Goal Setting and the Job Search - Part 2

By John L. Nicodemus

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In my last blog, I described the WHYSMART goal setting process. Writing down a goal is not enough. A goal without a plan is just a dream. You have to develop an action plan to achieve the goal. The key to reaching a goal is the dedicated activity that drives you towards it.


The job seekers overarching goal is to get a job. This is enough of a large and complex task that innumerable books (including mine) have been written about the topic. You need to break the task down into manageable shorter term goals that will be a part of your ultimate goal’s action plan. Here are 7 steps I recommend for developing the action plan for each goal.


  1. Write the goal in a WHYSMART format.
  2. Identify all the obstacles you can think of that might keep you from reaching the goal. Please remember, that your reluctance to tread in unfamiliar territory (like networking) may be the biggest single obstacle that you face.
  3. For every obstacle write down a viable solution that will overcome the obstacle.
  4. For every solution, develop a list of action steps that will achieve the solution along with a date by which you reasonable expect to accomplish the step.
  5. Post each goal and action plan on a wall or somewhere where you will see it on a daily basis. If you do not, the plan will remain unfulfilled in the back of a dusty drawer somewhere.
  6. Since WHYSMART goals are measurable, track your progress on a regular basis until you achieve the goal.
  7. When you achieve the goal, reward yourself. Go for a walk outside, tell a friend, or treat yourself to a piece of chocolate. Even if it is nothing more than standing up and doing a little “happy dance”, you need to recognize and celebrate the achievement.


So what if you do not achieve a goal? DO NOT despair or beat yourself up. The reason you have deadlines set for your goals and action steps is to trigger a time for review of your progress. If you did not meet the deadline, ask yourself why. Perhaps the deadline was too aggressive, or perhaps you did not identify all the obstacles.


Once you have identified the problem, develop the solution and go at it again. Activity is the key to success. You must persist in going after your goals if you expect to achieve them.

Image courtesy of FrameAngel / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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