Networking to find a job can be a waste of time. Why? Because if you are not taking the time to establish goals and adequately plan your job search, then you are probably not investing your time in the right places and are likely not managing your time efficiently by doing losing useless activities that are not getting you a job.
Studies have shown a direct correlation between those who set goals and success. The same applies when setting goals for a job search. Goal setters are more likely to achieve anywhere from 60% to 80% more productivity than those who do not. During a job search, you want more access to job opportunities that provide a higher chance of getting hired. Goal setting is an essential process for identifying what you want to accomplish and what it will take to get you there.
There are many benefits of incorporating goal setting as a part of your job search process. Four main areas to focus on when setting goals, with some pointers to fully maximize them:
Clarifying your vision enables you to establish goals that are consistent with your idea. What are your career aspirations? Where do you want to be in 5-years? What positions are you seeking?
- Be able to identify and describe the specific type of job that is right for you. Remove the thought of potentially missing an opportunity that may compel you to apply for every job you think you can do.
- Create a list of target companies you would like to work. Then, begin networking with people you know who may already work at these companies, or know someone who does.
This is what steers your ship to shore and what thrusts you forward. You desire a new and rewarding position that pays you what you are worth, right? Then, realizing that searching for a new job may not seem like fun, but it will pay off in the end.
- Develop a support network that holds you accountable and is helpful to your needs. Reach out to your friends and family for support during this challenging time. Join a job search group where there are others who are dedicated to your success. Don’t seclude yourself.
- Give yourself breaks. It is easy to get caught up in the stress and anxiety of finding your next position, but you will be much more productive if you give yourself some time to relax. You will feel more energized when you allow yourself to have balance in the process.
- Be creative and find places that allow you to work in a fun environment. Find fun and original places to work. Almost every public place has free wi-fi these days, so there is no excuse not to get out of the house and enjoy what is going on around you while searching for your next job. Afterall, you never know whom you may meet!
Keeps your goals and daily schedule in front of you at all times; this helps you not to lose sight of your goals. Identify your priorities enables you to spend your time wisely and on the right tasks. This cuts out the things that may be wasting your time and that do not contribute to your goals. The internet can overload you with useless or misleading information. Staying focused will allow you to accomplish more, faster.
- Organize your workspace so that as you are job searching, you can concentrate on the task at hand.
- Cut yourself from social media and distractions for a set time while you focus on your goals. It is easy to get distracted by your Facebook news feed; this is not the time.
- Create a to-do list that has estimated timelines to complete tasks within. This will keep you on track and avoid wasting time.
Setting goals hold you responsible for yourself while producing the best results possible. Doing so allows you to measure your progress against your goals and better understand what is working and what is not.
- Find an accountability partner that you can share progress reports. You are much more likely to accomplish more when you know you have to “report” to someone. This will be your transition consult, but we also recommend having a second person to hold you accountable as well.
- Make sure your goals are achievable. Be realistic, because it is impossible to accountable respond to unattainable goals.
- Make long-term and short-term goals. Having manageable goals will keep you moving forward and staying motivated as you navigate through the transition process.
- Do something every day. Have a daily task list and allotted time that allows you to stay focused and to move forward to maintain momentum.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes and have balance. Reward yourself; you deserve it!
Now, It is Time to Get Started
Begin by having a little one-on-one with yourself, and answer the following questions:
- What is your goal? This should not state, “To obtain a job.” That is an obvious answer. You will want to be detailed and descriptive of your goal for your next position. Research your options and job-specific skills to understand your salary potential and the demand for your skill set.
- Why is this particular job right for you? Are you qualified, educated and experiences in this area? Use resources like Indeed.com to explore job specifics and requirements you will need to meet the expectations of possible positions.
- What are the challenges and obstacles you face in reaching your goal? The only way to breach a door is by knowing what tool to use and how to use it.
- How can you remove and eliminate these obstacles? If you feel you have an impossible challenge or obstacle, ask someone you think would know the answer or be able to help.
- What are the steps needed to reach your goal? Make a list–it is as simple as that. Use Excel, GoogleDrive or some spreadsheet allow for easy updating and organization.
- Create a timeline to specify what you want and when you want it to happen. Timelines keep you focused on your goals and seeing the bigger picture. It takes small steps to reach the end of the race.
- Visualize yourself accomplishing your goals. Have you ever heard a coach in sports say, “Be the ball?” I heard this time and time again growing up, and I can attest that this works. When you keep your focus on the ball, it is tough to miss.
- Brainstorm ways you can achieve your goals. Allowing time to “day-dream” and invites your future can open you up to realizations about what you truly desire for your future and where it is you want to go.
- Learn from others through your network or research. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Ideas are lovely to have, but it is possible someone else has already done their homework for you. Always research and learn from others, this is a great way to move along at a faster pace.
- Periodically evaluate your goals and progress so you can understand what is working and what is not. Make any necessary adjustments.
- Stay motivated and inspired. Keep moving forward every single day. It is easy to lose momentum and become complacent when we skip a day. Be sure to keep a steady schedule and hold yourself accountable.
- Get a mentor to offer you support, advice and encouragement. You can never have enough guidance and accountability. Find people who are a success in the areas you wish for them to hold you accountable in.