The new year is a great time to evaluate your career, set goals for the future, and start taking steps to advance professionally. Taking a comprehensive look at your career involves a strategic approach to professional growth and development.
It’s also a good time to take care of your well-being and remember that success is a journey. Here are 5 steps for getting your new year off on the right foot:
1) Review the last year
Before you start your planning, look back at the last year and evaluate how things went. What went well? What are you proud of? What skills did you learn or develop? What challenges did you face? An important part of reflection is gathering feedback from others as well. A simple approach is to ask people for feedback on what you should start, stop, and continue. Start with those you work with directly and factor in any additional information you have from year-end reviews or other feedback channels. Once you determine how the previous year went, use that knowledge to set clear goals for the new year.
2) Envision your career goals with clarity
When it’s time to craft your short- and long-term career goals, make sure they're specific, measurable, relevant, and achievable. Are you looking for a promotion? Do you want to develop a specific skill? Are you interested in changing career paths? Clearly defining your career goals will allow you to create a better path forward. You can keep yourself accountable to these goals by writing them down and sharing them with a mentor or accountability partner.
3) Update your personal brand
Ensure that your resume and social media profiles are all up to date. Whether you’re staying in your current role or looking for something new, the new year is the perfect time for a refresh. Once you’ve made your changes, set a reminder on your calendar to look back in about 6 months to update and refine further as needed. That way, you won’t forget any additional responsibilities you've managed or achievements you’ve accomplished, and you won’t have to overhaul your professional profiles or resume every time you need them!
4) Network strategically
Strategic networking is all about quality over quantity. Focus on building meaningful connections that align with your career goals. Networking is a great way to find a mentor and establish lasting relationships. Look for opportunities to expand your network by attending conferences, participating in industry or community events, and joining online forums. A great way to make networking a habit is to put a recurring weekly reminder on your calendar to reach out, make connections, and have conversations with your network.
5) Prioritize self-care
Your well-being contributes to your professional success. Take time to establish healthy habits and a good work-life balance. Find ways to manage stress, work on time management skills, and embrace a positive mindset.
Creating a career plan for the new year is the perfect way to kick-start your professional development. Use your new year momentum to review, plan, and prepare for a successful year ahead. And don’t forget to take time to check in on your progress and celebrate your success!