It is that time of year, the time when people vow to lose weight, eat healthy, quit a bad habit, or improve their career. For some, this might mean finding a new job, whereas for others, they may be looking for a salary increase, greater responsibility or promotion to that coveted corner office. The problem with resolutions, however, is that they are often created and not followed through upon. The secret is making easy to accomplish, measurable goals and sticking to them throughout January and hopefully the rest of the year.
As such, a recent webinar on 8 Things You Can Do in 1 Minute (or Less) to Improve Your Career sparked my interest. If one’s resolution only took 1 minute per day, would the success rate increase? It seems like a reasonable assumption. But, what are these 8 tips?
1. Update Your LinkedIn Profile. I am a strong proponent of LinkedIn, especially for those passive job seekers who are not actively searching for jobs each day. By highlighting your accomplishments and experience, you’ll be profiling your expertise to current contacts as well as potential future employers. By updating your status or adding information, your contacts will receive notification, keeping you top of mind.
2. Open a Twitter Account. While microblogging is the future of business and the job market, I’m not convinced that one can be effective in a minute or less per day. In order to gain a following, time needs to be invested to find people to follow, share valuable information and engage in dialogue with fellow Tweeters. Twitter is a wonderful tool for professionals and job seekers alike, but remember that resolutions need to be measurable and if you are not able to put in the time, this may not be the most effective medium for you.
3. Visit Alltop.com and subscribe to a blog. For those active in the blogging community, or who want to dip their toe in the water, Alltop.com is a web aggregator, sorted by subject matter and popularity. You can find blogs to subscribe to, and as suggested in the webinar, find content to share with your social network. I thought this was an interesting suggestion, although I find that there is no lack of web content to share. Most newspapers and magazines have an online presence and many are starting to incorporate more multimedia content for use in social media. While Alltop is a great tool for those interested in blogs, it is just one option in sourcing online content.
4. Read LinkedIn content about people in your network. Great suggestion. It is important to stay current about others’ professional interests and status, whether it is to engage in online dialogue, ask for professional advice, or help facilitate an interaction between two people in your network. Being in the know and helping others will also strengthen your reputation and value in the business community.
5. Send a compliment. This point suggests that people should send a note of appreciation to individuals in their network. While not a bad suggestion, it can easily be construed as insincere or even patronizing if not done correctly. There is more value in dialogue exchange, content sharing and post commentary. Instead of just sending a compliment, actively engage the individual and share your thoughts and opinions at the same time.
6. Post a comment. As above, posting well thought out comments on others’ LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or blog accounts demonstrates that you are actively listening to what they are saying and are providing your own insight and perspectives. In addition to strengthening the relationship with your connections, you’ll present yourself as a subject matter expert.
7. Set up a Google Alert. Again, another great suggestion. While it can often be fruitless to set up a Google Alert on yourself — especially if you have a common name — it is a valuable suggestion if you are researching a company or industry. In addition to available company and stock information, Google Alerts generally picks up any favourable (or not so favourable) commentary about companies on blogs and websites. Another suggestion is performing a key word or company search on Twitter and see what is being said in the microblogging community.
8. Find, Friend and/or Follow Someone New. One’s social network can become stale if it isn’t regularly tended to and expanded. By finding new people to follow, you’ll further enhance your community exposure and possibly connect with someone who can help advance your career.
Advancing one’s career should not be a one off activity between periods of employment. It is an activity that should be conducted 365 days a year. While each new connection or status update may seem insignificant, when amassed over a period of time, each drop will eventually overflow the bucket. Making small, easy-to-accomplish resolutions will help ensure that you stay on track and eventually form a (good) habit over time.
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