don’t use LinkedIn, now is the perfect time to create a profile.
  7. Join a new networking circle. Whether you prefer virtual or in-person groups, meet some new people. Get out of your comfort zone. It might lead to the unexpected blessing of connecting you to opportunities that can help you achieve your goals.

Remember to make your goals for 2023 a priority. Your goals won’t happen unless you take action. Once you’ve made your checklist of steps to take toward your goals, add those actions to your daily routine. Keep a written checklist in a place where you’ll see it every day. Share your goals with a friend, co-worker, or spouse so they can help hold you accountable. Set your intention to reach your goals, and you’ll be checking them off your list in no time.

Sharine Sample is the Regional Workforce Development Manager at Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina. Click here to learn more about Goodwill’s employment services.


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