When you’re on the hunt for a new job, or even your first job, the process can seem overwhelming as you tackle your CV, source vacancies, and keep track of your job applications. Alternatively, you may have no trouble at all handling the job applications and interviews, but ultimately face job offers that just don’t fit with your envisioned career path.Both of these problems often come down to one factor: a lack of initial goal setting. That’s where SMART goals can make all the difference.
What are SMART goals?
SMART is a method of creating effective, targeted goals. It stands for:
S = specific
M = measurable
A = attainable
R = relevant
T = time-bound
A SMART goal makes it clear what you want to achieve (specific), provides a way to measure your success (measurable), ensures that the goal is realistic (attainable) and suits your overall purpose (relevant), and that it has a deadline (time-bound).
So how does SMART help you?
How to use SMART goals in your job search
The best way to use the SMART method in your job search is by breaking the process down into a series of smaller SMART goals.
What steps will you take to land that job? Your list of steps might look like:
- research jobs
- write CV
- research local employers
- create profile on LinkedIn
- build number of contacts on LinkedIn
- look for suitable job vacancies
- research related employers
- adapt CV to each job vacancy
- apply for jobs
By the way, if you need help with your CV, why not read our Eight Easy Steps to create a Winning CV.
The next stage is to apply the five aspects of SMART to each task to create a goal. Be clear what you want that goal to be. Include a way to measure the success of your goal. Check that you can achieve that goal; is it realistic? Make sure that the goal will help you to progress towards your overall purpose, in this case, finding a new job. Add a deadline for the completion of your goal.
Set up a spreadsheet of your goals, type them up into a Word document, or simply keep a written record. As you reach the deadline for each goal, assess whether you were successful. Again, apply that reality check. If you achieved the goal, celebrate. If you failed, re-assess and set a new goal. This record can also help you to keep track of your job applications.
Examples of SMART goals
I want to find a new accountant position that pays a minimum of £30,000 within the next six months.
I will refresh my CV with my latest job history and qualifications, making sure it fits on one page, by the end of this week.
I will create my LinkedIn profile and create a network of 100 accountancy and recruiter connections within one month.
I will apply for five accountant vacancies that pay at least £30,000 every fortnight.
Wrapping it up
Using SMART goals in your job search really is a smart move. Applying the five elements of this method will help you to stay focused, take constructive steps towards landing a job, and maintain your motivation. Good luck.