New Year, New Career: Make Your Resolution a Reality

Take these first steps to jump start your career.

Happy New Year, everyone! If you’ve been reading my column over the past five weeks, you know I’ve been counting down to the New Year with tips to get your job-search strategy in place.

Whether you’ve currently unemployed or you’re considering a career change, the New Year is a chance for a fresh start. Now’s the time to take a hard look at your career and decide where you want to go next.

If you ran into a roadblock that affected your career last year, remember the lessons learned and give yourself permission to move on. Still bitter about the lay-offs or being passed over for that promotion? Let go of the anger and reinvest that energy into achieving your goals next year. Here’s how you can start making your New Year’s resolution a reality.

I will love my career again

Has your job lost its luster? Do you wake up in the morning dreading to go into the office? You’re not alone. A recent survey from Right Management found that 86 percent of professionals plan to search for a new job in the New Year.

But before you jump ship, ask yourself why you’re unhappy in your current gig. Some reasons – like your work-life balance or your level of responsibility – could be solved with a good conversation with your boss. Others – like the company culture or the type of work you do – may require you to switch companies or consider a bigger career change. Dedicate the first few weeks of this year to exploring the root of the problem before making any big changes.

I will take my career to the next level

Whether you’re vying for a promotion at your current company or considering your prospects at a competitor, take some time to record all your accomplishments and contributions over the past year.

If you have an annual review coming up, ask your manager what skills are needed to get you to the next level. Create a development plan with your manager to help you take on additional responsibilities or build certain skill sets that are holding you back. Also, do a little reconnaissance on sites like Ladders to see if the competition is hiring. Their job descriptions will help you pinpoint other skills or experience you may need to gain at the office or through a course to secure that promotion.

I will find a career I love

As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, not everyone is blessed with securing their dream job from the start of their careers. And for some, that dream job is still a question mark.  If you’re in that boat, today’s the day you start figuring it out.

Consider what you’ve loved and hated about each role you’ve held in your career. Think back to your childhood dreams – what did you want to be when you grew up? It may be a little too late in life to become a prima ballerina, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look for a job within the performing arts industry that leverages your key strengths.

Consider opportunities that play up your skills. Don’t know where to start? Look for former colleagues who held a similar role to you and made a transition.  What companies and industries have found value in their experience?

In the end

Regardless of your resolution, the key takeaway is to do the legwork before jumping into action. When you take the time to think through your goals, you make it a lot easier to set the right strategy. Remember that your job goals are the foundation for your job-search strategy. All your job-search efforts – from how you position your resume and online presence to how you go about finding job leads – will depend upon the goals you choose.