Many of us start off the New Year with personal resolutions but what about resolutions that will help support our careers? Here is a list of 12 things you can begin doing immediately that will help set your career off in the right direction:
- Keep Your Resume Updated: You never know when that next opportunity might present itself – both externally and internally. You therefore, want to be prepared and ready to act should an opportunity arise. Whenever you are working on a new project or taking on a new challenge, make note of it on your resume. It makes it easier than trying to look back and remember what you did several months ago.
- Network and Schmooze: One cannot schmooze enough. In my opinion, there is only one time that is the wrong time to schmooze and network and that’s when your sole purpose is because you want something. If you make it a general practice to connect with people, you will over time build a strong network with which you can build trust and provide support.
- Set a Goal: Where do you want to take your career? What is a goal you would like to achieve this year? Are you aiming for a promotion? By having a goal, you have something to work towards. As Tony Robbins says: “Goals are like magnets. They’ll attract the things that make them come true.” Take charge of your career but setting a target and going after it.
- Do Your Research: Once you have a goal in mind, do your research to find out what it will take to achieve it. Speak to people who are already in a similar role. Look at their profiles on LinkedIn and see what their background looks like. What skills do they have? Where have they previously worked? Perhaps ask your manager what it would take to be considered for such a role.
- Join Associations: Become a member of any associations related to your function or industry. Surround yourself with people of your profession. This keeps you well-informed of new trends that might be happening within your functional area and/or your industry. Knowledge is power and the more you know about your industry or function, the better position you will be in when an opportunity presents itself to show off this knowledge.
- Acquire a Skill: Learning is the key to success. The more skills one has the better. By taking on new assignments and learning new things, you are adding to your skill set. The more skills we have, the more choices we have.
- Become a SME: By staying up-to-date with your area of expertise, and demonstrating to people you know what you are doing, people will begin to see you as a subject matter expert in that area. This will help when you are trying to position yourself for your next move.
- Dress for Success: It sounds a bit cliché but it’s still very true. We’re told not to judge a book by its cover because you don’t know what’s in it until you read it, but people still do. If the cover isn’t appealing, you might decide not to even pick up the book. The same applies to how one chooses to dress. If you choose not to put any effort into your appearance, why would one think you would put effort into anything else? Ask yourself if you would hire yourself based upon how you generally look.
- Pull Yourself Together: Similar to above, an organized person gives the appearance that they are a well put together person. People will take them more seriously and consider them more seriously for opportunities. By demonstrating to others you have your ‘act’ together, people will trust you with more responsibilities.
- Say “Yes!”: One of the greatest strengths an employee can have is being open to possibilities and being part of the solution. By saying “yes” to requests and new assignments, people begin to see you as someone they can go to and rely on to get things done. They will be much more receptive of approaching you with new ideas and challenges than they would with someone who is constantly saying “no.”
- Get Healthy: It’s hard to be taken seriously if you aren’t taking your own health seriously. Employees who are committed to their health suggest overall commitment, dedication, and determination. Great qualities that many managers would want and look for within their chosen candidates.
- Listen and Learn from Others: Right now, who is doing the kind of work you want to be doing? What do they do? How do they conduct themselves? What makes them unique? What are they doing that you could start doing? By speaking with others, observing their behaviours and listening to what they have to say, we can learn a lot and begin to put similar behaviours into action for ourselves.
While this list isn’t a guarantee towards a promotion, by doing these things, you are moving your career in the right direction.
Catherine Thorburn is a senior consultant and executive coach with Feldman Daxon Partners.
- On January 16, 2018