How to Set Reasonable and Achievable Career Goals

It can be difficult to not be hearing back from companies while seeing people humbly brag on LinkedIn about their accepted offers. It can also be very hard to balance job-seeking and the other many activities of college. In fact, the pressure might be on to find an internship or full-time offer after the many summer internship rescinds of COVID-19. Whatever the case may be, make sure you are taking care of yourself but also actively working toward getting an internship or job. Here are a few ways to do exactly that:

  • Set aside time to apply for jobs – or – multitask!
    • If you are still looking for a job, create a few time blocks during the week dedicated to applications. If that’s not possible, find time during your week in which you can submit job applications while doing another activity. This isn’t to say that job applications are mindless, but they do require less brain activity than, say, homework and are also usually quite repetitive. It’s possible to apply to several jobs while watching a Patriots game and still pay attention to the score.
  • Track your progress!
    • Make sure you’re looking at where you’ve applied and where you’ve heard back from while also keeping an eye on scheduled interviews and how they went. This will allow you to alleviate stress and recognize what companies you need to keep an eye on, as well as see your own progress.
  • Set a quota!
    • If you are actively looking for an internship or job, a good idea is to decide on a number of job applications to hand in on a weekly basis. You don’t have to strictly hit these numbers every week, but knowing that you want to consistently hand in about 10 applications a week can help motivate you. If you are getting 10 applications in, and you’re sure that your resume and cover letters look good, but you’re not getting results, it might be beneficial to up that number or spend a little more time per week on searching and applying for jobs. 
  • If exams or schoolwork is becoming too much, cut back on applications!
    • As important as a career and an internship are, schoolwork is of the highest importance. Your GPA and the information that you are gaining from classes are also jobs in a way since you’re a student. Because a degree from Bentley can set you on a successful career path, use free time rather than the time allocated for homework or studying to apply for jobs. If that gets tough around midterms, make sure to still focus on school, and relieve stress. If you have a good number of applications in by midterm time, there’s a good chance that employers have not yet gone through their hiring processes and the chance to get an interview is still high, so don’t worry about being behind.
  • Talk to friends or career colleagues about your progress!
    • The internship search is stressful. One of the best ways to move through it is by venting to friends or with advice from your local career colleagues here. If you’re not sure what some reasonable goals are in regard to your aspirations and loaded schedule, having a conversation can help. Anybody that you trust can probably offer good advice or be a sounding board, so don’t be afraid to use resources such as professors, parents, or mentors.
  • Go into the job-seeking process with an open mind and fewer expectations!
    • Sometimes, things don’t work out exactly how you thought they would. Maybe an interview that you thought went really well doesn’t amount to much. It’s dangerous to depend on one opportunity, so keeping your options open and having fewer expectations about the hiring process can help make those reasonable goals and continue making progress. Some companies that you may not have been initially interested in can really impress you during their interview stages, so don’t write anything or anyone off before you really evaluate the kinds of experiences you could gain.
  • Get your sleep and do not sacrifice your health!
    • Sometimes, applications can take a while. And if you’re applying to 10-20 jobs a week on top of homework and studying and everything else you do, you may need to sacrifice some sleep. Just make sure to keep up your physical and mental health, especially now, in these very difficult times. Immunity is more important than ever and that comes with taking good care of yourself. It’s difficult to do a good job if you’re unable to be productive, so make sure to stay healthy. Take measures against burning out, such as taking frequent breaks.
  • Keep up your own morale!
    • The process can take a long time. Many companies experience delays in their recruitment processes from time to time and might take longer to get back to you. Definitely keep up with the hiring process as best you can and also leave time to rest and recharge.
By Alina Minkova
Alina Minkova Creative Blog Curator Alina Minkova