How many of you made resolutions for the New Year? I did! How many of you already gave up on them? Maybe I should raise my hand here and admit that I am back pedaling on mine. And I suspect you are probably doing the same. I wonder why that is?
Do we set our goals too high? Are these goals extreme, perhaps requiring too much commitment, or maybe they are not specific enough? For example, I want to lose weight. Just stating I want to lose weight is not going to make it happen. On the other hand, wishing to lose 50 pounds in a month is not realistic! The same thing could be applied to looking for work. Just wishing to get a job is not going to lead to employment, and trying to find “just anything” is not realistic.
I have learned that in order to achieve your overall goal, you have to develop specific short-term goals first. So let’s talk about creating a plan and setting goals as they relate to getting that next great job.
I like to use the acronym S.M.A.R.T. for goal setting. Goals should be Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound. And by the way, there is something magical about writing your goals down on paper. It is visual, and you are making a commitment to yourself when you write them down. So let’s expand on these S.M.A.R.T. ideas:
• Goals should be specific. For example, “I want to find a job as a (fill in the blank).” You may need to ask yourself, “why that occupation?” Also, it may help to identify your strengths and skills, or work with someone who knows you well to figure out where you might be best suited. You don’t know how many times I have asked job seekers what type of job they are looking for, and the answer I get is “anything.” Job seekers need to identify what type of occupation and/or industry they are willing to work at and have the skills and education for it.
• Goals need to be measurable. How much time do you plan to job search daily? How many resumes will you send out daily or weekly? What percentage of your job search will be spent on the internet, in person, networking, mailing out cover letters and resumes? Treat your job search like a job and decide if you are going to be a part-time job seeker or a full-time job seeker.
• Goals need to be attainable and realistic. Try to do small things every day to get to your goal. Yes, you can get that next great job, but it may mean adjusting some areas of your goal. Be willing to accept a job in your field that doesn’t have the salary you want, knowing it will provide skill growth, experience and opportunities for networking to a better job. Or, you may need to reevaluate your skills and decide whether you should actually be applying for that Rocket Scientist job!
• Goals need to be relevant. A relevant goal is one where you can answer yes to these questions: Does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Am I the right person for the jobs I am applying for? Do I need to get more training first in order to be considered for the job you want?
• Lastly, goals need to have a time factor built-in. When will you begin your job search? What will you do today, tomorrow, or next week? How long do you anticipate it will take to achieve your ultimate goal?
So be S.M.A.R.T. about the New Year’s resolutions you have made. Whatever they are, remember it’s the small steps you take daily that will ultimately end in your long-term goal of employment – or, like me, even weight loss!
Velta Worley has over eight years experience in corporate management, five years of that specializing in workforce development as a Technical Assistant and Office Manager for Workforce Solutions.