Plan for a SMART New Year


By the time an average Canadian gets to January, he or she is stuffed with holiday food and gifts. From that comfy position on our sofas, we start thinking about what we need to change. Usually it looks like this:

-eat less and exercise more

We are also thinking about the year ahead in our jobs. A useful way to make resolutions and set goals for the New Year is to consider SMART criteria.

You’ve probably heard of SMART before; it is incredibly useful for making practical, workable goals. Here’s a quick reminder of what your SMART goals might look like:

S: Specific.

If you are ready for working in the New Year, specify what kind of job you want. If you say, “I’ll take any job,” that’s what you’ll get. But any job is not really what you want. Write down a job that you would accept and that would make you pleased.

M: Measurable.

In order to achieve your goal, you will need to work. So set goals that can be measured. Maybe you’d like to have three networking meetings per week. Measurable! Maybe you want to research two companies per day. Measurable! Maybe you want to apply to one advertised job per day. Measurable!

A: Attainable.

Is your goal something that you can get? If you want to work as an engineer, but don’t have your APEG certification yet, then you might consider a junior engineering position or technical work. If you want to teach in the public school system, but don’t have a BC teaching certification, then look at teaching opportunities in other organizations. If your English isn’t strong enough for working in management, then consider entry level work and create a resume to show you have the ability to match the needs of that job.

R: Result-oriented.

There’s a misconception that job searchers need to send out thousands of resumes to get a little attention. Often newcomers arrive in Canada and apply to advertised jobs without any research, a customized resume or follow-up. Those things matter. If you do what an employment counselor recommends, you’ll see a big difference. You won’t be sending email applications that seem like they are going into a dark emptiness. Instead, you’ll learn how to spend more time and effort on each application to make it more effective. This will reduce your frustration and you will have much more success than simply hoping a mass resume mailout will put you in front of someone who will call you.

T:  Time-bound.

For every goal, give yourself a deadline. Try to be realistic and fair about it. Try to push yourself a little, but not too much. For instance, referring back to “Measurable,” give yourself per-week or per-day goals. Most importantly, for the big goal—getting a job—be gentle with yourself. Don’t expect a job by the end of the week. Finding the right position takes time and the application process does too. Sometimes it takes months from the opening of a job to the resume screening to interviewing to reference checking. Be aware and plan SMART.

Gwen PawlikowskiAbout the Author:
Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.

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