If you don’t have a plan to achieve them, New Year’s resolutions are just pretty words on a page. In fact, studies show 80% of people fail their New Year’s resolutions, with most losing steam by mid-February. It’s easy to say you’ll change, but actually putting those words into practice is incredibly difficult.
One way to succeed with resolutions for your job search is making sure all your goals are S.M.A.R.T. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym created by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham in a 1981 article titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management Goals and objectives.” The letters stand for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Here’s how to make sure your resolutions fit the S.M.A.R.T. criteria.
S – Specific
Vague goals are difficult to achieve because it’s tough to figure out where to start. If your only goal is “to get a job in 2021,” you’ll waste time applying for jobs you don’t even want or don’t qualify for. Even if all you want is a paycheck, focusing on specifics allows you to narrow your job search to make it more manageable.
Example: I want to get a job making at least $___ working in the ___ industry.
M – Measurable
From the previous example, a generic goal like “getting a job in 2021” gives you too much to achieve at once. It’s daunting because you can’t track your progress with a broad goal like that. A measurable goal, on the other hand, is one that leaves room for setting milestones.
Think of it like running a marathon. If there weren’t any mile markers, you’d just be running for hours and hours with no goal in sight. But when you have markers along the way, you can track your progress and know you’re achieving something.
Example: I will submit ____ number of applications to get a job making at least $ _____ working in the _____ industry.
A – Achievable
You want your goal to be something you can accomplish. Big, audacious goals are awesome, but you need to have the qualifications first. For example, if you want to be a doctor, your first goal shouldn’t include “be a heart surgeon in the most prestigious hospital in the world.” Instead, you should aim for something like “I will learn about medicine in undergrad, score above ____ score on my MCAT, apply to ___ number of universities, complete ___ type of residency, and earn a ___ position at ___ hospital.”
Essentially, you want to be sure your goal encompasses any of the steps required to achieve it.
Example: I will research the ____ industry and revamp my resume before submitting ____ number of applications to get a job making at least $ _____ working in the _____ industry.
R – Relevant
When setting job search goals, you should always have an objective. The objective could be making a certain salary, working in a specific industry, or developing your own leadership capabilities. All of your goals should be relevant to that objective.
If you want to work in a leadership role, goals like “submitting five job applications a day, regardless of whether or not they are a managerial role” might not be especially helpful.
Example: In order to get hired in a managerial role, I will research the ____ industry and revamp my resume before submitting ____ number of applications to get a job making at least $ _____ working in the _____ industry.
T – Time-Based
If you don’t quantify your goals with a time limit, you might never end up achieving them. If you don’t set a time limit, you might never start trying to make that goal a reality. And if you can’t achieve your goal in a reasonable timeframe, it might be worth reassessing your goal in the first place.
Example: In order to get hired in a managerial role, I will research the ____ industry and revamp my resume before submitting ____ number of applications each week to get a job making at least $ _____ working in the _____ industry.
And there you have it! Implementing each aspect of the S.M.A.R.T goal into your job search might result in a fairly wordy goal, but it will be one you can achieve and track progress on.
Have you implemented S.M.A.R.T goals into your job search? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section below!