5 Steps to Writing a SMART Career Plan
by Arina Smith Job & Career 20 February 2019
College life is hard with so many things to do. At one time, you want to find accounting home work help for your assignment and at the same time trying to figure out your career. While many people go through college, only a few end up enjoying their planned careers. You see, it is one thing to identify a career but another thing altogether making this career plan work. You must have heard of people who excelled at school but ended up working wrong jobs which is mostly down to poor career plans. Actualizing a career plan is not easy but today, you can employ the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound) goal-setting strategy to do this effectively.
This article explores how you can write a practical career plan using the popular SMART goal-setting strategy. Keep reading.
A brief overview of the SMART Strategy:
A SMART goal is a conscious and concrete plan you make to achieve something in life. It is a planning strategy that some renowned business entrepreneurs such as Dr. George Taylor (Serent Properties LLC), Ada Chen Rekhi, (Founder and COO, Notejoy), Katie Ross (Education and Development Manager, American Consumer Credit Counseling) among many others have used.
For a career plan to work well, you need to set goals which necessitate a reliable strategy. The SMART goal setting strategy is popular in all aspects of life and career counselors now recommend it for anyone planning a career. When thinking about a career plan, you should set goals that meet the following criteria as per the SMART strategy:
- = Specific
- = Measurable
- A= Attainable/ Actionable,
- = Realistic
- = Time Based
By using the SMART goal setting method, it is possible to transform your career dream into practical goals which you can work on every day. While most people have a vague plan for their careers, they find it hard to work towards realizing their hopes. Without a concrete and actionable plan of action (PoA), it is impossible to move forward. The SMART goal-setting strategy is the best career planning tool every student should utilize to reach their career goals.
How to Set Up SMART Career Plan:
1. Start With A Specific Ultimate Goal:
Every student has something they would like to do in life. By the time you join college, you already have a concrete idea of what you would like to become. Well, when preparing a career plan, you need to put down your thoughts into writing and make your ultimate goal as specific as possible.
If you love writing for instance and you would like to work in the media, write down the specific role you would like to play in the industry. The most critical aspect of a SMART career plan is to have a specific goal to which you will dedicate all your efforts. Make sure you delineate parameters of your ultimate career goal and the specific steps you will take to achieve it.
2. Set Measurable Steps You Will Take:
Now that you have your ultimate goal for your career, it is time to set out the steps towards achieving it. A measurable goal helps in achieving the milestones along the way and the outcome. For instance, to become a journalist, you need to pass your exams in college, which will in turn help achieve the career outcome you want.
To do this, there are small measurable steps you need to take including time management, attaining a particular grade, graduating, writing a CV, applying for jobs, and going for interviews among other steps. In other words, what gets measured gets done. These micro goals help you in achieving your ultimate career goal.
3. Set Achievable And Attainable Goals:
Setting unattainable or unachievable career goals is a futile move which will not aid your career plan. Many students have lofty goals about their careers but in reality, they can’t achieve these. Avoid creating goals which are unrealistic and instead, focus on what you can achieve.
Setting unattainable goals is simply setting up yourself for failure and disappointments in life. A Forbes article on careers identifies self-reflection as an important part of career planning. You need to take time to look at the realities of life to avoid setting goals which demoralize you. Take an assessment of everything you need to do to achieve your career goal and determine if such a goal is attainable.
4. Set Relevant and Realistic Career Goals:
When setting up a career plan, you will have to write down all the goals you want to achieve. After doing so, you need to critically examine each of these goals to determine if they are realistic and relevant to your ultimate career goal.
Look at the bigger scheme of things and assess if your goals fit into your plan. Anything that doesn’t help you achieve the ultimate goal must go. Don’t set lofty goals which might end up curtailing your potential to actualize your career plan. For instance, you would like to work with CNN or FOX as a reporter and this is a good goal but it is not realistic because these two companies only hire highly experienced media experts.
5. Set a Time Frame For Your Goals:
If you don’t have a time-frame for your goals, it will provide difficult to quantify the progress of your career plan. You have to make your goals time-bound to easily evaluate them and achieve your career dream faster. Remember you don’t have a lot of time to achieve your career goals and as such, you need a time-frame. Target-completion dates are crucial in your SMART career plan as they work towards the faster achievement of your ultimate career goal.
With SMART career goals, it is easier to achieve your career plan. Of course, you will need help along the way including from reliable writing companies such as ewritingservice.com. At the same time, you must constantly review your goals to keep your career plan on course. Once you achieve a micro-goal, reward yourself and push on towards the ultimate career goal.