The guide to tying up professional loose ends before the new year

With Thanksgiving on our heels as 2017 quickly comes to a close, you might spend some time over the holidays thinking about not only what you’re thankful for in work and life, but also what else you want to do for your career by the end of the year.

Consider this a professional to-do list of sorts.

Get back in touch with your network

Reconnect with your professional connections.

Fill them in on how you’re doing at work, and if your schedule allows, offer to help them with an upcoming project they tell you about when you reopen a dialogue.

Get feedback from your manager ahead of Q1

The classic performance review can be stressful, but take a minute to isolate your emotions from the process and promise that whatever constructive criticism your manager gives you, 2018 is an huge opportunity to to take his or her tips to heart.

If things don’t work like this at your company — meaning, you don’t have annual performance assessments — see if you can get some time on your supervisor’s calendar to talk about how you’re faring anyway.

Wouldn’t it be great to go into the first quarter of the new year with total clarity about where you stand, and what it will take to reach your goals at work?

If you don’t love your job, consider this

Bernard Marr, author, keynote speaker, and data expert, writes about the questions you should respond to before the year is over in a LinkedIn post.

One of them is, “what can you do to improve your job satisfaction? Maybe it’s a case of asking for more of the types of projects you like best, or delegating more, or improving your skills in some area. Could you improve your work/life balance in any way? Create stronger boundaries around your work responsibilities so that they don’t bleed into your life? What would give you more satisfaction?”

Whether or not you like your career or not, use the end of the year as a time for reflection on your life as a whole.

Go on an informational interview or two

You’ve been checking out your dream company with fascinating job openings for months. First you have to get to know people there.

After reading up about the industry and its leaders, plus putting LinkedIn to good use, you finally score an “in.” See if someone at the company will grant you an informational interview so you can see if both the company and job posting could be right for you.

Remember that even if you meet and nothing pans out now, that doesn’t mean you and your connection can’t help each other professionally at some point down the line if you stay in touch.

Make your goals list for 2018

Sit down and come up with a list of things you’d like in your career next year. Write down the names of people who might be able to point you in the right direction, and make a point to connect with them in the coming months.

Whether you want to build your personal brand or start your own business, this is one way to get the ball rolling ahead of the new year.