By: Gracie Covarrubias, DePaul University organizational and multicultural communication major ’18 and Career Center communications assistant
With the start of the New Year comes the opportunity to set exciting goals for ourselves and our careers. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and set big, lofty goals without an action strategy. Unfortunately, this means our follow through on goals for the year is a little lack-luster. It’s not too late to turn your resolutions into SMART goals! This brilliant strategy, developed in 1981 by George T. Doran, is designed to help you set effective goals.
- Specific: Target a specific area for improvement
The best way to kick off your SMART goal is by honing in on an area you’re excited to invest time in. For example, let’s say you want to work on career development this year. A specific area you could choose to focus on would be getting a job or an internship. This helps you develop a clear target for your goal.
- Measurable: Quantify, or at least suggest, an indicator of progress
If your long-term goal is to secure a job or internship, progress checkpoints could include preparing a resume, applying for positions and sending follow-up emails. Keep yourself accountable by adding quantities to these checkpoints. For example, set the intention to apply to 5-10 job postings a week for 4 weeks to help break down your goal.
- Assignable: Specify who will do it
It’s important to think through what resources and people within your network will be involved in the process. With a goal like securing a job or internship, there’s a laundry list of people that you’ll need to connect with. If you need to get your resume reviewed you’ll need to schedule an appointment with Peer Career Advisors. You might also connect with alumni within ASK who work at the places you’re interested in applying to. Be clear on who will help you during each phase of your goal.
- Realistic: State what results can realistically be achieved given available resources
Another key to successfully accomplishing your goals is ensuring that they’re realistic. Be honest with yourself about what you’re capable of accomplishing in a certain window of time. At the end of the day, being realistic will help you hold yourself accountable without overwhelming yourself with work. In an ideal world, we’d all have time to apply for 50 jobs a week but with a busy schedule perhaps 5-10 is a more realistic goal that fits with your schedule.
- Time-related: Specify when the result can be achieved
Michael Elias, Career Advisor for the College of Communication, believes that time management is essential to ensuring you get things done. For people who are great with to-do lists, this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. What about procrastinators who wait until the last minute? Michael’s advice is simple, “I’d recommend setting a date/time for completion and then announcing it to family, friends, a supervisor, via social media, etc. This way, you can hopefully receive encouragement for your goal from others while simultaneously building in some low-risk pressure; if this community of supporters keeps asking about it, it can provide some additional incentive and motivation.”
There’s a lot more to goal setting than you’d think! Although resolutions are fun to talk about, if you’re looking to make 2018 the year you get things done, try developing a game plan to accomplish your resolutions with the SMART strategy.
Not sure what kind of career goals you should be setting? The Career Center is ready to help. Meet with a career advisor to brainstorm career goals for the new year. Don’t be afraid to make 2018 YOUR year!