With each new year I am reminded of making resolutions. While many of our new year’s resolutions have to do with getting in shape, eating better, or finding more time for family or friends, some of your resolutions may deal with your career or financial success. The start of the year is the perfect time to begin thinking about what’s important to you and what you want to change or 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 2010 is your year of career related success.
First off, it is crucial that you start with attainable goals. While it is natural to feel optimistic with the vision of a bright new year upon us, those who set attainable goals are more likely to achieve success. It’s best to start out small: consider what steps you can realistically take to meet your goals. While it may be unrealistic that you will triple your income this year, it is possible to take specific steps to attain a raise, explore new avenues for attaining income or re-evaluate your investments, both time and money, to achieve greater financial stability. Writing your goals down on paper and placing them in a location where you will see them on a frequent basis will help take these from passive ideas to action items.
No matter whether you’re looking to advance within your current company or change careers, it is important that you devote time to expanding your resources. The holiday season is the perfect time to re-establish contact with professional colleagues and old friends. Send a New Year’s card or e-mail to touch base and update others on your current situation and activities. Commit yourself to establishing and nurturing your network. Begin by creating a list of people you know but haven’t talked to recently. Then set an attainable goal, such as having lunch with three new individuals per month. Also consider the power of connecting others. By introducing others you serve as a powerful connector and you can begin to take advantage of their desire to help connect you with new contacts.
You may also consider the value of new training or skills on your current job prospects. When companies consider promoting their current staff they often look at what each individual has done above and beyond their job description. Devoting your time to gaining further skills or education can help show your company that you have what it takes to succeed in an advanced position. You may choose to start by considering the skills and training needed to succeed in your given industry. What do the managers and leaders of your company have that you do not? It may also be helpful to reflect on your last performance review and focus on the areas of improvement. Explore whether professional seminars or skills training will help you gain the skills necessary for the next step. It might also be important to consider whether 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. It might also be worthwhile to see whether your current company provides tuition assistance for such advanced training.
The new year also presents the perfect time to update your resume. Your resume is key to attaining a new position or even a promotion within your current field. Having this document current and ready to go will ensure that you don’t miss out on an opportunity. The resume should focus on your accomplishments and specific skills rather than just listing your job duties and responsibilities. Have a friend or trusted colleague review your resume for clarity and errors or consider hiring a career professional to help you design and perfect your resume.
Smaller steps can also have an impact on your career over the coming year. Reading more will help keep you up to date on what’s going on in your industry and the world around you. If you don’t already, now is the perfect time to commit to reading the morning paper or a trusted news site, subscribing to news feeds online, or reading the newest book about your industry. Staying current will keep you in the loop for new opportunities and will also serve as a conversation piece during business events and networking lunches.
Finally, whatever you resolve to work on, find someone who will support your goals. If you do not already have a mentor, you may want to consider finding someone in your industry who will provide you with the guidance and motivation necessary to make 2010 your year of career success.
Best wishes for a successful new year!
Katrina Davy is a professional career counselor and holds degrees from Cornell and Columbia universities. Got something on your mind? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. All questions will be kept anonymous; let us help you with your life matters!