Setting goals in your job search

A well-known saying attributed to Yogi Berra sums up the reasons why you should keep setting goals

“You got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going because you might not get there.”

The target to shoot for in your search for success is the “there” referred to by the baseball Hall Of Famer.

Many of you drift through life, in and out of jobs and carers, following familiar daily routines without planning ahead to define goals. Most of us never pause long enough to ask, “what am I doing and why am I doing it?” When you lack personal career goals you also lack direction

You can provide your own personal direction. If you plan ahead before taking a trip, you can do the same in life when you plan ahead by setting goals for your job search and career.

How achieve career goals

Setting goals is all about having a clear idea of what you want or what you want a project to look like, then harnessing your will to move in the direction of whatever that clear idea is.

It helps to define goals by writing them down. But don’t set your career goals in stone. Write them in pencil. Then you can erase when necessary to eliminate and replace or adjust goals as you review them periodically. I like to think about goals as works in progress. As situations in life change, so do goals.

Many spiritual advisors suggest focusing on a desire to make contributions and help others rather than on some kind of personal gain, recognition, or money.

There’s a paradox here. You’ll be more successful when you focus just on the joy of doing steps that lead up to the goal rather than on personal gain. It’s true, you’ll never be satisfied striving to accomplish something for personal recognition, gain or fame, or money.

As you focus on your wants, “notice how your desires form a pattern. The responses that repeat themelves can be highlighted—they are the job goals you need to investigate,” quoting from my book, “Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach.”

Four easy steps to setting goals and following them to completion

First, define a goal. Winners visualize themselves reaching their goal and picture the rewards they’ll enjoy from accomplishing them. Losers visualize what they’ll suffer by failing. My wife Ellie loves to say, “Take the T out of can’t.”

You’ll seldom fail when you define career goals. I’ve witnessed this time and time again in my job coaching practice. To take one example, Doug was fired from his job at a major New York bank for approving a bad check. “I must have a job in three months,” demanded Doug at our first meeting, “and I expect you to help me do it.”

My response to the job canddate’s demand was a silent one. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it would be tough to land within a half dozen weeks because of the triple whammies he had going for him: Because Doug was fired, he couldn’t be recommended or vouched for. He was over 50 so it would take him longer to find work. And this candidate made a high salary. This would add to the number of months it would take to find a new job.

But my client worked eight hours a day on his job hunt. He kept sending out resumes and phoning personal contacts which resulted in meetings and job interviews. Doug didn’t know that his goal of finding a job in three months couldn’t be done. Yet he did it during the third month of his search.

Doug proved an important theory about success: The difference between people who succeed and those who fail is not talent but perseverance.

The second step is to be committed to your goal. Motivational coach Mark Forster tells his clients about the difference between commitment and interest. In his book, “Do it Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management,” Forster says people have many interests and they keep getting in the way of each other. “There is no real upper limit to the number of things that someone can be interested in,” writes Forster whose Website——is one of my favorites.

So being committed to achieving a goal suggests that you’re excluding other activities that conflict with your commitment.

The third step is to visualize your goal. Simply picture yourself achieving your end. Employ all of your senses. See yourself doing it and feel how good it feels having reached your goal.

And Step four is to find a mentor or two. As you work towards achieving a goal or completing a project, network with others who know more than you do. Then you can network with them, following whatever advice you find helpful. This lets you adjust and improve your goal or project as you move forward.

After reaching a career goal, don’t stop. Many people tend to go no higher than the goals they set for themselves. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep going beyond your comfort zone by stretching to the next level and setting new goals.

RANDY PLACE is the author of “Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach,” where techniques you can learn in a minute can be applied immediately to your job campaign and beyond. Order now.

Copyright ©2016 by Ransom (Randy) Place

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.