Gaining Clarity In Your Job Search

Using SMART Goals to provide a clear path to your next job

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

In 1981, George T. Doran, introduced to the business world the concept of S.M.A.R.T. objectives.  Since then, others have used this acronym to define the process of how to effectively and efficiently achieve goals.  This same process can be used to help provide you with clarity within the job search process.  S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives need to be:

Specific – Goals should be precise about what you want to achieve.

Measurable – You must establish criteria for measuring your goals and objectives.

Attainable – Your goals must be challenging, yet they must also be within reach.

Relevant – Your goals need to be aligned with your personal mission or needs.

Time-Based – Your goals need to have time frames attached to them for when you will complete the goal.

Goal setting is a process for targeting the outcomes you want to achieve.  Through this process, you gain clarity on what you want to achieve, how you will achieve it, and when it will be achieved.

An example of a job search goal that’s too broad is to have the goal of getting a job in college sports.  A SMART goal would be much more specific and would follow the five steps that comprise the SMART goal process.  A SMART goal could be – “By January 20th I will create a professional looking resume and a cover letter that follows the proper format established by a career development professional.”

In this goal you have created a very specific objective – to create a resume and cover letter, using the guidance of a career development professional.  This goal would be measurable in that you either wrote the resume and cover letter, or you didn’t.  That you consulted the guidance of a career developmental professional (or read a career development book), and that you completed the project by a specific date.  The goal is attainable in that you are able to contact a career professional (or read a career development book), and you have access to a computer where you can write the resume and cover letter.  The goal is relevant in that by writing a professional resume and cover letter it will help you to get hired in college sports.  Finally your goal is time-based in that it has a specific date attached to when it needs to be accomplished.

By writing your goals and following this five-step process, you will be able to set goals and objectives that are clear, realistic, and attainable.  This process can be used for each aspect of your job search process – indentifying the type of position you are seeking, writing a resume, writing a cover letter, creating your sales pitch, writing out answers to interview questions, learning the interview process, knowing who to target in your search, who to target in your networking, how to properly follow-up, and more.  The key is to outline each goal and obtain good information that will allow you to achieve each goal using the SMART process.  This process will help provide clarity that will help you to stay focused on your career goals, and will help you to move closer to getting a job in college sports.

Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at  Remember to Like Sports Careers Institute on Facebook.


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