It’s that time of year to think about a fresh start and resolving to make changes. And while the world may seem pretty unpredictable right now, that’s no reason to avoid making plans.
Setting goals for your career can help ensure you don’t get too bogged down in the day-to-day upheavals and stay focused on the things that matter to you.
And there’s some evidence that it works: people who made career resolutions for 2021 are more optimistic that their personal financial situation will improve next year, according to a survey by Fidelity Investments.
To help you draw up your own resolutions, we gathered some recommendations from careers experts.
Meet more people
Contacts are key to discovering new opportunities in your career. And while we’ve all been a bit restricted in our socialising, one great resolution could be to make the most of social opportunities to grow your professional network.
Tina Campbell, who coaches entrepreneurs, suggests joining a networking organisation, picking a few major events in the calendar to meet key contacts and focusing on follow-up to stay in touch meaningfully throughout the year.
Find a mentor
Studies suggest that about two out of five young workers would like to have a mentor, but only 3% do, says LinkedIn careers expert Darain Faraz. So finding one for yourself could give you the edge in your career.
“Mentors can give you an unbiased, experienced view of your position and industry and will be able to give you sound advice on your career, whether that’s your trajectory or a specific piece of work – or even finding a new role,” Faraz says. You can find one at your company, in your professional network, or even with online services.
Whether you’re looking to deepen your expertise or broaden your knowledge as an all-rounder, committing a bit of extra time to reading more widely will pay dividends in your career. Subscribe to industry trade publications, follow experts on social media, browse for the latest business books or get immersed in the timeless insights of the classics.
“Do not become stale. Stay curious and improve yourself. Knowing more about your business is always better,” writes Frances Bridges for Forbes Magazine.
Learn something new
Career coach Lea McLeod suggests two possible approaches to learning in the new year: pick up an in-demand tech skill, or follow your curiosity and learn something without any thought for its practical application.
She suggests the latter can pay off in surprising ways, as when Apple founder Steve Jobs learned calligraphy at college, which ended up profoundly influencing his sense of design. “Forget about the practicality part of it and have fun. You never know where it might take you,” McLeod says.
Update your CV and polish your online profiles
Take some time every six months to update your CV even if you’re not looking for a new job, says career coach Lori Bumgarner. And what better time to start than the new year?
It means whenever you’re networking, your new LinkedIn contacts will get an up-to-date account of where you are in your career and your achievements. And with a bit of luck, opportunities might flow your way.