Career Center

Professional Goal Setting Guide

When you can set a goal, something you can see in the future, you are much more likely to get what you want. Your goals keep you on track and help you make decisions. If you have worked a bit on self-knowledge, goal setting is a great tool early in your professional development.

 

Steps to Success 

Begin with this online course, Setting Professional Goals. You will learn about the goal setting process, find additional resources for setting goals, even some samples to help you along.

Setting Professional Goals online course screenshot

Additional Resources

Creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Individual Development Plans (IDPs) are a great way for you to plan out how you will develop professionally and prepare for the next steps in your career. An IDP should be flexible enough to suit your interests and personal working style and it should be rigid enough to ensure that you make active progress toward your goals. It will be helpful to review our quick online course on Professional Goal Setting (above) as you get started with this process. 

Pro tip: be sure to set aside time periodically (perhaps over the summer and at the start of a new year) to check in on your progress and see if you need to make changes; you most likely will and that is ok.   

Feel free to use on our templates below to start creating your own IDP now:    

 

Duke OPTIONS for Ph.D. students 
An online professional development planning tool designed to help Ph.D. students increase their competencies in six important areas, as they develop through three stages of their graduate programs. You can find the tool at options.duke.edu.