Whether you’re currently looking for a job or not, the beginning of the year is a good time to assess your career. Perhaps you could improve your job search techniques, or take a step back in your current job and look at how you can progress your career. It’s never too late to improve your prospects, so here are six simple ‘resolutions’ (that won’t feel like a chore) you can take note of.
It’s a good idea to learn as much as possible in your job so you continue to have stimulating challenges. Take five minutes to have a look at upcoming training courses in the year or conferences you can attend. Perhaps your employer offers in-house courses that you haven’t considered before. Take a look at your role and see where you can expand it with new knowledge.
If you’re job seeking: Get your hands on some new skills to progress your job search further. Try learning a new language (there are some great apps out there such as Duolingo where you learn just five minutes a day, making it a very realistic task). If there’s some latest software that would be helpful on your CV, buy it and learn it. It’s never a bad thing to have new skills on your CV, no matter what stage of your job search you’re at.
Look for a step up
Are there any opportunities for progression where you currently work? Search these out and consider the path to progression. Sometimes the path may take you a little longer, but the sooner you start the sooner your career will advance! Have a look at new projects your company may be launching and see how you can get involved. It’ll give you skills and knowledge for a long term progression.
If you’re job seeking: If there is no ‘next level’ or path to progress where you currently are and there really should be then you should start scouting out new opportunities elsewhere. When you’re looking for new opportunities try and seek out clues to the progression of the role. Alternatively (and most obviously) apply for progress and get that promotion in the form of a new job!
Stick to it
Sometimes the pathway to career advancement can be longer, more difficult or more tedious. Proving yourself takes time no matter what role you’re in. As long as you have some personal career targets (even if they’re small steps) and you stick to them, you can only do your career some good. Try not to get side-lined by your day to day duties – keep your focus on the bigger, long term picture.
If you’re job seeking: If you don’t find yourself getting anywhere with your job search then you either need to be more patient or change your job seeking strategy altogether. Have you stopped tailoring your CV for each individual role you’re applying to, or have you given up on the idea of a personalised cover letter to the prospective employer? Job seeking takes a lot of patience and determination, but don’t let it skew your methods. Stick to it and you’ll eventually get what you want. If you recently got turned down for a job you really wanted, this can make you want to give up. However – rejection isn’t always a bad thing. Read more here.
Expand your understanding
It can be very useful to understand and learn what others do in your company. If you work in a large company sometimes it feels unnecessary to take time learning what other departments do. However, in the long term you could find yourself landing new opportunities you never knew existed just by taking some time to understand the jobs of a few others who you don’t work closely with normally. It’s a great networking tactic too.
If you’re job seeking: Have a look at what the prospective company’s competition is and do some research. When it comes to an interview, you’ll really get to show off your knowledge of the industry you’re applying to and what the direct competition’s strategy is. This type of knowledge can be invaluable to the employer and also give you the edge on your own competition.
In can be easy to fall into a non-communication trap when you’ve been in your job for a while. After all, you know how things are run and you’re past the point of having to tell everything to those around you all of the time. You get used to doing what you need to do and you may not always think about the way you communicate. Perhaps you should start having catch ups with certain departments or you could be getting more involved in projects that are relevant to you. Communication can be difficult, so it’s always good to try and improve it.
If you’re job seeking: Have you got in contact with the last company you applied to asking about the progress of your application? Simply applying and not following up after the application closing date could put you at a disadvantage from a more keen competition. Another communication necessity when you’re job seeking is to work on your interview skills as much as possible. Read your CV and cover letters out loud to yourself so you’re used to talking about your job or practice some nerve-calming techniques to make sure you’re on your top game during an interview.
Improve your work/life balance
Resolutions don’t always need to be a chore. This is why people don’t stick to them – because they’re usually resolutions you don’t want to do but feel you have to. Making more time for recreation outside of work can do wonders for your wellbeing. Turn off your work phone after you leave for the day and avoid checking work emails when you’re at home. Look into flexible working with your current employer or read my article here for more tips.
If you’re job seeking: So many people spend a long time hunting for jobs outside of work hours that it can end up seriously eating into your ‘non-work’ time. By all means make time to job hunt before or after work but don’t make it your life’s work when you’ve finished your current job for the day. Job seeking takes patience and when you’ve been doing it for hours on end it can end up becoming a very frustrating task. Little and often could be the trick if you’re not getting anywhere with your job hunt but you’re spending a lot of time on it. You could be missing a few tricks.
These six ‘resolutions’ don’t have to feel like you’re turning over a new leaf. Room for improvement in your career should always be there – and if you’re looking to progress your job, these might be useful. If you’re job seeking you can fine tune a couple of your existing techniques to make the search easier and more effective. Overall, resolutions are designed to make us happier. Being content at work is a huge issue considering how long we spend working throughout our lives, so making sure you take your wellbeing into account definitely should be considered. Good luck with your resolutions; you’ll be advancing in your career in no time!