Goal setting can be a great way to help you plan a successful job search and land the job of your dreams. Taking time to establish goals allows you to become more invested in your job search and as a result, more productive.
Three main benefits of setting goals for your job search are:
Clarity: Goal setting gives you a clear understanding of your greatest strengths and career interests and how they match the position you are seeking. This will help you pick the right jobs to help with your career advancement and stop you from wasting time applying for the wrong jobs.
Motivation: Job searching can be a tough task. Setting goals at the beginning can help keep your eyes on the prize and prevent you from giving up.
Accountability: Keeping a detailed, written plan of reaching your goals invokes accountability during your job search.
A strong set of goals means that you can, at any time, examine your current position and review what is working and what is not. Searching for a job is challenging. If you’re sending out countless CVs and not reaching your goals, it’s high time you changed your approach. Think of goal setting as a ladder building tool that helps you get closer to your desired career objective. The easier the steps are to climb, the quicker you’ll get there.
What good goals look like
The first step in creating good goals is to ensure they are achievable. A tried and tested approach to creating achievable goals is to use the SMART goals system.
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Therefore, a SMART goal incorporates all of these criteria to help focus your efforts and increase the chances of achieving your goal.
SMART goals are:
Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous
Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress toward the accomplishment of the goal
Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve
Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant to your life purpose
Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency.
SMART Goal – Specific
Specific goals have a significantly greater chance of being accomplished. To make a goal specific, the five “W” questions must be considered:
- Who: Who is involved in this goal?
- What: What do I want to accomplish?
- Where: Where is this goal to be achieved?
- When: When do I want to achieve this goal?
- Why: Why do I want to achieve this goal?
SMART Goal – Measurable
A SMART goal must have criteria for measuring progress. If there are no criteria, you will not determine your progress and if you are on track to reach your goal. To make a goal measurable, ask yourself:
- How many/much?
- How do I know if I have reached my goal?
- What is my indicator of progress?
SMART Goal – Achievable
A SMART goal must be achievable and attainable. This will help you figure out ways you can realize that goal and work towards it. The achievability of the goal should be stretched to make you feel challenged, but defined well enough that you can actually achieve it. Ask yourself:
- Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?
- Have others done it successfully before?
SMART Goal – Realistic
A SMART goal must be realistic in that the goal can be realistically achieved given the available resources and time. A SMART goal is likely realistic if you believe that it can be accomplished. Ask yourself:
- Is the goal realistic and within reach?
- Is the goal reachable, given the time and resources?
- Are you able to commit to achieving the goal?
SMART Goal – Timely
A SMART goal must be time-bound in that it has a start and finish date. If the goal is not time-constrained, there will be no sense of urgency and, therefore, less motivation to achieve the goal. Ask yourself:
- Does my goal have a deadline?
- By when do you want to achieve your goal?
Setting goals during your job search can ensure that you will be successful in getting a job. However, it’s just as important to be confident that you will succeed and not lose heart during the job search.