While it’s always a good time to take stock of your career, set goals and make plans to achieve them, the New Year does offer a clean slate. It’s the perfect opportunity to update your plans and goals for the New Year. Yes, you can even call them “career New Year’s Resolutions.”
Start by daydreaming a bit.
Before making any resolutions, plans or goals, take a few days and at least mentally move “away” from your career and work. Think about how this past year went. You also can let your mind wander and think big about your career and how it would look to you in a perfect world.
Such reflection is important: thinking about and reviewing your career experiences up to this point can help guide you as you move forward. What do you love about your work and career? What would you love to change? What new skills do you need to learn? What soft skills could you improve to help you in your career aspirations?
What’s most important to you in your career?
Once you’ve taken time for some self-reflection, it’s time to write down the things that stand out as those that are most important. For example, some people think of success as having more time for family, friends, recreation, and hobbies, while success in the minds of others means job promotions every couple of years, making $X by age X, becoming CTO somewhere within X number of years or something similarly career-oriented.
Embrace what’s important to you and be proud of it. Understand that what’s important to you today may not be so – or may be more so – in a few years (priorities and motivations change as you go through life). But for now, let you be you and move toward what excites and gets you up in the morning.
Solid places to start for setting goals or creating resolutions
Ask for more feedback
Feedback will help you improve. Aim to approach your supervisor for feedback after completing an assignment or project. You don’t need to do so frequently but do so enough so that if problems arise with the quality of your work you’ll be able to improve before a performance review. Asking for feedback also showcases your courage and willingness to hear critiques and then improve upon your weaknesses.
This includes reading for pleasure and for skills/career improvement. Subscribe to industry/professional publications. Read books about your industry and career. Read about how your industry is affected – or affects – world events. Just read more. Period.
Be prepared for meetings. Read any materials given to you before meetings. Organize papers (don’t have them stacked on your work station). Manage your calendar and time. It may take you a few hours to organize your workspace/professional life, but it will be well worth it.
Keep up with the skills and tools in your industry…and life in general
Keep up-to-date in the tools you need to do your job – and advance in your career. You’ll stand out from your colleagues (and possibly even other job candidates) when you do. In fact, if you don’t keep up, you could find yourself overlooked when it comes to promotions. Learn new hobbies, too. It’s good to stretch your mind even off the clock. It’s also possible the skills you learn for fun also can be used at work, helping you stand out even more.
Watch your progress
No matter what your life or career goals may be it’s a good idea to track them, even if you don’t set deadlines. Set small goals for each month or quarter. You could even set weekly goals, but don’t be too focused on meeting them: reaching goals should be fun, not a chore.
Monitoring your progress – and checking goals off when you do – is a great motivator to help you stretch yourself, make progress and do good work.
Speaking of New Year’s resolutions, if one of your 2020 goals is to find a new job, take a look at our current opportunities. If you don’t find one or more that interest you, reach out to our recruiters; we’re happy to speak to you about your goals and help you make this year your best!