The New Year is the perfect time to re-ignite your career. There is never a bad time to make a resolution to do better, but something about the New Year is slightly more motivating. Here are the top 10 career resolutions you can make to set yourself up for success.
1. Get Interview Ready: Even if you are not actively seeking a new opportunity, this is the time to prep for those really tough questions. You know the ones like “What is your biggest weakness? Why should we hire you? And everyone’s favorite: Tell me about yourself. The New Year is a great time to reflect on your previous experience and seek out new opportunities. Refining this very important skill can help you stand among candidates interviewing during the January rush.
2. Communicate: Make a resolution to always, always, always, return emails. Communication is important in every relationship, even those at the office. Bad communication ruins relationships, builds up frustrations, and lowers respect in the office. Being an effective communicator is one of the best ways to build a strong network of supporters.
3. Open Your Door: Even if you work alone, open yourself up to more interactions at the office. We all understand the value of working hard, but if you can’t identify more than two co-workers by face and name, it is unlikely anyone will remember your name when it’s time for a promotion. Open your door and get to know your coworkers this year. Show an interest in their jobs and their family life. You never know when you may need people on your side.
4. Network: The best time to network is when you are not looking for a job. Make a goal to meet one new person each month during the year. Attend a conference that looks interesting, stop by an event in your industry, or join some LinkedIn groups.
5. Get a Planner: Whether you use your smartphone or the old paper and pen method, find a way to allocate your time that works for you. Use your planner to schedule your day, set alerts for important meetings and to set goals for the day, the week, and the month.
6. Look Up: Looking up is all about finding the next rung on the career ladder. Start by identify the immediate steps you can take to excel at your current job and then focus on the requirements for moving up. Discussing your goals with a manager for clarity and direction is a great way to start. If you manager is not helpful, it might be time to look elsewhere at a company that can support your desire for progression.
7. Career Check-Up: Take yourself out to lunch or coffee and take an hour to give yourself a career checkup. This is not a performance review, but a time to reflect and write what makes you happy about your job and what you would like to change. List your accomplishments last year and goals for this year. Make short-term goals for the next month as well as long-term goals over the next year. It is also a good time to do some salary research and be sure your wages are in line with the current market.
8. Get Organized. Don’t start the New Year out with a pile of paperwork from last year and a lost receipt you still can’t find from six month ago. Organize your office, find ways to streamline your workload, and create a space that is conducive to productivity. Although you probably don’t want to go into the office during your time off, the quiet days between Christmas and New Years are the perfect time to go in and clean out your desk space. Organize your electronic office as well, clean out your email, set up folders in Outlook, and organize your files so you can find things easily.
9. Update Everything. From your resume to your Facebook profile, update all of your information to reflect your achievements during the year and goals for the future. It is much easier to update your resume as you go rather than trying to remember five years’ worth of work history when it is time to look for a job again.
10. Have Fun: Find the balance this year between work and play. After a hard day at the office, do something relaxing, fun, and enjoyable. Work hard and then play hard.