With the New Year around the corner, you are all probably making your resolutions to get fit or stop biting your fingernails. The resolutions many of us forget to make are those that will help us improve our careers. It’s never a bad time to take your career in a better direction, but the beginning of a new year is definitely a good place to start if you are looking for inspiration.
Here are four resolutions you can make to help take your career to the next level in 2014:
1. Know what skills are in demand
Take a look at the projections for current and upcoming needs in your industry on websites such as CareerBuilder and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to see where you could catch up. Use these projections to adapt your career plan. As an employee, the key to excelling at your job is determining what your next step is. Developing a good career path is important and you can pick up new skills to bring to your current position or if you are unemployed, to add to your resume. This resolution is one you can make for yourself every year. Challenge yourself to add a new bullet to the Skills or Education section of your resume and you will see your career path grow before your eyes!
2. Resolutions should include networking
Networking comes easily to some, whereas others need to make more of an effort. Thankfully, there are ways that everyone can network even if face-to-face networking makes you uncomfortable. You can use sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to keep in touch and re-connect with past colleagues, friends and family. If you prefer networking in person, set up networking meetings or track down some events in your city through LinkedIn groups. Try to connect with like-minded people through these groups or online discussion boards. Being around professional associations and communities are where you can make valuable connections that could help enhance your career. You could find a new job opportunity or further your knowledge which will add value in your current position.
3. Update your resume
This resolution may seem like a given, but keeping your resume up to date really is essential to a successful career path. If an opportunity were to present itself, you need to be ready to quickly follow through. Keeping your resume current will be easier while all the information is fresh in your mind. In addition, make sure everything else is up to date including your portfolio, writing samples, and your LinkedIn bio. Also, check in with references to make sure they are still willing to be a reference and that you have their correct contact info.
4. Set clear goals for yourself
Clear goals are a good way to track your accomplishments throughout the year, so choose a couple big goals to focus on in 2014. Maybe it’s a promotion, a raise, or a complete career change. Regardless of what your goals are, set them at the beginning of the year so you can know where you want to be by the end of it. Most importantly, don’t forget to follow through on those goals. Write them out, create an action plan to achieve them and don’t let them slip to the back of your mind. If you have to write them out and hang them on the wall so you see them every day, do it! You’ll be more likely to stick to them and by the end of the year, you’ll be ready for a completely new set of goals.