It’s a new year, and for many, that means new career resolutions. This is a great time to tackle that major goal you’ve been thinking about, such as gearing up for a major job search or career change. However, if you don’t have a major goal in mind for 2015, or simply need a bit of direction in getting there, read on! We’ve compiled a list of five helpful career resolutions to make this year. Pick one, pick a combination, or strive for them all; either way, all of these are sure to help improve your career and give you a better perspective on it for the upcoming months.
Resolutions are best when made measurable and as specific as possible, such as “apply to 5 jobs per week” or “complete at least 10% more client projects per month.” As a result, keep this in mind as you review the following resolutions. You can start with these broader goals and tailor them to your specific needs from there.
- Keep track of your achievements. All too often, we end our years on a negative note by looking over what we haven’t accomplished. In order to change this habit, as well as ensure 2015 is productive, make a resolution to start keeping track of your achievements. Whether you keep an Excel file, a notebook, or a blog, dedicate a space to tallying your successes as they occur so you can look back on the year positively when 2016 is on the horizon. That way, even if you don’t meet all of your ambitious 2015 goals, you’ll still have a motivating reminder of your hard work and what you did achieve.
- Give your resume a face lift. This is a great short-term goal to begin the year with, whether you’re job searching or happily employed in a long-term position. By simply setting aside an hour to bring your resume up-to-date, you can set additional goals by identifying areas for improvement, discover your strengths and weaknesses, and begin the first resolution above by including recent achievements.
- Improve your personal brand. Since the idea behind making New Year’s resolutions is to create a “new you” for the new year, working on your personal brand is a natural choice for one of your 2015 goals. Assessing your personal brand and improving it is a vital step in furthering your career, as your brand is what others—employers, clients, network connections—identify you with. From revamping your social media presence to sending your contacts a friendly note, there are a number of ways to bolster your personal brand this New Year, which we’ve detailed in our post “Tackling the 2015 Job Market: 4 Personal Branding Improvements to Make Today.”
- Keep a running reading list (and, of course, keep up with it!). Making and sticking to a reading list of books, articles, blogs, journals, and other publications to read will ensure you stay engaged with your field and your goals. This could mean working your way through a list of books on a specific skill you want to achieve in 2015, for example, or keeping track of a number of industry-specific blogs. In addition, job seekers may want to read up on job search tactics, and any professional can benefit from a book on career improvement.
- Make yourself accountable. Every year we swear by our resolutions, and every year many of us falter. This year, make holding yourself accountable one of your resolutions! A great way to do this is to tell others about your goals—inform friends and family of them or write about them on your blog, for example. In fact, starting a blog specifically for tracking your goals for the year and measuring your success will not only help you with resolution number 1, it will also help keep you accountable. When we tell other people we plan to do something, we often feel more responsible for our success than when we keep our goals to ourselves. You’ll be more likely to work at your resolutions when you risk the possibility of having to tell someone you’ve fallen short than if it’s a quieter, more personal failure.
Whether you choose from our resolutions or make your own, remember, the easiest way to achieve them is to keep them measurable and realistic! Separate your goals into long-term and short-term categories and assess what is actually doable in the next 12 months; being honest with yourself as to what you can accomplish versus what you’d ideally like to accomplish can help avoid feeling overwhelmed and discouraged when you don’t quite measure up to your standards. See our article on making career goals for more information. Happy resolution making, and happy New Year!