Have you made your New Year’s career resolutions?
Career planning goals contribute to your success. But, when many people think of New Year’s resolutions, they concentrate on personal goals such as losing weight or joining a gym. However, it’s also critical to make setting career planning goals a priority. Activities that support on-the-job fulfillment can contribute to reduced stress, greater balance between work and family demands, and increased income.
Target your career planning goals
The start of the New Year is the ideal time to reassess your professional aspirations and make resolutions that can move you closer to achieving them. For example, if you want to become a manager in five years, you might plan on pursuing increased responsibilities in your current position or finding a mentor to provide guidance.
In addition to targeted goals, look at broader objectives that might improve your marketability and increase your value to your employer. Ask yourself: What are my weaknesses and how can I improve?
Useful career planning goals for 2007
Building knowledge is an important career resolution for any professional. Education shouldn’t end as soon as you’ve earned a diploma or degree; you need to make a lifelong commitment to learning. Explore ways to enhance your skills through certification programs, training classes, seminars and online courses. Also set aside time to read professional journals to stay on top of the latest trends.
Devoting more time to networking activities is another valuable resolution. Your connections can help you get a foot in the door on job opportunities and can provide career advice. In addition to seeking ways to meet new people, make an active effort to stay in touch with those already within your circle of contacts. You’ll ensure you have a support system in place should you face any professional setbacks in the future.
Adopting more productive work habits is also a useful goal for 2007. How effectively you manage your time at the office can play an important role in your career success and satisfaction. Efficiency can help you stand out as an employee and reduce work stress. As part of your improvement plan, consider logging what you do during a typical week so you can evaluate whether you’re focusing on the appropriate priorities. Also look for ways to maximize your work hours. For instance, you might limit the time you spend on e-mails so you can devote more of your day to top initiatives.
Plan for success
Once you’ve identified your personal career resolutions, you should devise a strategy for achieving them. Many people begin the new year focused on their priorities only to abandon them a month or two later when their enthusiasm wanes. Following are some tips that can help you stay motivated and complete your objectives successfully:
• Be realistic.
If you want to switch to another profession, for example, make sure you’ve researched your options carefully and have the necessary qualifications to make such a move. Otherwise, you may set yourself up for failure. While it’s alright to aim high with your goals, be sure you’re allowing yourself adequate time and preparation.
• Create a plan.
It’s easy to become discouraged by resolutions that appear overly ambitious. Instead, outline your objectives and plan what you will do on a regular basis to achieve them. Break down complex goals into specific action items. For instance, if you want to land a new job, key steps might include sending out five targeted resumes each day, attending one networking activity each week and lining up two informational interviews each month.
If you’ve identified objectives within your current company, share those with your supervisor. He or she can help you create a career map defining the steps needed to achieve your resolutions. A formal evaluation of your values, working style, and strengths and weaknesses can better determine if you’re on the right track. Your boss can also point you to resources that might support your goals, such as special training programs or seminars.
• Keep resolutions visible.
If they’re out of sight, they’re likely to be out of mind as well. So be sure to write down your priorities and place the list in a frequently used area of your workspace so you’ll be reminded of them daily.
• Be flexible.
Recognize that almost everyone who has achieved career success has dealt with failures or setbacks along the way. When faced with challenging situations, try not to dwell on the negative. Look for ways to turn your disappointments into learning experiences and modify your resolutions accordingly.
• Develop a support system.
Let friends and colleagues know of your resolutions so they can help you stay motivated and focused on your efforts. The more encouragement you have from others, the greater your chances of success.
• Acknowledge your hard work.
Pat yourself on the back as you accomplish milestones on the way to achieving your ultimate career objectives. If your primary goal is a promotion, for example, congratulate yourself for mastering a new skill critical for advancement.
Developing a list of annual career resolutions should be a priority for all workers. At the start of each new year, consider your goals and outline the steps required to achieve them. Then create a motivational strategy to stay on track. With the right attitude, planning and persistence, you’ll position yourself for professional success.
Robert Half International was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its financial staffing divisions include Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Accountemps and Robert Half Management Resources, for full-time, temporary and senior-level project professionals, respectively. The company has more than 350 offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at www.rhi.com.
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- Finding professional and personal balance
- Coping with burnout