Everyone should have career goals but not everyone formulates an effective plan (if any plan at all). The New Year is a good time to reflect on your career goals and plan for the future. After all, the only person responsible for your success is you. If you wait until an annual review or when you suddenly need a new job to take stock of your accomplishments, polish up a skill set, or make networking connections, you put avoidable pressure on yourself and make it that much harder. Working on your career and yourself throughout the year is being a good steward of your success and will pay off in the end.
Here is a comprehensive list of ways to kick start your career today and throughout the year.
- Update your resume – This should be done at least once per year. Here is a post I’ve written on accomplishment based resumes to get you started. http://bit.ly/1Qq31TR
- Update your LinkedIn Profile – A stale or unfinished profile is a dead profile. Read more on why you should update and/or finish your profile http://bit.ly/1NL8bVT.
- Update your internal company profile (most people forget this) – Companies often look internally before they post externally. If your profile is unfinished or blank you could miss an opportunity.
- Learn a new skill set/take a class (skill sets renew every 5 years) – www.Lynda.com is a great way to learn a new skill at a low cost. The bonus is you can add finished courses it to your LinkedIn profile.
- Finish your degree, certification, and/or training – you are worth the investment, your future success depends on it.
- Set personal career goals – “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin
- Read and finish a book related to your career or skill set – Knowledge is power. The more you know the stronger your position among your competition.
- Write a book – sharing is caring. Great ideas should be recorded for posterity. What better way to establish yourself as a thought leader than to write a book? Here is an easy way to get started http://goinswriter.com/tips-writing-book/.
- Take a vacation (without kids) – Vacations reduce stress and offer a time of revitalization.
- Volunteer – According to Psychology today, Volunteering in your current career industry—or an area you’d like to transition into—is an especially effective way to leverage social connections for career gain.
- Do someone a five minute favor each day – paying it forward brings good Karma and builds character. Learn more about the art of the five minute favor here: http://bit.ly/1Qq3Bkq
- Find a career mentor – surround yourself with successful people.
- Be a career mentor – When you share your knowledge with someone with less experience, you can change the world for them.
- Stop procrastinating today – your future self will thank you this time next year.
- Implement your plans start to finish – your future self will thank you this time next year.
- Keep your word – A kept word creates integrity, reliability, respect, and trust. People often do business with whom they trust.
- Find an accountability partner – This person will keep you honest and hold you accountable for achieving your goals (or kick you in the rear if you need it). They can also be your biggest cheerleader.
- Be an accountability partner – Being a career big brother/sister to someone with less experience than you is a great way to pass on the knowledge.
- Save money for retirement now (IRA, Annuity, 401K, etc) – Social Security will not be enough.
- Expand your network on and offline – Facebook friends don’t count. Start with LinkedIn.
- Listen more, talk less
- Under promise, over deliver
- Send thank you notes or email
- Invest in one good high quality suit – dress for the position you seek. Here’s my Pinterest page for inspiration http://bit.ly/1Qq3ZQ1
- Invest in one good high quality pair of shoes only for interviews and business – nothing kills a great outfit faster than a run down or low quality shoe.
- Create a budget and stick to it – living outside of your means can kill your future dreams.
- Create an online profile – your personal brand is your message when you can’t speak. Take control of the message by driving people to your personal profile. Start with a profile here : http://about.me
- Start a blog – A blog is a great way to establish thought leadership and can be a precursor to a book.
- Create personal business cards – when personal networking, your employer’s card may not always be appropriate to give out to personal connections. Great cards start here: www.moo.com
- Have a plan B – be prepared in case of emergency.
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Holly Bunn is a career coach, resume writer, LinkedIn profile writer, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. She is sought out as a subject matter expert on resumes, LinkedIn, job search, and career management. Holly has delivered job search workshops and written resumes for hundreds of job seekers who have secured interviews and landed jobs. Her clients experience success almost immediately after applying her winning techniques. For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.