It’s that time of year again. With January just around the corner we often find ourselves making New Year’s resolutions that, all too often, are broken by February. What if you could use this yearly ritual as an opportunity to jump-start your journey towards the career of your dreams?
It’s not only possible but also a good strategy for job satisfaction. A strong set of goals can help you pick the right job to develop your career and can help you define the reasons you want a particular job—and ace those interviews—as well as giving you a framework to re-evaluate your career choices and review what is working and what is not.
The first step is to define your goal and write it down. This can affect every aspect of your career so don’t hesitate to look beyond your immediate needs. What are your career aspirations? Be specific. Job seekers often fall into the trap of spreading too wide a net or making desperation applications. This strategy won’t be as successful as an application that reflects clear goals and aspirations. A little research can be valuable here. Research average salaries and job requirements, as well as the career paths of people who already have the job you want.
Once you’ve written down your goal, now is the time to think about the steps needed to achieve it and create a plan of action. Write a list. Don’t worry about leaving things out. They will change over time. Look at the first step. Is that achievable now? If not, list what you need to do first. Do you need extra training or more experience? Do you need a job to keep you going while you get more training? Keep going until you reach an achievable goal. When you’ve finished, look at your first action. That’s your first goal.
Now lets look at your CV. A CV is only truly effective when it is tailored to a specific goal. Does your CV do this? Keep in mind that you may have a bigger goal than is immediately achievable. Tailor your CV to address your immediate, realistic goal but make sure that it fits within the path you need to take to reach your dream job. When listing jobs and achievements, be sure to highlight the specific details that relate to the position you are applying for.
Now start applying for jobs that meet your goals. Create a list of some companies you’d like to work for, or the types of jobs that could help you reach your first goal and move your career toward your ultimate goal. Don’t forget to include specialist recruiters in your search. This targeted approach may result in a smaller number of jobs to apply for but they will better match your goals, aspirations and skills and increase your chances for an interview than the scattered approach of someone who simply applies for everything.
Once you achieve your first goal, create a timeline to achievement. Remember, the entry-level job to any career path is the first step. By evaluating your progress as you reach the milestones in your career, using what works while trying different tactics when others fail you can continue to move up the ladder to personal and career satisfaction.