It’s the new year and you’re feeling motivated and energised. The break away from work enabled you to take stock of your working life, re-assess your goals, and start thinking about where you want your career to go.
But how do you make all of this happen? The following suggestions are sure to get you on your way.
It may sound cliché, but if you head into the new year expecting it to be successful, then it is more likely to be. While you can’t foresee exactly what the year holds for you, having an attitude of success means that you will attract success to you. You will see training courses as a path to increased work output, rather than something to fill your diary. You will view meetings as a way to forge ahead, instead of something that has to be endured. Go into the year with a positive outlook, and you are more likely to have a positive year.
2. Set some goals
Setting goals for your work-year not only increases your enthusiasm and engagement in your job, but it can also be highly rewarding. Often goals are only set as part of the performance review process — many of them often set by the employer! But what if you set some goals of your own? Perhaps you are aiming to reach certain sales targets? Maybe you want to increase your reach on social media? It may even be something as simple as returning all emails within a 24-hour period, or greeting ALL clients with a welcoming smile. Whatever your goals may be, focusing on achieving them will give you a renewed focus at work.
3. Learn something new
What skills do you need to learn to take your career to the next level? Perhaps you would like to study management, or maybe learn how to be more productive. Investigate whether a training course, short-course or even longer-term study will benefit your career path. If your chosen course is relevant to your job, your employer may even pay for your course as part of their commitment to your professional development. However, it’s worth remembering that courses and further study aren’t the only way to develop new skills. There are probably people in your workplace who are experts in a particular area, so why not ask them for some tips, or help. Who knows, they may even offer to mentor you.
4. Move out of your comfort zone
If your job has become a little mundane, perhaps you need to liven it up by moving out of your comfort zone. This could mean many things — giving your opinion at a staff meeting instead of staying silent, offering to do a presentation, volunteering to co-ordinate your workplace’s social club or accepting an invitation to be a committee member. Whatever new opportunities present themselves to you this year, make a commitment to yourself to make the most of them, rather than shying away and staying in your comfort zone.
5. Grow your professional network
Networking is one of the most valuable things you can do. A contact made today may be the key to the ideal job in the future. While networking can be seen as ‘work’, the pay-offs down the track can be considerable —whether it be a job referral, a tip about an upcoming job, or even an offer of a better position. While networking can be daunting, particularly if you are naturally shy, it’s worth getting this skill under your belt. Some ideas on how to begin include:
- Join professional associations and attending meetings
- Volunteer in your local community
- Attend work-related events, including conferences
- Get to know your work colleagues.
If networking is new to you, set a goal to talk to at least one new person each day. Once this becomes a habit, you’ll soon be building a network of useful contacts.
6. Update your details
The new year is the perfect time to update your resume and your Linkedin profile. While you may not be actively looking for a new job (yet), it’s always a good idea to have your details up-to-date in case you happen to come across the job opportunity of your dreams. Don’t forget that employers sometimes look at Linkedin profiles, so it pays to get that up-to-date as well. You never know what opportunities may present themselves, so it’s best to be prepared.
7. Improve your work-life balance
Believe it or not, improving your work-life balance will pay dividends in your career. Living a more balanced life — spending time away from your job to do other things — has been shown to decrease stress in the workplace. It has also been shown to increase creativity and productivity, meaning your employer will look upon you more favourably than someone who is unhappy because they spend most of their at work. So this year, make it a priority to improve our work-life balance.
By focusing on a few key things in your job, you can position yourself for career success and increased happiness in the workplace. So here’s to a successful, happy 2016!