Are You Experiencing the Job Search Blues? Setting Job Search Goals May Help

a woman stressed at work


Robin Madell for FlexJobs
Robin Madell for FlexJobs
June 15, 2024 at 9:3PM UTC
Your job search is in full swing, and you’re networking like crazy. While your efforts may land you a position, whether or not your approach can be considered a true success maps back to the goals you set—or failed to set—at the start. Here are some key reasons why you should set job search goals.

You can accomplish more in your job search if you set goals.

Conducting a job search is a job in itself, and you should approach it the same way you would any important project: with planning and goal setting.
Without goals, your job search may be fragmented and disorganized, a haphazard attempt akin to throwing spaghetti at the walls to see what sticks. And without clear goals, you might find yourself distracted by other things to do instead of your job search, which can lead to missed opportunities.
By identifying and then holding yourself to goals related to your job search—such as applying to two opportunities per day or sending out a specific number of resumes each week—you’ll be ensuring that a certain amount of job hunting will get done each week. This goal-based approach increases your chances of a successful outcome.

You can end up in a poor fit without job search goals.

Failure to set goals for your job search can result in accepting an opportunity that isn’t right for you. That’s what the expression “Don’t climb a ladder that’s leaning against the wrong wall” refers to—without goals, you can easily find yourself following a path that doesn’t lead to the outcome you wanted. This might mean taking a job that doesn’t move you closer to your ultimate career goals or settling for a position in an industry that you didn’t set out to work in.
While you might take care of your income needs in the short term in this situation, setting job search goals at the outset can position you for a job that fits better. A goal-based approach will put you on track for moving up in your career, rather than having to start over to get the type of job you wanted. The flip side of a goalless job search leading to a poor fit is that you can grease the wheels for a good fit by building goals into your job search.

You’ll be more motivated and productive in the job you get.

If you’ve taken the time to identify what type of job you really want, it follows that your motivation to do well in the job will increase. Research bears this out, showing that individual work goals—chosen thoughtfully—are powerful motivators that can increase your productivity.
Think about which situation makes you feel more motivated: doing a job you decided to take without thinking through your goals first? Or, targeting a job that’s a perfect fit, getting it, and feeling like you can’t wait to get started? The latter approach is generally more motivating.

Set goals to achieve job search success.

The fact is that setting job search goals can not only facilitate and improve the process of looking for work, but it can also position you well in your career for years to come. What may seem like trivial busywork on the front end can ultimately serve you down the road by ensuring the positions you apply for—and the one you decide to accept—is right for you.
This article originally appeared in FlexJobs. FlexJobs is the leading career service specializing in flexible work, providing the largest database of vetted remote and flexible job listings. To support job seekers in all phases of their journey, FlexJobs offers a range of services including expert advice, job search events, and career coaching. FlexJobs also works with leading companies to recruit quality remote talent and optimize their remote and flexible workplace.

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