If you have problems sitting down and setting goals for yourself, here is a great method you can use in your job search. This is called the SMART method of goal setting. Try this for various portions of your job search in 2018!
What is it?
SMART stands for the following:
- Specific - Getting specific about the goal itself and not being vague.
- Measurable - The numbers you can measure.
- Attainable - Keep it realistic. It is great to shoot for the stars. Just don’t be unrealistic.
- Relevant - Make sure the actions you take are aligned with the intended goal.
- Time-bound - Give yourself a deadline and timeline.
Using the SMART method for your job search
If you are just starting a job search in 2018, or currently in the middle of one, try out the following method. In setting goals and using such a method you may start to discover when certain approaches are simply not working. It is ok to fail because failures teach you how to succeed.
Your job search goals need to specific, clear, and easy to understand. You are stating what you want to accomplish. This is not the time to be the vague or big picture thinker.
- Bad: I want a job I like and want to get paid a good salary.
- Good: I am seeking three job interviews in one month, in Corporate Development for [insert industry] at a salary of $130,000 - $150,000.
If you notice the specific goal above, it has a measurable aspect to it of three job interviews in one month. We will touch on the actions shortly to achieve this goal. But for now, the number can be used as a way to measure if your goal is being achieved. The measurement makes the goal less ambiguous.
This is the time for you to be honest and realistic. The reality is that, as a job seeker, you are not the hiring decision-maker. So, you cannot control who invites you for interviews or chooses to hire you. You are only in control of “influencing” the decision.
Goals have to be reasonably attainable in order to keep you motivated and also to have the knowledge of whether or not you should stretch to achieve greater goals with higher numbers. Achieving goals is something to learn from and reinforces your strength to search for jobs.
If you choose an unattainable goal such as, “20 job interviews in 2 weeks - Get hired by the end of the month”, you deserve a badge for being ambitious. But the goal is by no means attainable unless you discover a scientific method for being in two places at the same time!
Actions taken to achieve the goal mentioned above must be relevant to the needs of the hiring decision-maker or recruiter. For example, applying for entry-level jobs online in abundance on websites offering only entry-level to middle management jobs, will NOT help you achieve your goal of getting three job interviews in one month for a Corporate Development position.
So, in order to keep actions relevant to goals remember to be realistic about what is required to achieve a goal. You may need to do research in order to discover what is “relevant” to your goals at hand. If you do not, through the process of not achieving goals you will discover that more information is needed on your part to better set goals.
Using the example above about attaining three job interviews in one month, many have found out over the years that simply “applying for online jobs” is not a “relevant” action that will work 100% of the time. Some relevant actions will be discovered through trial and error.
This is the part where you set a deadline for completion. Until now, you have had the completion time of one month. So, what if you do not achieve that goal in one month in the first month of trying to find work?
What you can do is bind yourself to a time where you decide, “I have tried and discovered this method is not working. It is time to adjust my actions to achieve my goal.” Deadlines can be both short and long-term. They should help you stay focused.
To give you a positive example, let’s say your actions lead to getting seven job interviews a month for the position you want. You have not only surpassed your goal but you crushed it. On the negative side, if you are finding you only get one interview per month it may be time to evaluate and assess if the actions you are taking to achieve your goals are working.
On a final note
If you find the “interview” goal is easily achieved month after month, but your goal for “getting hired” has failed it may be time to evaluate the following:
Other sections of the Find My Profession blog address such points and may help you set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals for yourself!