While working with job seekers it is important to make the most out of the time shared. Using SMART objectives and goals can be an efficient way to help the job seeker identify specific steps to achieve self-sufficiency and longer-term goals. It is a clear, concise way of goal setting to help clients focus their efforts.
Often times during the first employment intake, an employment team member will hear that a job seeker’s goals are, “I want to work any job” and, “I want to learn English.” Those are good thoughts, but not specific enough to provide an action plan. They are not SMART. SMART objectives and goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Example: Claude is a recently arrived refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who speaks fluent French and some English. Claude completed Secondary School (High School) but never received his diploma or certificate. Claude arrived with his mother and six siblings. During his employment intake Claude shares that his long term goal is to become a human rights lawyer, but he also understands the immediate need to financially support his family. The Employment Specialist (ES) suggests seeking work at a local warehouse that often hires new Americans. Claude agrees and is ready to embark on the job hunt.
Objective #1: Obtain employment at the warehouse within two months.
|Specific||√||Claude begins the job cycle process of applying and interviewing with one particular employer.|
|Measurable||√||Claude will either have the job or will not in two months’ time.|
|Attainable||√||The ES already has connections to the employer and knows they are eager to hire newly arriving refugees.|
|Relevant||√||Claude wants to start working right away to support his family and have money to be able to achieve his long term dream of becoming a lawyer.|
|Timely||√||Claude needs to be able to pay bills before his family’s initial funding assistance runs out.|
Objective #2: Enroll in General Education Diploma (GED) training course within one year.
|Specific||?||The objective does not outline explicitly where Claude will enroll.|
|Measurable||√||Claude attending a GED training course within one year from intake is measurable.|
|Attainable||?||There are several questions that must be answered to know if this objective is attainable. Is the training free? If not, how will Claude pay for it? How is Claude’s English proficiency in reading, writing, and other subjects? If he needs additional preparation, where will he get it and how long will it take?|
|Relevant||√||Claude’s long term goal is to become a lawyer, having a GED or High School Diploma is required and therefore relevant.|
|Timely||√||Claude can keep his job to meet basic needs while going to GED class simultaneously. He seems motivated to do it all.|
It is important when creating SMART objectives and goals to consider each step required while keeping in mind the client’s immediate needs and barriers. There are several additional objectives that Claude must achieve in order to reach his longer-term goal of becoming a human rights lawyer, including:
- Ensure proficiency for GED training courses
- Enroll in GED courses
- Obtain a GED
- Apply and be accepted to college
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree
- Apply and be accepted to law school
- Obtain a law degree
- Obtain a job in the human rights field
Going through each objective required to meet longer-term goals utilizing the SMART technique may help the ES, as well as the client, understand the pathway of a career and its feasibility for the client.
Look out for activities on career planning and SMART objectives and goals in Higher’s upcoming Job Readiness Toolkit!
What are some ways that you teach goal planning when working with refugees? Share your best practices with us at Information@higheradvantage.org!
Objectives are the measurable steps an individual takes to achieve his/her goal(s).