We are all familiar with that most ubiquitous of American holiday traditions—the “New Year’s Resolution”. Some 45% of Americans usually make resolutions. Just 8% of them, stats show, are successful in keeping them. Most New Year’s resolutions address the personal life, and perennial favorites include weight loss, more exercise, healthier living, etc. Why else do we see a huge advertising campaign in January for Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and other weight and fitness firms? Ask any manager of a health club (formerly known as gyms) and they will tell you that subscriptions skyrocket in January.
Health and fitness are laudable goals. But why not make some New Year’s resolutions for 2013 that center around your career? For most of us, our jobs consume the larger portion of our weekdays. Job satisfaction surely plays a role in your health and that of your family. So this year, why not vow to “tune up” your career, with the goal of having a career that leaves you stimulated and challenged? Here’s some great ways to begin:
- Bring your resume up to date, and make sure that it reflects the professional you that you’d like to project forward. You shouldn’t need to be looking for work before you take this step. Everyone should have a professional, updated resume. Opportunity knocks at the strangest times, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. Either study resume-writing techniques, and write a resume that you are happy with, or engage a professional resume writer to do so. If you go the professional route, make sure that your resume writer holds the Certified Professional Resume Writer designation. A good place to find one that works for you is the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC). They can be reached at http://PARWhq@aol.com or at (727) 821-2274.
- Explore pportunities in—and out—of your field of expertise. Think out of the box. If you are in a profession that could lend itself to a related line of business, why not give that some thought. A very happily and gainfully employed investment banker recently approached me for career advice. She was thinking that her in-depth knowledge of securities could qualify her for a consulting job within that industry. She was not looking for more money (although admittedly not less, either), but she thought that by bringing her expertise to bear in a slightly different way, she might just be happier in her career.E
- Know your worth in the marketplace. You may think you know—you takeoccasionally calls from recruiters, and while the subject of compensation does arise, you’re usually told “um, yes, that’s in the ballpark”….but you may be selling yourself short, as a recruiter is not likely to reveal his or her trump card till serious negotiations are on the table. Some great ways to learn more about your worth is through industry associations. Attending meetings of the Iowa City Accountants Chapter (no offense meant to Iowans) may not appeal to you, but if you get friendly with people in your industry, you build trust, and trust allows you to share real-world information. If you prefer to search online, some great sites are http://www.indeed.com/salary, or http://www.cbsalary.com/salary-calculator.aspx.
- You’re happy with your company, your coworkers, and you feel that you fit into the culture of where you work. But perhaps you feel that you could be more challenged in your role. Your career path is not clear. OK, to be fair, that’s true in positions that employers are affected by the economy and the cycle of mergers and acquisitions. But still, you feel that perhaps a few things could be improved to make your work life better. A great New Year’s resolution in this case is to spend some time, real thought time, over the holidays or soon after January 1.Make an appointment with your manager to discuss your career.Do NOT be negative; in a paraphrase of JFK’s inaugural speech in 1960, “Ask not what your company can do for you; ask what you can do for your company”.A proactive approach to taking on more work, volunteering for projects and task forces, shows that you are serious about your work and your company.These are the kinds of things that do not pay off immediately, but you are laying the groundwork for upward mobility.If your initiative does not pay off at your current company, then it will when you move on.
- These are the types of questions you should be considering for your 2013 career. By all means, lose weight if you need to, exercise more, and be healthy. Incorporate New Year’s Career Resolutions into your overall planning, and 2013 should be a happy, healthy, career-forward year for you. And congratulate yourself on being one of the eight percent!