How to write job performance goals

Writing solid job performance goals can help you be successful in your career. You must, of course, work toward meeting the goals and, when you do meet them, update your goals or write new goals to continue moving ahead in your career. Goals that are written well are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely; these are called SMART goals. There are a few things to keep in mind while writing these goals, ideally with the help of your supervisor.

Be ambitious but realistic when writing your job performance goals. Goals are meant to help motivate, not demoralise.

Start each goal with an action verb, a word that describes an act or activity (e.g., produce, sell, invite and contact).

Use figures or other standards of measurement whenever possible (e.g., quantities, ratings, dates and/or times).

Keep your goals relevant to your job by understanding the goals of your department and the company as a whole. Your job performance goals should relate directly to your departmental goals, which, in turn, support company-wide goals. For example, if one of your departmental goals is to increase sales by 5 per cent every six months, then any marketing- or selling-related goal you make should support that.

Provide an end date or time so that you'll know when your job performance goals are to be met. A goal without a deadline is not a goal, but a suggestion.

Find out how your job performance goals fit into your performance appraisal process. Although your performance expectations are usually set by your supervisor or manager, your goals may be more specific. Therefore, your performance may be more easily evaluated if it involves determining how well you achieve your previously set goals.


Avoid using the word "success" when writing job performance goals. It is too broad. Instead, use words that define success for you in a particular area. For example, instead of writing, "Be a successful salesperson," write "Sell at least five widgets each work day until Dec. 31." Now your success is defined.

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About the Author

Gail began writing professionally in 2004. Now a full-time proofreader, she has written marketing material for an IT consulting company, edited auditing standards for CPAs and ghostwritten the first draft of a nonfiction Amazon bestseller. Gail holds a Master of Arts in English literature and has taught college-level business communication, composition and American literature.

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