Creating job search goals is an important first step before launching any job search — especially for remote job seekers.
As a Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC), I work with a lot of job seekers who have all but given up on finding remote work. They insist they’ve submitted dozens of online applications and an equal number of resumes with no luck.
When I hear this, it’s definitely cause for concern. Sure, the average job search takes approximately 5 months. But, in that time, there should be some kind of positive response in the form of callbacks, interviews, skills test, etc.
A total lack of response from recruiters and hiring managers is a problem, and it’s my job to figure out why it happens and how to solve it.
The first question I always ask is, “What are you ultimate job search goals?”
And, the majority of responses are a generic statement like:
“I want to find a remote job.”
The problem with this type of goal is it’s far too broad. It offers no sense of urgency and lacks specificity.
Instead, I always recommend you create SMART job search goals.
What Is A SMART Goal?
The SMART system is an acronym that stands for:
- Time Bound
According to CareerOneStep, setting job search goals helps you decide where you want to go in your career and establishes the steps needed to get there.
The SMART system is recommended to help you create meaningful goals that you can actually achieve in a timely manner. Let’s take a look at each part of the SMART system and then look at some common job search goals.
Make Job Search Goals Specific
Remember how I mentioned that most job seekers create goals that are too broad? Well, when following the SMART system, you’ve got to be more specific.
Specificity helps a generic goal, like “find a remote job,” become much more refined like “find a full-time remote job in customer service.”
See the difference?
The specific goal lays out the type of employment and the nature of work.
Make Your Goals Measurable
It’s important to track your goals and note your progress. When you have clear parameters, you know when you actually have met your goal.
For example, if you set a weight-loss goal, how would you know when you reached it? Chances are, you’d set a goal weight or a specific number, i.e., lose 45 pounds or reach my goal weight of 150.
You should also set job search goals that are measurable. That way you have milestones to hit along the way that allows you to see progress and you work toward your ultimate goal.
Are Your Goals Achievable?
In the beginning of goal setting, it’s easy to get ahead of ourselves and aim a little too high. This can lead to lofty goals that simply are not achievable.
As a remote job seeker, you’re not going to find your dream job overnight — so don’t even try. Setting a goal that cannot be achieved is counterproductive. When you don’t reach it, it leads to feelings of failure and frustration.
Don’t create impossible job search goals. That brings us to our next goal-setting principle…
Is Your Goal Realistic?
In a perfect world, you would have unlimited time and resources to help you achieve your goals. But, we lead busy lives with responsibilities and limitations — make sure your goals reflect this.
Maybe you want to become a world famous actress. But, to get there, you’ll need to take acting lessons, get an agent, and audition for roles. All these things require a lot of time and money. If you lack these resources, your goal of becoming a world famous actress just isn’t realistic.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t have big dreams or shoot for the stars. Instead, you need to tailor your goals to fit in with your current situation. You can still be an actress, but perhaps you start small and take one lesson a week in hopes of getting a role in your community theatre.
Give Your Job Search Goals A Timeframe
Open-ended goals don’t offer a whole lot of motivation. That’s why it’s important to create goals with a timeframe in mind.
When you give yourself a timeline, you’re suddenly working against the clock. This creates a sense of urgency that can motivate you to work more quickly towards your goal.
Let’s say you have your ten year reunion coming up next year and you want to be the same size you were in when you graduate high school. You realize you’ve got six dress sizes to lose in a year. That means, to stay on track, you need to lose on dress size every two months.
If you have a longterm goal in mind, it’s a good idea to break it into milestones. Short-term goals set you up for success, keep you motivated and on track to hit your broader goals.
Example Job Search Goals
We know SMART goals are important. But, if you’re new to the system it can be a little overwhelming. And, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re likely to abandon this whole goal-setting thing before you even get started.
So, to keep you motivated and give a little inspiration here are some example job search goals to help you launch your remote job search. Remember, job search goals can range from simple tasks that can be completed in a day to lengthier objectives that can take a year (or more).
- By the end of the month, create a target list of at least 15 remote-friendly companies I would like to work for.
- Update my LinkedIn profile this weekend to include a new professional profile picture.
- Sign up for a Twitter account this week and follow 10 professionals in my industry.
- On my next day off, review my current resume and add new experience and skills that highlight my abilities to work remotely.
- Enroll in an online program that teaches me a remote-friendly skill within one year.
- Next month, reach out to three professionals on LinkedIn and ask them for a 15-minute informational interview.
- Over the summer, apply to a minimum of three jobs each week that fit my career ideals.
- Work with a career coach for six weeks to help me create a career action plan that sets me up for long-term success.
Goal Setting Help
It’s not always easy to set goals for yourself. But, that doesn’t mean you should skip it!
As Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible visible.”
So, sit down and take some time to truly think about your current career and where you want to go. Sure, you want to find a remote job but what else?
And, remember, write your goals down! Research shows you’re nearly 40% more likely to reach a goal just by putting it in writing.
For a little extra goal setting help, sign up for my newsletter below. I’ll send you a free job search goals worksheet to help you define SMART goals and put them in writing.
And, as always, I’m here to help. You can leave your questions in the comments below or check out my career coaching services for one-on-one help.
P.S. This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more about them in my disclosure statement.