Many New Year's resolution-setters have long since forgotten theirs as February winds down. But if your resolutions included career development, as well as the usual plans to lose weight, exercise and be happier, take stock of where you are in the process.
You owe it to yourself (and your family) to continuously improve in your profession and take on more challenges. Stay committed to making 2015 the year you take your career to the next level by setting goals around advancing your career and seeing them through.
Don’t let your career grow stagnant. Here are three resolutions every job seeker should commit to.
1. Grow your skill set.
A great way to avoid career complacency is to challenge yourself to improve your skills. Look at your position, and decide what you could be doing better. This is vital to maintaining your post and making the next career leap, whether it’s in middle management or executive leadership.
As the pace of technology escalates, more positions require job seekers to be fluent in tech. To become more marketable, enroll in a software course or beef up your knowledge of industry trends.
2. Test the waters
There’s nothing wrong with sending out a few confidential résumés and cover letters to see what the market thinks of your personal brand and identify new opportunities.
The perfect career could be waiting for you, but you’ll never know until you start exploring what’s out there with an open mind. I’ve seen friends get tunnel vision so severely that they’ve actually turned down better job offers because they weren’t prepared to make the move.
3. Speak up more
Sometimes we become afraid of sharing our opinions because we don’t want to rock the boat, but to truly grow, you have to challenge the status quo.
In the debate over whether to be known as a leader or a follower at work, many of us lean toward leadership. But to get there, you have to speak up more. People below and above you will respect your opinion if it’s well-thought-out and delivered in an amicable way.
Staying Accountable to Your Goals
Now that you’ve made a few career resolutions, devise a plan to make them stick. Start by breaking down your career resolutions by month and writing them in a planner or a mobile calendar. Set reminders on your phone or explore mobile apps that will keep your goals top of mind once the enthusiasm of New Year’s has worn off.
Next, let others know about your career resolutions so they can hold you accountable and offer support. Track your progress by setting short-term goals and maintaining an active checklist. Notching small accomplishments will help you stay motivated.
I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in 2014, and setting career goals allowed me to justify every decision I made and direction I took. To keep the momentum going, I’m making a commitment to be more authentic and speak the truth without letting fear or others’ opinions dissuade me from following my professional goals.
Career resolutions will be especially important this year as the economy starts to bounce back. With monthly job gains expected to top 250,000, more positions will inevitably be created, meaning the competition will also stiffen. By remaining motivated and committed to your resolutions for the entire year, you’ll be ready to seize new opportunities for professional growth and advancement.