Unless you’ve been living in a cave or slept through Management 101 in college, you’ve heard about how important it is to set S-M-A-R-T goals. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Time-Defined. This time management process has been around for a long time and makes a lot of sense.
The problem with acronyms for time management is they put the same amount of weight on each of the steps. They’re catchy and easy to remember, but don’t always work the same way.
You can be very specific about what career you’re looking for. Measurable is easy. Did you get an interview and then a job? It’s pretty easy to set a time limit to finding a job. Realistic? You may have all the right criteria on your resume for the job. Attainable is the tricky one.
Anyone in a job search knows that in today’s economy and tough job market you can have the best credentials and not get the job. One letter they left out of the goal-setting acronym is C—competition. You can have everything it takes and get beat out for the job merely because there are so many qualified candidates who set their own smart goals.
You can make your goals more attainable by paying attention to several job-search factors. If you use an online job search website like Nexxt, you can research where jobs are in your particular field. Do research online to find out what the hot jobs are and what part of the country has the most openings.
Attainable is all about stacking the cards in your favor. What companies most need what you have to offer? Where are they located? If you want to work in international banking and live in a rural community where the biggest bank is the local Building and Trust, you may need to look at New York or other large metropolitan areas. You may need to get some international experience in London or Zurich.
Attainable is about making sure your skills and experience line up with the job description and companies requirements. A hiring manager isn’t going to try to fit your marginal resume into their job criteria when there are so many other qualified candidates to choose from. You can be your own worst enemy by applying for jobs you don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hades of getting. If you really want to work at a Fortune 500 company, don’t flood them with applications for every job that becomes available. It won’t take long before HR sees your name popping up for multiple jobs that you’re not qualified for. Instead of making a good impression, you’ll look desperate, undecided and unprofessional.
Attainable is also about being a credible interviewee. It’s one thing to write a killer resume and convincing resume to get an interview. Some people are really good at getting the call. The problem is they don’t have the real credentials, skills and experience to make it through the interview. They don’t have real, quantifiable accomplishments to demonstrate their value and abilities.
It’s good to shoot for the top. Don’t every sell yourself short. But a healthy, realistic self-assessment can help make goals truly attainable. They build confidence and increase your motivation. Paying attention to Attainable can make your job search that much S-M-A-R-T-er.
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