The SMART rule states that goals should be SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC, and TIME-TARGETED. Using the SMART rule will help you create clear objectives and a plan of action.

Begin writing your goals by thinking about these questions which pertain to the SMART rule:

  • What do you want to achieve and why?
  • What steps will you take to achieve this objective?
  • How will you measure your progress?
  • When are you going to complete this objective?
  • Are there time constraints?





Technological Literacy

I would like to learn to efficiently operate a Hewlett Packard 1100 HPLC which will help me get further work experience in the pharmaceutical industry. I'll request HPLC training and ask to be involved in HPLC analyses. I'll know I'm successful when I can set up and execute an HPLC run and produce the final results using the data system software.


Oral Communication

I would like to improve my presentation skills by the end of this co-op work term. Presentation skills are critical to my goal of entering the management level. I'll ask to assist with the preparation and delivery of presentations with the department and ask about presenting my work report at the end of the semester. I'll take a PowerPoint training session while on my work term.

Guiding Questions

If you need a little extra help beyond the SMART rule when writing goals, consider the questions below. There are no wrong answers however the way you answer each question may help to highlight some areas of improvement. Keep in mind that some of the questions may not pertain to your job, industry or career goals.

  • On a day to day basis, where are you working? On a computer, in a lab, with groups of people?

  • Your day consists of many different types of duties. What did you learn from daily, project and repetitive work?

  • What aspect of your job do you enjoy most? The creativity, data analysis, working with others, writing, using a computer, etc.

  • Were there any computer programs that you didn’t know how to use as effectively as you would have liked to?

  • Were there lab procedures that you were unsure of that you would have liked to understand/perform better?

  • Do you like to analyze situations and/or data or would you rather deal with “the bigger picture”?

  • Do you know the deadlines for your projects/duties/tasks? How are you handling deadlines?

  • Do you complete your duties at the last minute or are you usually ahead of schedule? How do you manage your time?

  • If you have an idea do you speak up and tell your supervisor/manager? Do you share opinions or do you keep quiet most of the time?

  • After receiving direction, do you forget instructions? Do you wish you wrote down what others were saying?


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