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A SMART Approach to Job Search Success

by Shelley Johnston

Many people start the New Year by making resolutions such as adopting a healthier lifestyle, learning a new skill or finding a new job. Although they begin with good intentions, many struggle to keep their momentum and eventually give-up altogether. If you want to achieve your New Year’s resolution to find the right job for you in 2015, you need a strategic plan with SMART goals that will help you stay on track, be effective and conduct a productive job search.

The first step to developing your plan is to ask yourself what you want in your next job. Consider your values and beliefs as well as your skills, experiences and accomplishments. It is important to figure out what you want from your life. The next step is to set a clear direction by identifying your large scale goals and then breaking them down into smaller SMART goals that can help you stay focused. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-related.

Specific: Start by being specific about your goal. For example, rather than saying “I want to work in the senior care sector,” give yourself something specific to aim for such as “I will take a Personal Support Worker program so I can work as a PSW with seniors.”

Measurable: Goals must also be something you can measure to assess your progress. “I will do well in this course” doesn’t give you anything to measure. However, a goal like “I will get at least 80 percent on each quiz and paper in this course” is measurable.

Achievable: You must have the ability to achieve your goal and it must be within your control. For example, “I will start my own online business by the time I’m 30” is an effective goal because you can take steps to achieve it.

Realistic: A realistic goal should be something you have the chance or opportunity of doing. Make honest choices with your path. For someone without transportation, setting a goal to visit ten new employers across the city may not be as realistic as “I will cold call ten new local employers.”

Time-related:Giving yourself a timeframe to work within will help you stay motivated. “I will apply to ABC Company” doesn’t commit you to a deadline. However, with a goal such as “I will apply to ABC Company by January 26th,” you are more likely to hold yourself accountable and meet your deadline.

If you want to achieve your New Year’s resolution to get a job that is right for you, try the SMART goal strategy. Setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-related will help you achieve job search success!