Set goals when changing jobs

For you to get the right job, you need a realistic goal in mind. When you identify your goal, your mind will focus on your objective. This enables you to reach it in the shortest time possible.

Your goals must be about your dreams, talents, needs and skills. Only you can decide what your goals are, nobody else can.

Keep in mind the following when making goals:

  • Where would you like to work?
  • What sort of work would you like?
  • How much would you like to earn?
  • What type of lifestyle would you like?


SMART is a mnemonic used in project management at the project objective setting stage. It is an excellent way to approach goal setting.

Write you goals down and apply SMART to them.

  • Specific – Clearly define your goal. Write as much as you can in detail.
  • Measurable – How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? Define something to measure against. If you want to be a computer programmer, you will have reached your goal when you write your first piece of software.
  • Achievable – Your goal is possible. Be careful not to set an unobtainable goal, be realistic.
  • Relevant – Your goal is relevant to your needs and not too complicated to achieve.
  • Time framed – Set a deadline, as tasks like this do not have a clear ending point.

As mentioned in a previous article, making a job compatible with your values is very important. The same is true for goals.

Find out more about SMART goals here.

Creating a plan

Now is the time to start moving towards your goals by making a plan. This will detail the steps you should take in attaining your goals. It will be your road map of where you want to go.

For example, you may want to be a computer programmer. So ask yourself, how you will I get from where I am now, to where I want to be?

Consider the following questions for a computer programming job.

  • Do I need any qualifications?
  • What skills will I need, can I teach myself?
  • How long will I need to train for, is it expensive?
  • Will I need work experience before getting a job?

It’s a good idea to detail as many questions as possible. Some may be unusual such as: “can I work with computers if I’m not good with numbers?”

The questions are easy to come-up with; the answers are the difficult part. It may help to break-up your main goal into mini-goals which you can tick-off your list when done. Search for ‘career profiles’ on the web to find profiles that help answer some of these questions for you. Here is a good example from Herzing University: What does a programmer do? 

Consider the answers to the previous questions for a computer programming job.

  • Using the Internet I will visit the websites of some of the largest IT companies and look at what qualifications their recruitment pages ask for. My newspaper may list some programming jobs; I can look there for any qualifications I may need.
  • I will visit the library and research the skills needed. This will give me an idea of skills and whether I could learn them myself. Plus I will look for any teaching material.
  • My career advice centre will be able to provide details of the training I may need.
  • Jobs will be listed on the Internet through employment agencies.

Taking action

Action is often seen as the difficult part of attaining your employment goals. All journeys start with a single step, and so will your journey into employment. The hardest part of most tasks is the first few minutes, which are often dreaded. So it is imperative you start today, not tomorrow, but today.


Procrastination is the process of avoiding actions or tasks, basically putting things off. You may find yourself cleaning your house, reading or performing other duties instead taking action towards your job goals. You need to sense the beginning of procrastination and guide yourself towards the task you need to perform.

Nobody is perfect, we all put things off. Whether it’s painting the house or putting up shelves, few people can apply themselves immediately to everything.

Planning your tasks in advance and writing them in a diary can help. Put a date and time next to each task and try to stick to the schedule. Don’t forget to tick your appointments once they have been performed.

Make a to-do list and place it somewhere prominent so it’s difficult to avoid being seen, this can act as a reminder. Buy a pin or white board and get yourself organised.

Breaking your goals into smaller mini-goals will help with your larger tasks.

A fun way of avoiding procrastination is to say to yourself “I am going to procrastinate about procrastinating.” You are saying that you cannot be bothered to procrastinate; therefore you will not procrastinate, if you know what I mean.


Procrastination has been associated with perfectionism, which is a tendency to negatively evaluate your own performance. You need to focus on your strengths and stop thinking about your faults. It is important that you don’t judge yourself on every action you perform.

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