Career Advice, Watercooler

Five Top New Year Career Resolutions

With a sluggish economy, it is easy to become complacent about advancing your career or making a job change even if when you are unhappy in your current role. Maybe you think there are no opportunities, or you believe it is too risky to make a move; so why not just stay put and do nothing?

Doing nothing to further your career can cost you! Smart executives always position themselves for the next big move to ensure future success, especially in a down economy.

The massive layoffs of 2008 and 2009 were a devastating blow; but the fact remains that roughly 90% of those who want to work in the US are working. The job market is still filled with bright executives who are climbing the corporate ladder; and if you don’t get yourself up on a rung, you could be left at the bottom when the downturn ends.

Here are a few things you can do to position yourself for career success in the New Year and beyond.

  1. Update Your Résumé: If you haven’t done so in a while, now is a good time to dust off your old résumé and do an update. Consider your successes since your last revision and quantify them using the SAR method – Situation, Action, Result. Be prepared!
  2. Focus on Your Personal Brand: How you are perceived is critical to your career success. Personal branding is a way of creating demand for YOU. By positioning yourself as a sought after resource and establishing yourself as someone who can deliver consistently, you can gain recognition that will lead to long-term career advancement.
  3. Expand Your Network: Assess your current network and identify what is working and what is not. This will help you understand where you should spend your energy. If you belong to an organization that isn’t yielding good results, consider dropping them and finding other more productive avenues for making connections. If you have been lax regarding participation in a group that you know is beneficial, step it up a notch!
  4. Take Care of You: Physical appearance matters in the workplace when it comes to getting ahead. It is not fair, but it is true! You do not have to be a movie star, but if you have put on a few holiday pounds, take action now before things get further out of hand. Be sure your professional presentation is polished and that you give proper attention to your hair, nails, teeth, and general hygiene.
  5. Communicate Better: If you are planning to interview for a job this year, good communication skills are essential. Focus on answering interview questions succinctly. It takes preparation and practice to get your message down to a few short, but concise sentences. Any career coach will tell you that learning to express yourself properly during an interview is vital to career success.

While no one has a crystal ball, there are quite a few economic optimists who predict this year will show at least some signs of improvement. Regardless of new job growth, there will still be plenty of career transition as people shift from one firm to another. Being prepared for the next steps in your career is a smart New Year’s resolution that will put you ahead of the curve and keep you on track with your long term aspirations.