For many, the start of a new year means making New Year’s resolutions. In 2024, why not resolve to take some steps to develop your career?
Whether you are actively seeking new employment or are content in your current work situation, here are 7 steps you can take to help propel your career to the next level.
1) Optimize your “office.”
This is a great place to start! Physical clutter can contribute to mental clutter, which can hinder you from doing your best work. Whether you are working at a desk or the kitchen table, get rid of unnecessary items and organize the rest. This also applies to digital clutter. Delete unimportant emails, files, programs, and apps that can be clogging up space and slowing down your equipment. Furthermore, make sure you have all the materials and tools you need to do your best work. One you have decluttered, your work space and your mind are more prepared for the tasks ahead!
2) Set goals.
Define what you want in your career. Start by asking yourself what your ideal work situation looks like. Next, ask what needs to happen in order for you to obtain that. From there, determine what specific (and realistic) steps you would like to take this year to work towards realizing your ideal work situation.
- Dedicate two hours every week to developing a specific skill relevant to my career goals.
- Practice answering one new interview question each week.
- Ask my boss how I can improve my work performance and if there are any opportunities to take on more responsibility.
- Spend one hour weekly searching for new job opportunities.
- Get a second opinion on my resume by January 30; complete revisions and updates by February 15.
3) Polish your resume.
Your resume should always be current, even if you are not actively job searching. You never know when your situation might change or when an opportunity might arise that you cannot let pass. Your current job, responsibilities, and skills should be included. Take time to review your past experiences to see if anything needs to be updated, reworded, or removed.
4) Clean up your social media.
Review all your social media outlets and make sure you are showcasing your best professional self. Without knowing it, you might be making a negative first impression even before meeting someone. Don’t let this happen. Help manage your professional image by maintaining a professional online presence. Not sure what to keep, delete, and make private? Check out my previous article, “Is Your Social Media Working Against Your Job Search?”
5) Fine tune your elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a clear and concise 30 second introduction to who you are, what you offer, and why this is important. It should be tailored to fit your networking goals. If you are seeking new employment, it should touch on your experience and what you could bring to the potential new position. If you are just looking to enlarge your network, it should touch on some interesting facts about yourself and why you would be a good addition to the other person’s network. A solid elevator pitch is essential in your efforts to build your network.
6) Expand your network.
When people know what you’ve done, what you are doing, and what you are capable of doing, they are more likely to think of you when an opportunity arises. Additionally, the more connections you have, the more likely you are to learn about new opportunities quickly. It is best to grow your network with people in different positions in a variety of industries and organizations.
7) Prioritize your health.
Jobs are stressful. Searching for jobs is stressful. When you are not feeling your best, you are probably not performing at your best. Be sure you are taking care of yourself mentally and physically. Find time to decompress and do something relaxing. Read a book; watch your favorite show; talk to a friend; go for a walk; give yourself a home spa day. Whatever helps you recharge your battery, is what you should make time to do. Be sure you are also eating balanced meals, drinking water, and getting enough sleep.