THE end of the year is a time for introspection. Are you thinking about making a fresh start in the new year? Not so fast. The end of the year provides an opportunity to reflect on what was good or not so good at work over the past 11 months or so.
What can you do to make 2015 a year of career advancement, job enrichment and work performance satisfaction? The following ideas may provide a good starting point to craft your own career resolutions:
New year resolution ideas
An important resolution could be to network better. Each month, find a way to develop at least two new contacts. Identify one or two professional associations with which you could be involved.
Also try to find time to reconnect with existing contacts in your network, either by phone or, better yet, by getting together for lunch or coffee. If you work diligently and dedicatedly on this strategy, by the end of 2015 you would have easily met at least 24 new people and renewed as many old contacts.
Update your resumé
Never let your resumé become outdated. Allocate time every three months to update your resumé to include recent projects, new accomplishments, educational courses you have completed, technology skills you have picked up and professional affiliations you have made. Be sure to review critically your resumé at least twice a year to make sure it stays current.
Integrate work and personal life
If you can afford it, consider a part-time job or one that offers a flexible work schedule. This may result in more “me-time” and spending more time with your family.
Alternatively, consider changing jobs to work in an environment that is more accepting of your personal requirements. The key is to define what is most important to you and take steps that will help make your goals a reality.
Take control of your performance
It is up to you to keep track of your accomplishments over the entire year. To do this, spend five to 10 minutes at the end of each week or month writing down what you have worked on, what you have learnt, and how you have contributed to the success of your group, your department and your organisation. You will be prepared with plenty of examples when the time comes for your next performance review.
Find a mentor, be a mentor
A mentor can play a critical role in advancing someone’s career. Who you choose to seek out depends on what you want. A mentor inside your organisation may be able to help you navigate the unspoken relationships and informal networks that really make the organisation tick.
In contrast, a mentor outside your organisation can be a truly impartial adviser who has your best interests at heart without interference from organisational politics.
You can also share your experiences with others by volunteering to be a mentor, perhaps to junior co-workers, recent alumni of your university or polytechnic, or people looking to break into your field.
Connect with recruiters
Make contact and casually stay in touch with recruitment consultants and headhunters if you are planning a job or career switch. Should an opportunity open up for which you may be appropriate, you will be alerted and can decide if you want to make a move.
Learn and engage
Develop new work-related skills, try new hobbies, and generally stimulate your mind and heart with learning. Push yourself to try something new. It will help you to get ahead. Always be committed to growing your career.
Choose resolutions carefully
A long list of new year resolutions will set you up for failure. Think carefully about three or four things you would really like to change. Be focused in your choice of new year resolutions. Be honest with yourself and justify the reason for your choice of your new year resolutions. Ask yourself whether each one of them will improve your career.
Some say new year resolutions are a waste of time as they are nothing more than a long list of “shoulds” we never take seriously anyway. Make this year different. Plan your new year resolutions carefully and avoid the post-new year letdown.
Article by Kamal Kant, a part-time lecturer in careers and employment relations at Nanyang Technological University and SIM Global Education. He conducts career workshops and career coaches in his spare time.