Summary: SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Rewriting your goals to be SMART helps set you up for success by reflecting on the details and how to make it happen.
SMART Goals Detail How You’ll Succeed
Whether you’re just starting a career or looking for a change, one thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to create goals. These goals may further your career, help you look for a new job, or increase your skills in your current job. It can be challenging to write a goal even if you have some idea of how you want your future to be different. People often use the SMART model to set goals—a SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Here is an example of a SMART goal:
Jon works daily as a help desk analyst for an international retail company, but he wants to move to an IT career in cybersecurity. Here’s an example of a goal he might write: “To advance my IT and become a cybersecurity specialist, I will find a one-year training course that is affordable and that I can complete in the evenings beginning this fall.”
“To advance my IT and become a cybersecurity specialist” is the specific part of the goal; “one-year training course” is measurable; “affordable and that I can complete” is attainable and relevant; and finally, “in the evenings beginning this fall” is time-bound.
10 tips for Writing a Great SMART Goal
Go for the Goals
When goals are written too broadly or are set far into the future, people often lose sight of how to meet those goals. An example of a broadly written goal is, “I want to be an architect someday.” SMART goals instead clarify your ideas and help you focus actions within a certain time frame. A more specific SMART goal example is, “This week, I want to explore college programs near me with a major in architecture.”
Because SMART goals are specific, attainable, and time-bound, you are more likely to complete them. Once you’ve written your SMART goals, put them in a place where you can reference them often and check off the goals you have accomplished. Be prepared to adjust, revise, or add new goals as you continue along your career journey.