What is Intention Setting?

Let’s start with the basics. What is “intention setting?” It allows you to have a clear picture in your mind of what you want as an outcome rather than leaving the result to chance or fate. Intention setting involves clearly defining your goals and desired outcomes before beginning a process or journey. It is the act of determining where you want to go and visualizing (seeing clearly) the destination you hope to reach. As you can imagine, intention setting can be incredibly valuable as you navigate a job search or what I like to call, a job campaign!

Intention setting is powerful because it provides direction, meaning, and motivation right from the start. Rather than just going through the motions day-to-day, you have a defined purpose and clear objectives in mind and a picture in your mind. This helps ensure your efforts stay focused and aligned with your overarching aims.

Setting clear intentions is a way to tap into the power of your subconscious mind – which keeps working when you aren’t aware of it. By consciously defining what you want to achieve, you plant seeds that will continue to grow and guide you forward. Intention setting gives your job campaign journey more purpose and helps you stay committed during challenging times. If you set intentions and still struggle with staying focused or perhaps you are still unsure if you’re approaching the job campaign correctly – let’s connect. I offer many career strategy services that may work well with you and your intentions.

With a defined vision of your goals, you can ensure each step of the process ladders up toward your larger objectives. Intention setting provides a guiding light so you don’t lose your way or get bogged down in daily minutiae. Beginning your job campaign by defining your desired intentions will help set you up for success.

Why Intention Setting Matters for a Job Search

Most job seekers start their search without taking the time to get clear on their intentions and goals. This start without the focus on intention and strategy often leads to randomly applying to any job that seems remotely relevant. The find the job post, apply and pray approach. Over time, this shotgun approach causes frustration, disappointment, and campaign fatigue.  

This powerful tool brings focus, meaning, and direction to your job search. And doesn’t that sound a lot more motivating than disappointment and frustration? Setting clear intentions for the process allows you to stay clear in your vision and to identify roles and companies that are the best fit for your skills, interests, values and career aspirations. It enables you to take purposeful action each day to move closer to your dream job.

Some key benefits of intention setting before you start applying include:

  • Gaining clarity on your ideal job criteria and requirements
  • Understanding what motivates you and what you want to experience through your work  
  • Knowing which skills to develop and make you most marketable plus connections to make to expand your network
  • Having metrics to evaluate if a job is a good match

By beginning your job search with the end in mind, you are much more likely to find a fulfilling role that utilizes your talents and supports your long-term career goals. Intention setting provides the missing structure, meaning and direction that most job searches lack.

How to Set Your Intentions Before a Job Search

Now to what you’ve all been wanting to see! Setting clear intentions at the start of your job search is crucial to keeping yourself focused and motivated throughout the process. Here are some steps for setting effective intentions:

  • Self-reflection to understand your skills, interests, values

Take time to reflect on what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what’s important to you in your next  job. Understanding these things will help you identify jobs that are a great fit. Make a list of your hard and soft skills, your professional interests, and your top values. Personality and skills assessments are a great way to take inventory of what you may want to do and the values you bring. One no cost personality assessment I enjoy is: 16personalities.com

  • Envision your ideal job given your current experience

Based on your self-reflection, imagine your target job right now given your current skills and experience. What does this job look like day-to-day? What projects are you working on? Who are you working with? Envision it in as much detail as possible. Write those down. This could also be good information to share with potential employers in an interview as appropriate.

  • Set SMART goals for the job search

With your ideal job in mind, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals for your search. For example, you may set goals like “Research and apply to 5 relevant job postings per week” or “Reach out to my network for 2 informational interviews/coffee conversations per week.”

 

Setting intentions at the start brings clarity and direction to your search. Revisit your intentions regularly to stay focused on your goals. Be open to adapting your intentions over time as you learn and grow. With clear intentions guiding you, your job campaign is more likely to lead you to meaningful, fulfilling work.

Setting Your Ideal Job Intention 

Before starting a job search or campaign, take some time to get clear on your ideal role and company. Focusing on this intention setting will help align your campaign efforts with your deeper career goals and desires.

Again, begin with the end in mind by imagining your ideal job. What does it look like day-to-day? What kinds of responsibilities make you excited to get out of bed in the morning? Do you want an individual contributor role or a management position? What salary range seems appropriate and abundant? This will help you discover exactly what kind of roles you are looking for in your research AND what gives you ideas for a strong cover letter.

Next, envision your ideal company. Are you happiest at a small startup, mid-size business, nonprofit, or large corporation? Do you need to work remotely or prefer being in an office – is hybrid a good fit? What perks like unlimited vacation, work-from-home days, or professional development stipends excite you? This can be another category in which to narrow down what you apply to – make those applications intentional.

Make a list of your non-negotiable must-haves for your next role. This isn’t a wish list of every nice-to-have, but the key factors that will make this position a great fit for who you are. Location, salary, responsibilities, company culture, values alignment, and growth opportunities may be top considerations. These will be important to have articulated for interview purposes.

Then visualize yourself already working in this job. Imagine looking forward to your work, feeling energized and engaged throughout the day, and doing your best work. See yourself being appreciated and compensated for the value you provide. This mental rehearsal may even help realize your vision.

Setting a clear intention for the type of role and environment you want to work within, will empower your job search. When you know what you’re looking for, you can pursue openings aligned with your goals rather than reacting to every opportunity that comes along. Intention setting provides focus so you use your time and energy efficiently to land your ideal job – it helps you to see it when you find it.

