How to set yourself job hunting goals

If you’re currently out of work then you may have one single, overwhelming goal: get a job. While this is an understandable aim, it’s not the most effective way to keep yourself motivated during this crucial time. When you’re starting a job search – or struggling halfway through – being able to set yourself job hunting goals could be the key to success.

Review your goals every day

When you’re job hunting events can move fast, so a daily review of where you are and what progress has been made is essential. If you’re looking at your job hunting goals in detail each day then you’re also more likely to stay motivated and focused on where you want to go next.

Be SMART about goal setting

SMART is the acronym used for global goal setting and is a great place to begin if you’re setting job-hunting goals for the first time. It stands for:

Specific – set goals that are not too ‘big picture’ but are focused, detailed and precise.

Measurable – overly ambiguous goals are not particularly motivating so set yourself targets that you can measure instead. That could be “I will send out five applications this week” or “I will make three new contacts” but it needs to be something you can look back on at the end of the week and quantify how you did.

Achievable – this is where the “get a job” goal is shown up as not particularly useful, as it’s just not achievable in one fell swoop. Instead, set reasonable goals that you can achieve right now. You’ll not only make progress like this but feel better about yourself too.

Realistic – take a good look at the goals you’re setting and analyse them against your skills, experience and abilities. Are you being realistic about these goals with what you have to offer right now?

Timed – give your goals a shelf life depending on your circumstances. So, for example you may have enough cash in the bank to search for the ideal job for three weeks before you need to be a bit more flexible.

Goal inspiration

If you’re not used to setting goals or getting detailed in your job search then here are five to consider:

  • Create a comprehensive list of target employers/companies
  • Expand your professional network by a certain number per week
  • Optimise your network – identify people you already know who can assist
  • Stay active – combine your job search with other activities that can boost confidence, or even your CV e.g. extra training or volunteering
  • Look after yourself – exercise, eat right, stay positive, sleep. This kind of goal impacts on performance and so is as important as any other.