. Military-Civilian: Hot Jobs, Events, and Helpful Information for Veterans Seeking Civilian Careers: Developing Smart Transition Goals

Monday, November 18, 2019

Developing Smart Transition Goals

Published on September 27, 2019

“I want to get a job.”

“I’m planning on getting my degree.”

“I’m moving back to my hometown.”

These are all fairly common answers Soldiers give when they’re asked about their post-transition goals. They seem fine, and they all make sense, but they aren’t helping set the Soldier up for success. The Soldier needs to develop and define their goal to have the best chance of reaching it.

There are several components to making sure your goals are fully developed. An easy way to do it is make sure your goals are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Reachable, and Time-Driven.

First, you need to make sure your goal is 
specific. Instead of saying, “I want to get a job,” say “I want to get a job in the same field as my MOS, in the automotive industry.” It narrows down your search field and helps you focus. Then, make sure it’s measurable – what numbers are you using to measure your success? For a job search, it might be a salary range, or a date that you want to have an offer by.

Next, make sure it’s 
action-oriented. What will you do to achieve your goal? For our example, this could include submitting applications, networking, improving your resume, and practicing interview skills. It also has to be realistic – it isn’t very reasonable to say “I want to get a job offer tomorrow” or “I want to be making six figures by the time I’m 25.” Could these happen? Possibly. Are they very likely? Not really. Set your goals high, but make sure that they are attainable, or you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

Lastly, set a 
time-driven goal. Set timelines for yourself to stay motivated and driven. With all of these components, “I want to get a job” becomes “I will go to a networking event once a month and practice for interviews once a week. I want to receive an offer from a company in the automotive industry for a position related to my MOS within six months.”

While having your goal written out like that is important, it can also be a little overwhelming. To combat this, you can break your goal into smaller, short-term goals. These will outline steps you need to take, and help you appreciate the achievements you make on the way. This could sound like “I will go to a career fair next month to network with the automotive companies in attendance” or “I will attend a webinar in two weeks about interview skills, and I will write down three things that I learn from it that will help me practice.” These will help you keep moving forward toward your main goal.

This method can be used for professional, personal, financial, or any other type of goal you’re trying to reach. As you’re transitioning, looking for a job, planning your retirement, trying to start your own business, or whatever you’re aiming for, make sure that your goals are smart.

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