Job Seekers: Don’t Make Resolutions. Set Goals Instead!

Job Seekers: Don’t Make Resolutions. Set Goals Instead!

It’s that time of year. We resolve to get fit or be more organized, to declutter or keep in better touch. Most resolutions are forgotten by Groundhog Day.  For better success, consider setting goals for your job search and resolving to monitor their progress in order to achieve them.

The secret to good goals

A common goal setting technique is to make them SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

This eliminates vague resolutions such as “I will work harder on my job search” as well as goals without a time frame for achievement. It also forces you to take a broad objective such as finding a job, and break it down into small steps that are realistic. Measurable progress is satisfying and motivating.

Choosing your goals

A successful job search involves having a strategy and all your goals should support strategy.

Non-strategic goal: Search job boards and send out 20 resumes.

Strategic goal: Target three companies I want to work at, view company websites and look for network connections to the company by January 15.

Consider making one of your first goals the creation of a job search strategy, using this guide:  Creating a Job Search Strategy for 2013.  This is a critical first step and will make everything else you do more productive.

Your strategy will immediately point you toward a number of additional goals. Some possibilities include:

  • Refining your job search target
  • Improving and updating marketing materials
  • Increasing networking efforts
  • Learning new best practices for job search
  • Practicing networking and interviewing techniques

Making goals SMART

SMART goals answer the question “How will I know if I achieved this goal?” with a definition of success including an action or deliverable and a time frame. Here are some examples of SMART goals:

  • I will refine my job search goal by reassessing my skills, my passions and the marketplace, and finalize a new target, in writing by February 1, 2013.
  • I will update my online profile to reflect my new target, and seek feedback from three people by February 10, 2013.
  • I will spend 60% of my job search time focused on networking, reaching out to 5 people per week and meeting two people in person with per week beginning February 1, 2013.
  • I will increase my knowledge and expertise in job searching by subscribing to the Jobfully blog and reading it daily.

Remember, these are just examples of goals. Come up with your own based on where you are in your job search. It will be much easier to formulate goals if you are working off a master strategy.  So consider making creation of a strategy your first goal.

Monitoring progress

Great goals are not helpful if you don’t act on them.

  • Print your goals and post them where you will see them regularly
  • Build accountability by sharing your goals with someone else
  • Break your goals down into smaller actions. For example, if the goal is to increase network outreach, break that down into daily activity such as three phone calls or emails a day.
  • Schedule time to plan and review progress. Some people schedule time on Monday for planning and time on Friday for reviewing.
  • Reward yourself for progress and achievement

One of the best parts of having clear goals is that you will know when you meet them. When that happens, be sure to celebrate and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.  Jobfully helps you create a personalized strategy and your own step-by-step plan to accelerate your job search success.  Making steady progress toward well thought out target is the surest way to succeed.


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2 thoughts on “Job Seekers: Don’t Make Resolutions. Set Goals Instead!

  1. I think, to the degree you are able to visualize or itemize success, often marks to the degree you are able to realize success.

    Nevertheless, even if you don’t have the specific details of your success in mind, begin in the direction. When you get further, you’ll see further.

    Hold the eventual destination in mind, but let go of that, while you just focus on the next step.

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