The end of the year is the perfect time to begin thinking about what’s important to you and what you want to focus on over the coming year. Whether you are looking for a new career or looking for ways to secure or advance your current one, there are a number of things that you can do to make sure that 2011 is your year of career success.

Step 1: Find the motivation. Start by listing some of the things you accomplished in 2010. Look back over the past 12 months; review your computer for documents, reports, and e-mails from superiors. Scan your calendar for significant projects or meetings. Write down 10-15 accomplishments you are really proud of. Reflecting on your personal and career successes can help supply the motivation you need to establish strong goals and power through 2011.

Step 2: Be realistic. While it is common to think of big, longer-term goals, starting off with something small and attainable will allow you to achieve success. Once you determine your career goal, write it down. Individuals who write down their goals and share their thoughts with others are more likely to make that aspiration a reality.

Step 3: Nurture your network. Now is the perfect time to reconnect with those that you have lost touch with. Send out a new year’s greeting card and update your former contacts with your most recent happenings. It is also the perfect time to make a plan to stay in touch with lost friends and colleagues. Commit yourself to doing something different this year, like having lunch with someone new each week or attending a networking meeting each month.

Step 4: Consider what it will take to be promoted within your current organization. When a firm considers promoting their current staff they often look at what each individual has done above and beyond their job description. Start by reflecting on your last performance review and focus on the areas of improvement. Find ways to make your efforts visible to management and your immediate supervisor. If you are looking to make the leap to an advanced position within your current organization, find out what training and experience the current management team has. If you find it difficult to ask about this, try looking them up on LinkedIn, you can often review their academic credentials and work experience just by searching their name.

Step 5: Consider the value of new training or skills on your job prospects. Explore whether professional seminars or skills training will help you gain the skills necessary for advancement. In some cases an advanced degree will help you reach your goals. Many local universities offer part-time MBA or other graduate degree or certificate programs designed to fit around your work hours. Talk with your HR department to find out if your current organization provides tuition assistance for an advanced degree.

Step 6: Find ways to collaborate. Teamwork is one of the most sought after skills when a corporation looks to hire or promote. Treat your colleagues as if they were your customers. Being the trusted, go-to person on your staff will help management to see that you are the type of team player that they want leading others.

Step 7: Update your resume. Even if you are not actively seeking a new position it is always wise to have your resume updated and ready to share. Focus on your accomplishments and the skills you have demonstrated rather than a simple listing of your job duties. Use the success list you created in Step 1 to get started.

Step 8: Read. Make sure that you are up to date on current events as well as specific happenings in your industry. Consider subscribing to an online news feed or setting your favorite news or industry site as your homepage. Simple steps can help you stay on top of new information.

Step 9: Take time for you. The most successful professionals are able to find ways to create balance between work and home. You will be a better employee if you take care of yourself. Schedule time for things you truly enjoy. If there is a slow time during the year, plan now for a short vacation or trip. Taking care of yourself is the key to attaining success.

Step 10: Secure a support network. No matter what you resolve to work on, find someone who will support your goals. If you do not already have a trusted mentor, you may want to consider finding an experienced professional to provide you with the guidance and motivation necessary to make 2011 your year of career success.

Best wishes for a prosperous New Year!

Katrina Davy is a professional career counselor holds degrees from Cornell and Columbia universities. Got something on your mind? Send your questions to newshrink@gmail.com. All questions will be kept anonymous; let us help you with your life matters!

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