An open monthly Planner with 2 pensYou are probably familiar with the concept of setting goals for yourself like losing weight or saving money, but what about setting goals for your job search? Setting SMART goals can be an essential way to stay productive and focused during your search. Let's see how.


Setting SMART Goals for the Job Search

Feb 21, 2023

An open monthly Planner with 2 pens

You are probably familiar with the concept of setting goals for yourself like losing weight or saving money, but what about setting goals for your job search?

Today, we'll talk about what SMART goals are, why they're essential to a productive job search and provide an example of how to apply them to your job search.

What is a SMART Goal?

A SMART goal is defined as one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Let's run through an example of a SMART goal related to the job search.

What's Your SMART Goal?

There are lots of SMART goals you can set related to your job search. In today's example, we're going to discuss setting a specific goal for the number of jobs you will apply for in one week.

First, identify a number that works for you. This may be one, five or more. Setting a number makes your goal Specific and Measurable. Remember, your goal should be Attainable, so only make it what you think you can accomplish. Since your ultimate purpose is to find a job, this goal is Relevant because you will need to apply for jobs to find one! Set a deadline; allocating an amount of time like a week or a month makes it Time-bound.

It's important to be realistic about what you can accomplish. Creating SMART goals is about balancing what you'd like to get done and what you're able to do by a specific deadline. Applying for jobs can take time. You may have to fill out forms, create or update your resume and write cover letters for each position. You will also need to factor in time to prepare for and interview for jobs once you start applying. Keep all these tasks in mind when you think about how many jobs you want to apply for in a set amount of time.

Writing your goals down can help you stick to them and be accountable. Once you set a goal, keep track of your progress. If you want to apply to four jobs in a month, write down what they were and when you applied. This can also help you keep track of them and follow up if you don't hear back. You can make a tracker on your phone or computer, or just use paper and pen. The important thing is to be able to recall the details of each application.

With any goals that you set, don't forget to cross them off as you achieve them! Just this simple act can give you a sense of accomplishment and can motivate you to keep making progress. Repeat this process on a variety of job seeker tasks, you could plan to do a specific number of networking phone calls, rewrite your resume by a certain date or complete a specific training course. The power of SMART goals is the ability to apply this method to any type of task or goal you want to achieve.

How Can Social Security's Ticket to Work Program Help?

Social Security's Ticket to Work Program can guide you toward your employment goals. The Ticket Program is a free and voluntary program that supports career development for Social Security disability beneficiaries ages 18 through 64 who want to work.

Through the Ticket Program, you work with a service provider to identify your employment goals, as well as the supports and services you need to succeed. You and your provider will develop an agreement called an Individual Work Plan (IWP), an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) or an Individual Employment Plan (IEP), depending on the type of service provider you choose. This agreement is a roadmap to success, describing specific employment services, vocational rehabilitation services and supports to help you toward financial independence. Learn more about planning your employment goals with the Ticket Program.

Navigating a new career path can be hard, but we're here to help. To learn more, visit or call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket Program Find Help tool. You can also learn more by registering for a free, online Work Incentives Seminar Event webinar. Or, text TICKET to 1-571-489-5292 to receive Ticket Program texts. Standard messaging rates may apply, and you can opt out at any time.

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