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Career Goal Strategies for Job Searching!

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

Job Hunting is Hard

Job hunting is challenging, time-consuming, and at times, frustrating. It is even harder when you need a job straight away. The best remedy is not to panic but to sit back and take a moment to define your job hunting goals.

So how are you going to do this?

First, you need to develop the correct mindset. Let your goals dictate the direction of your job search. Don’t just settle for anything, this easy to do. Instead, focus on what you want to achieve from your job hunting.

Is it a better paying job? Then don’t apply for jobs that are less than your current pay pack.

Is it a career that will give you more satisfaction? Apply for the jobs that meet your values.

Is it a job that involves less stress? Analyse different job descriptions and consider the ones that have duties less demanding as your current job role or entry-level.

1. Can you be more proactive?

To channel the mindset, you need to be proactive. Jobs don’t wait for you. You have to take action. So many people apply for advertised posts; chances of getting selected can be slim, usually only the top 5% of applicants.

One proactive method of finding employment (particularly for a company or sector that you are interested in) is to contact them directly. The direct approach rules out applicants, as it is only you seeking to approach them!

Your direct approach goals could include: arranging an information interview, asking about volunteering, finding out about traineeships/internships, asking to speak to someone in human resources about their recruitment process. A less direct approach could be that you email your CV with a cover letter explaining your interest in working for the company.

So shift your mindset, to think outside of the box. Think of ways how can attract the attention of the employer. Some people now make cv videos and send them to employers or use their website to demonstrate their knowledge through blog writing or membership groups.

2. What skills can you offer an employer?

Skills inventories are significant to identify the current skills you have and ones that you want to develop further. Above is a link to a skills inventory PDF. Print it out and fill it in.

  • What are the skills that you already have?

  • What are the skills that you want to develop?

  • What skills will benefit your career development?

It is good to identify the skills you currently have but also focusing on the skills you want to develop can also help influence the type of work/career that you want to do next.

Do you want to develop a more challenging skill?

Become an expert somewhere?

Or if you want a complete career change, how can the skills that you have now, be of benefit to a potential employer.

What transferable skills do you have?

  • Teamwork

  • Leadership

  • Planning

  • Time-management

  • Delegation

  • Computer applications

  • Written communication

  • Verbal communication

3. How can you experience benefit you?

Employers do prefer paid experience, but if you have experience of something outside the workplace, include this in your job search. outside the workplace, ‘experience’ is something that you could do regularly and have a practical knowledge/application.

For example:

A woman may have experience in processing her partner’s payroll paperwork. Skills suitable for bookkeeping or administration.

A man may have experience of caring for his infirmed mum. Skills suitable for care work.

A young man volunteers at a youth club and helps create fitness plans for the children. Skills suitable for youth work or fitness.

A young woman regularly cooks for her family; it is something she enjoys and good at! This skill could be suitable for a job in professional cookery or a restaurant.

Where you have been working – six months gives you entry-level experience, two years gives you a professional level of experience and five years of experience within the same career role gives you expert knowledge.

Even jobs that you haven’t liked or stayed long in, you will still have learnt something from them. Is there anything that you liked about it? Did you improve your knowledge on a certain process? Even knowing the tasks, you don’t like can help too! It means that you won't waste time applying for them. Experience of different job roles does help guide your future career choices.

Many of us still apply for jobs that we can do, instead of applying for something that we want to do. Please - If you don’t like it, move away from it! Honestly, you will just waste your time and the recruiter/employer’s time.

4. Find your connections and connect the dots......

Look at the places that you have worked in or the places that you have studied. Draw out your connections like a spider diagram or mind map. Write down headings like – skills, people, interests, opportunities, something I am good at, customers, training etc.

See the diagram below.

Then add points to each of these sections. Include relating suggestions that you want for your career, the targets that you want to achieve, different approaches to job search, people who can help you, or skills that you have/want to develop. Think of as many points as you can. Then look at the points, that you haven’t explored. Then use these to refocus your efforts and to identify new career goals.

In the workplace

Previous workplace -Who do you know there who can provide a worthwhile reference? Can they connect/refer you to other companies? What did you learn here? What tasks did you enjoy? What skills that you learnt here? What knowledge can you bring to a new career?

New workplace – Ask your colleagues - what tasks can do well? What are your strengths? Ask them about their own experience of job hunting? Can they recommend anything to help improve your job search? Are there any of your current clients that you could see yourself working for? If you were to be promoted within the company, what role can you see yourself doing in five years?


What are your hobbies / Interests? Whom do you know that shares your interests? Do they run a business? Could you run a business from this interest? Join interest groups on Facebook/Linkedin.

Places of Learning

Do they have a career service? Can you chat to lecturers, you know? Do they have alumni? Are you in contact with any of the people you studied at university? If so, have a chat with them and asking them about their career journey. What did you like most about learning? What learning will help speed up your career?


From the four strategies, your brain should be buzzing with ideas. Now think about them, what goals can you identify for each of then? Try to identify at least 3 goals for each strategy. This should give you at least twelve new actionable goals.

1. Can you be more proactive?


2. What skills can you offer an employer?


3. How can you experience benefit you?


4. Find your connections and connect the dots.


You should find that there are at least three goals for each strategy. These are at least 12 new goals that you can implement to aid you in your job search.

Just to finish off, there is an affirmation that state ‘Think positively and positive, and things happen’.

You could change the affirmation this to:

Think career possibilities and possibilities will happen in your career.



Paula Donnan

Career Coach & Employability Trainer

For assistance with any of the information above, please e-mail me at


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