Strong CareerA new year means new beginnings, new opportunities, and new resolutions. As the calendar turns to 2017, think about the things you can do to make it great – like building a better career. Here are 10 resolutions to adopt for a stronger career in the upcoming year:

  1. Stay in touch
    A great way to start the networking habit is with a holiday mailing, you can even continue to reach out in the new year by asking about people’s holidays. You can make additional contacts throughout the year by dedicating your lunch hour to meeting up with people and getting out from behind your desk, or reconnecting with at least one person you don’t see day-to-day.
  2. Manage your professional online presence
    Social networks not only provide a great platform to stay in touch personally, but they also provide a great platform to broadcast and amplify your professional brand. Position yourself as an expert in your niche by shaping messages about topics in your industry or expertise. (This will also help with #1-Staying in Touch)
  3. Preserve your focus
    When you work long hours at a complex job, it can be easy to feel too depleted to take on something else. If this sounds like you, then make 2017 the year you carve out specific time before, during and at the end of each day to take action on your “real” career aspiration, not the one you happened to be assigned to in your day job.
  4. Maintain your energy
    Jobs can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. This means that in addition to preserving a focus on career action, you need to focus on preserving your energy reserves. Exercise, meditation, enough sleep, and good eating habits are all career moves when they give you the stamina to make that extra push.
  5. Spend your mornings wisely
    If the days seem to get away from you before you get the important stuff done, create a new morning routine. Take one hour and spend 20 minutes each on exercise, meditation and reading. Or spend 10 minutes each and add additional activities, such as journaling, prioritizing the day, or reconnecting with your network (#1-staying in touch!). Or resolve to spend the morning on your most important task. Whatever you decide, if you get your morning right, even if the rest of the day does get away from you, you will have at least have accomplished one thing.
  6. Stretch
    From a career standpoint, stretching means doing something outside your day-to-day and perhaps beyond your comfort zone like joining the company sports league or taking on a non-profit committee role.
  7. Grow
    To grow your career look to update/develop skills and take on new activities to keep yourself challenged. See what continuous learning options your company offers and tap resources in your own network.
  8. Ask for what you want
    Learning to ask for what you want is a critical career skill, and finding opportunities to ask is the only way you’ll get practice at this. Ask for training, ask to attend a conference, ask for a membership to your industry association, ask for a mentor, ask for feedback so you can identify areas to develop and strengths to build on.
  9. Be marketable
    You want to keep growing and developing so you maintain your career value. Even if you aren’t actively looking for a new job, you always want to be marketable. A change in business conditions or new management can quickly alter your otherwise comfortable situation. In addition to keeping your skills and expertise updated, stay marketable with resolution #1-staying in touch. If your network doesn’t already include recruiters and other people active in the career field, then make it a priority to develop relationships here. Finally, your marketability means you have updated tools, like resolution #2-a professional online presence, as well as a resume and cover letter template (so you can quickly put together an introduction of yourself and your value when you need to).
  10. Keep your options open
    You don’t need to actively look for a job, but resolve to keep your options open. Return recruiter calls. Look at LinkedIn invites you don’t automatically recognize. Don’t be so quick to dismiss a request to work on something outside your normal expertise. Keep your options open by keeping an open mind.

Career advancement is a year-round process, but why not let the momentum of January help kick-start your success? If you resolve to do just one more activity than you did this year, it will already be an improvement. Here’s to a great year!

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