If you’re a bum, a hippie (not saying that hippies haven’t contributed awareness to our society), a new graduate, a former employee who has been laid off, or maybe you’re in-between jobs, stuck in a rut thinking of changing careers and in dire need of dough and a stable job, don’t worry, there are ways to find work. The internet, classified ads or via word of mouth are all very good sources for job openings, but sometimes it’s not just your resume, guts and wits that will land you a job. You should also be prepared and be smart about advancing your career. Your goal should not be just to land a job, but to have a stable or prosperous career. We have presented an article about SMART Team goals  before, now you can apply these principles in finding a job and eventually building a great career for yourself. You can do that by implementing SMART Goals related to your future career path in order to help you focus and realise your potential for success.

Image credit: events.giipinfo.com

Image credit: events.giipinfo.com

SMART Defined

Setting goals is more complicated than just having aspirations. Setting goals means creating a written plan that will include measurable and reasonable short-term and long-term objectives. Let’s begin by understanding what SMART goals are. SMART is an acronym that explains goal setting. Each one of the definitions may differ slightly in the set of criteria, but generally they follow the same principles.

1. Specific

Goals or objectives need to be specific. Most of us will have “a  big picture” for our objectives or the things we want to achieve. For example, saying that “changing careers will earn me more money” is not specific enough. Instead, start by saying “I will redo my resume and highlight all the achievements that I have made and then change my career for the better”. This is something more specific to achieve.

2. Measurable

Your goals should be measurable. You will be able to check your progress if you have a measurable goal. For example, it’s a good idea to expand your networks by making new contacts, so have clearer objectives like attending networking events each month to connect with people. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can add new contacts each week or if possible, each day. These are simple goals, but they are concrete and easily measurable every week or so.

3. Achievable

Your goals need to be achievable and reasonable. Most of us have lost jobs and been unemployed at moments in our lives. We know that the economy is so so these days and landing a job is not easy. This usually keeps our morals down, but having short-term or long-term goals can move you forward. Most often, the success or failure will depend on setting practical goals. If you’re thinking of transitioning or changing to a new career in 30 days, this will not happen, it’s unrealistic. Perhaps, for example, attending an informational interview every two weeks for the next 6 months is more reasonable and doable. Don’t set yourself up for any failures by creating goals that are out of reach.

4. Realistic

Your goals should be realistic. When we were young, we believed that we could do anything and of course we do have many options. But as we grow up, we learn that we can achieve almost anything, but there are things that don’t sway in our favor. We have to realize that we cannot have it all. We have to be honest with ourselves and try to evaluate things. You can ask yourself questions like, “do you posses the ability and the commitment to reach your goal?” “Is there a need to adjust to a specific situation?” For example, “are you willing to study again, spending weekends doing schoolwork?” You have to be honest and fair with yourself. Set realistic goals that you can achieve in a realistic manner and without hesitation.

5. Time-Framed                                                                                                         

Your goals should have a deadline or a timeframe. By setting a time frame, your goals will have structure and it will also prevent you from wasting time doing unnecessary things. Most of us spend a lot of time talking about and planning what we want to achieve, but are not actually taking the first step. If you keep daydreaming, you will not move any closer to making your career change. Without any deadline or a specific time frame, there will be no sense of urgency to take action. Having a time frame will also help you keep track of your progress.

The Importance of Having SMART Goals                    

It is very important to remember that there is no single or easy path to reaching your career objectives. The whole process may take a long time or it might be more complicated than what you originally expected. There may also come a point when you will realize that your career plan is too difficult to achieve in its current state. Whatever situation you might be in, you have to be flexible and make the needed adjustments to achieve your goal. There may come a time when you need an entirely new career objective to make everything work. You also should be willing to try new approaches if the original plan is not working out for you. Don’t waste time being frustrated. Your persistence can make a big difference as you work and climb your way up to your new career objective.

Image credit: caseywilson-thenut.com

Image credit: caseywilson-thenut.com

How To Stay Motivated

If you already have a career plan in mind, here are a few effective tips to keep you motivated.

Focus is key. There will be distractions along the way so you need to find ways to remain focused and remind yourself of your goals on a daily basis. You can set reminders on your PC or your smart phone. Or you can write your progress on a board to actually see the changes you’re making.

Take advantage of technology. There are many applications and websites that you can use in setting your objectives and to keep yourself on the right track. GoalsOnTrack and Lifetick are some good applications you can use.

You have to make yourself accountable. Let your family and friends know about your plan and objective. They can help you in monitoring your progress by asking and encouraging you towards your goal.

Keep tabs on your progress. Record the success and failures you have encountered along the way. Reflecting on your thoughts and how you are feeling will help you overcome any obstacles. This will also help you realize how much you have accomplished.

Prioritize. Having too many goals will make it difficult for you to focus and actually finish what you have started. Decide which goals are the most important, focus on them and finish them.

Learn to adjust. As mentioned earlier, if things are not working out in your favor, adjust. Don’t give up easily. Assess your situation and adjust your game plan. If it still doesn’t work out, try a new approach or a whole new game plan. Success sometimes comes down to hit and miss. It’s a process of finding and knowing what works and what doesn’t. The roadblocks and obstacles will make you more experienced, wise and knowledgeable.

Have some time to reward yourself. Achieving goals is one of the best feeling anyone can have. Don not deprive yourself of any simple joys. Say you have finished a daily objective without any hitches, treat yourself to a movie or a good massage, an out of town ride or having a fancy dinner with your loved ones will surely help keep everything balanced. Remember, too much of something is not good. Rewarding yourself will really boost your motivation to keep going.

Whatever your career goal is, make sure to have your SMART game plan in place. If you already have your exact game plan, you need to set yourself on the right path to success from the start. Waste no time, take the first step and ignite the fire within yourself to motivate you towards success. Good luck!

Featured Image: pixabay

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.