Intention Setting for Skills Development 

When searching for new work, it’s important to assess your current skills and experience versus the requirements of your ideal job. Start by making a comprehensive list of what you know about the hard and soft skills needed for the roles you want to pursue. These may include both technical aptitudes like software proficiency as well as interpersonal abilities like communication, collaboration, and leadership. 

Next, honestly compare your present skillset to your ideal job’s needs. Look for gaps where you may lack certain abilities or need to sharpen existing competencies. Don’t be discouraged by deficiencies – instead, view them as areas for growth. Setting focused intentions to develop your skills can make you much more qualified for your desired positions down the line.

With your skills ‘gaps’ identified, make a list of specific development goals to accomplish as you start your applications. For example, you may set targets such as “take an advanced Excel course to boost data analysis skills” or “volunteer as a project lead to improve public speaking skills.” Along with each goal, block off time in your calendar and research resources to help achieve it within a time frame that makes sense for your campaign. 

 

Setting Networking Intentions

Networking is a crucial part of any successful job search. Setting clear intentions around networking helps provide focus and accountability. Here are some tips for setting effective networking intentions:

  • Make a list of your top ~15 target companies and 5 ideal (most perfect) companies within which you’d like to work. Having specific organizations in mind will help drive your networking efforts allowing you to inquire directly for referrals to people in those companies.
  • Identify at least 10 professionals in your industry that you’d like to connect with for a ‘coffee’ talk or informational interview. Research on LinkedIn people who work at those target companies, who went to your university, or are in same or similar roles within which you aspire to work. 
  • Set a goal to reach out to 5 to 8 new (or renewed) networking contacts per week through email, voicemail, text, and LinkedIn. Scheduling networking outreach in your calendar helps to ensure you follow through. 
  • Look for relevant industry events, conferences, meetups, and networking meetings in your city. Choose 2-3 upcoming events to attend to connect with new people – at least one per week if that makes sense in your area.
  • Set an intention to follow up with all networking contacts within 24 hours of an interaction. Quick follow-up helps advance relationships and create trust in you as a professional.
  • Track your networking progress in a spreadsheet to maintain accountability. Note companies contacted, people met, and follow-up items. Recognize when it is appropriate to circle back within 30 – 45 days.

Setting clear, measurable intentions around networking provides focus and motivation. Approach networking with purpose, and you’ll be surprised at the connections and opportunities that open up.

Creating a Job Search Strategy

A critical part of intention-setting for your job search is having an organized strategy and timeline. This means breaking down the job campaign process into manageable steps and establishing target dates to keep yourself on track. 

To create an effective job campaign strategy:

1) Make a timeline with target application dates. Review job postings of interest for applying and set goals for when deadlines you target to submit applications. Having benchmark dates will help pace your search.

2) Identify resources needed. Make sure you have an updated resume ready. If you need to create a resume, I recommend using Teal – you can create a resume using Teal here. Set up alerts on relevant job sites and networking platforms. Contact references and let them know you are starting a job campaign, and will need their support. Gather together any documents to validate certifications, portfolio items, or other materials you may need.

3) Establish weekly job search task goals. Target how many jobs you want to apply to each week, and how many networking emails you’ll send. Determine how much time you can devote to the search each day or week. Breaking your intentions down into weekly strategic objectives will keep you focused and productive.

 

An intention-driven strategy provides structure and clarity for your job search efforts. Approaching the process with purpose, rather than just reacting to available jobs, will lead to better results. Be proactive by setting goals, making a timeline, identifying resources and establishing weekly targets. Your intention to find your dream job will become a reality.

 

Following Through with Discipline

Setting intentions at the start of your job search is an important first step (remember, beginning with the end in mind), but following through on those intentions requires dedication and discipline. Intentions alone are not enough – you have to be committed to sticking to your plan even when motivation lags.Meet yourself in your calendar. 

Create a checklist for tasks. Use your checklist as a roadmap to stay on track throughout your job campaign. Refer back to it regularly and mark off accomplishments as you go. Doing this helps build momentum and gives you a sense of progress and momentum.

When discipline starts to falter, focus on renewing your motivation. Remember why these intentional steps matter and how achieving them will lead to your ideal job. Reflect on accomplishments up until now and celebrate small wins. 

Also, be flexible – if an intention no longer serves you, adapt it rather than abandon it completely. Adjust to allow it to serve you. Discipline means persistence, not rigidity. Stay adaptable but committed.

Following through on intentions requires self-discipline, organization, and flexibility. With consistent effort, your intentions will become reality. By beginning your job search with the end in mind and sticking to your plan, you’ll maximize your chances of success.

 

Adapting Your Career Intentions Over Time

As you make progress in your job campaign, it’s important to regularly review and adjust your intentions to ensure they are still relevant. The job search process can take unexpected turns, and you may gain new clarity and priorities as you go. 

Make a habit of revisiting your intentions every few weeks. Consider new skills, connections, or insights you’ve gained and whether your goals/intentions require adjustment. For example, you may discover an interest in a role or company that wasn’t originally on your radar. Or you may realize certain intentions are not serving you anymore based on your experiences and what you are learning from the marketplace.

Allow your intentions to organically evolve. This flexibility will help you make the most of new opportunities and redirect your efforts as needed. Adjust key targets like your ideal job criteria, networking outreach, or skills development goals. Just don’t abandon your intentions altogether—having that vision can still guide you even if the path morphs or merges.

Regularly reflecting on and fine tuning your intentions will ensure your job campaign stays focused and aligned with your true professional goals. With an adaptable yet consistent approach, you’ll be able to tackle new challenges skillfully and purposefully move towards the career you are passionate about and land that work. Good luck.