9 career resolutions everyone should make

Career resolutions

career resolutions

After the ball has dropped and after the champagne has been drunk, the New Year will begin.  Forty-five percent of Americans will start the New Year with at least one resolution.  Whether or not you are typically a resolution-maker, the New Year is a great time to evaluate your career and set goals.  

Here are nine career resolutions everyone should make.

Get out of dodge

If you are miserable in your job take the time to sit down and determine why you are unhappy.  If you are unhappy with your current position but you like your company, reach out to your boss and/or HR and determine if there is another position within the company that would be a better fit.  Finding a new opportunity within your current company is often easier and quicker than finding an opportunity at a new company.  However, if your current company is not a good fit or if there are no growth opportunities, find a new job.  Just like there are other fish in the sea, there are other jobs out there.

If you decide it is time to find a new job, use all tools at your disposal.  For example, network, brand yourself, use a recruiter, and/or work with an executive search firm.

A word of caution – find a new job before you quit your current job.  Finding a job can take time.

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Network, network, network

I recently wrote about the importance of networking and quoted Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of The Muse and The Daily Muse. who offered this sage advice: “Network Your Face Off.”

Why network?  A recent study found that a 50 percent increase in network size accompanies a 3.8 percent increase in salary with respect to the average.  Studies have also found that the majority of jobs (between 49 percent and 80 percent) are landed through networking.  Networking also brings opportunities that benefit and feed your career, professional development, and personal interests.  What’s more, networks make you happier and smarter.

Brand yourself

Like it or not, you are a brand.    First impressions are no longer face to face. Rather, first impressions are now comprised of information which can be gathered via a quick search of the Internet. A first impression can be, for example, inclusive of your LinkedIn and Facebook pages, your personal blog, your Instagram page, your Twitter account, your Klout score, your pins on Pinterest, and anything else that may have made itself onto the Internet. Because of this, that 7 seconds you used to have to make a first impression when you enter the room is gone – chances are that the first impression was made long before you arrived. The reality is that when you walk into that room you are likely being evaluated against the first impression that was made prior to your arrival.

If you want to be successful you need to take steps to build and enhance your brand.

Work for someone smart

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Expedia, Inc., believes that there is one constant: great, smart people stay great and smart.  Because of this he recommends “find[ing] the smartest and most competent person around you and work[ing] for that person.  It doesn’t matter if the move is lateral, down or up.  Just get yourself working for that great person.  Don’t ask for much; just work your ass off.”  Why?  Khosrowshahi points out that by doing this you will learn a lot, be challenged, and you will grow both as a person and as a professional.  Moreover, “smart people tend to get promoted.  When they get promoted, you’ll tend to follow them as they rise in the ranks (assuming you’ve done a great job).”

Optimize for the next 1 to 2 years

Don’t get hung up on mapping out a five or 10 year career plan.  Instead, optimize for the next one to two years.  Khosrowshahi, again, offers words of wisdom: “Look for the right opportunities, stay flexible, have some idea of what direction you are headed in, but don’t lock into a long-term direction because chances are that the world will change up on you.”

Get active

Exercise not only improves your health, but research has also found that a regular exercise routine can make you happier, smarter, and more energetic.

And interested in a leadership position?  The Wall Street Journal reported that data compiled by Center for Creative Leadership found that “Executives with larger waistlines and higher body-mass-index readings tend to be perceived as less effective in the workplace, both in performance and interpersonal relationships.”

Try something new

Not only is the world always changing, but there is also a big bog world out there – a world full of opportunity.  Look at the technology used by your colleagues and your competitors.  Is there something they are using that you aren’t?  LinkedIn or Twitter for example.    What about something new and exciting outside of the office?  Is it time to give skydiving a try?

Trying something new requires courage.  You will find that courage begets courage.  You may also find something new you enjoy.

Work-life balance

Research by the Families and Work Institute found that 55 percent of respondents reported feeling overwhelmed with the sheer amount of stuff on their plate.  A survey conducted by Monster found that 80 percent of respondents are not happy with their work-life balance.

Are you happy with your work-life balance?  If you are not, take stock of what is on your plate.  Write a list of your priorities. What can you eliminate, shift, or even outsource to find better balance?

Take a vacation

57 percent of American’s don’t take their vacation time.  Each year there are 175 million vacation days which American workers are entitled to which are not taken.

Taking time off is important to both your mental and physical health. Taking time off is also has a positive impact on work performance and productivity.  For example, a 2011 Harvard Medical School study found that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.  Ernst & Young offers another example.  In 2006 the company conducted an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent. What’s more – retention rates were significantly higher among vacationers.