Treat Your Job Search Like a Job. Set Your Own KPIs!

We've all heard of key performance indicators, or KPIs. You have probably been assessed against certain KPIs in your previous jobs, but have you ever thought about developing your own KPIs for the job search process?

KPIs are valuable because they give us measurable values by which we can determine how effectively a company is achieving its key business objectives. Low-level KPIs tend to focus on process, but high-level KPIs focus on the overall performance and success of a business.

Just like you can use KPIs to guide and measure the success of a company and its employees, you can use KPIs to guide and measure the success of your job search.

Setting Your Own Job Search KPIs

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: You must treat your job search like a job in itself. It requires time, effort, and focus. The job you've always wanted isn't going to come looking for you – unless you put in the work to make yourself a go-to person in your industry. Create your own opportunities. Set yourself a specific end goal with measurable KPI's.

If you're going to formulate job search KPIs, you need to start with the basics. You have to clearly understand your objectives and how you plan to achieve them.

So, what are your objectives? Getting a job? Any job? Or getting the job you've always wanted? Aim high. Set your sights on what you really want!

As with all goal setting, it's best to make your KPIs SMART  – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Actually, you can make them SMARTER by adding two extra steps: evaluate and re-evaluate. This re-evaluation should be a constant process.

1. Start With Your Ultimate Goal

Write a list of the companies you'd like to work for. Not all companies advertise their vacancies externally, so don't just look at what's on offer in the job market. Concentrate on the companies where you know you could make a difference.

2. Set a Specific End Goal

For example: "In 60 days, I will have accepted a job offer for an operations director position at one of the companies on my list with a $100,000 starting salary."

Once you have a specific goal set, start developing your plan to reach it.

3. Draft a SMART Plan

Your plan should include SMART steps to reach your goal. Decide how many applications you should send each day or week, and perhaps set a target ratio of interviews to applications you send.

When I say "applications," I don't just mean resumes sent off in reaction to an advert or a recruitment company's call to you. I mean proactive applications sent with a show and tell letter to companies you have chosen as target employers. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are first-rate when sending out applications. This may mean investing in professional help, but it's money well spent in pursuit of your dream job.

You need to treat the whole job search process as a job. You need to set aside time every day to carry out the tasks that need to be done to achieve your goal. You need to set KPIs to measure your performance, and you need to constantly re-evaluate your KPIs and reassess your position.

Find someone who can hold you accountable. This could be someone you know and trust, or it could be a professional career coach. Either way, you want someone who can help you stay focused and proactive in your search for the perfect job.

Susan Burke is an award-winning global careers coach. You can connect with Susan via LinkedIn and grab a complimentary copy of her book, Get Companies Chasing You, directly from her website.