Do Something – Anything – to Enhance Your Career in 2017

Posted by Patra Frame

career resolutionsMany of us start the new year with grand resolve. Few sustain our resolutions beyond January. If you want to invest in your largest financial asset, you will put your career high on your resolutions list. And you really will work to sustain your career resolutions over the year. Our series on career development is designed to help you do so.

Consider these career resolutions and adapt them to your needs.

1. I will think about my career goals.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What do you enjoy doing, are good at, and want to do next?
  • What skills and knowledge do you want to use more often?
  • What longer-term goals or dreams do you have?
  • What environment/culture do you need to be successful and fulfilled?
  • What jobs offer the opportunity to meet your future needs?

2. I will focus on developing new skills and knowledge for cleared jobs I want.

This is easy to say, but many of us never quite get around to doing much. The days when an employer provided all the training and development you need are mostly gone. Now you may get support from your employer for formal education or some training they need, but it is up to you to keep your skills growing. Far too many people are forced to deal with this when they lose a job and cannot find another job because they lack the needed skills.

Look around at all the possible resources. Community colleges and universities are obvious options. But so are online courses – free and otherwise. Professional groups and Meetups often have programs, seminars and competitions such as Capture-the Flag, which will enhance your skills. Volunteering at community or professional organizations can offer chances for developing management skills as well as technical ones. A regular scanning of important issues in your field via online newsletters, a Google search agent, and books is smart too.

3. I will create a career development plan.

We know from research that written plans are far more effective than just thinking about doing something. And career research shows that plans plus networking really enhance your success. So consider developing your own action plan. Here are some topics to consider:

  • What work do I enjoy doing the most? The least?
  • What jobs interest me in the short term? Mid-range (3-4 years out)?
  • What are the requirements of those jobs and which do I already have? What do I need to add?
  • What can I do at my current employer to increase my chances for promotion (if you want to stay)?
  • What can I do at my current employer to increase my chances of getting an external job I want?

There are extensive career development resources available to help you develop your career resolutions and actually achieve them. Many college alumni programs offer help in this area. Seeking out articles online and books is easy – the hard part is to find the best matches for you, so do ask others for ideas. Consider a mentor. Smartest move of all: Write down your resolutions and review your progress regularly.

After all, you are the best investment you can make for your future. What’s the first step you are going to take in 2017 to make it happen? 

This entry was posted on Monday, January 09, 2017 7:37 am

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