How good are you at keeping your New Year’s resolutions on track? Like most people, I make resolutions, and, like most people, they lie in ruins by the end of January. As a result, the changes I hoped to make just a few weeks earlier have failed to materialise. I let myself slip back into old habits, consoling myself with the thought that I was being unrealistic with my plans in the first place. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. What you need is a plan or a roadmap that will give you the structure you need to stay disciplined. If your aim is to progress your career, you can’t afford to be casual in the way you pursue it. You don’t want to put the same resolutions on next year’s list.
Most people think that all they have to do is update their CV, send out a few applications, and sit back and wait for the job offers to come in. But they are wrong. If you are serious about developing your career, here are 9 things you can do keep your resolutions on track in 2020:
1. Set Goals
How can you progress your career without taking some time out to think about what you want to do? Decide where you want to be in five years and figure out how you can make it happen. Speak to people currently doing that job and find out how they got there. Spend some time researching what you would like to do next.
2. Update your CV
Your CV needs to be clear and easy to read. Remember to focus on both CV structure and content. Hiring managers don’t have time to comb through your CV looking for the right information. They will just move on to the next CV. It is vital to have a well-structured CV that is up to date with key content. Check out our CV do’s & don’ts and CV templates on the Jobseekers section of our website.
3. Take on a project at work
This will allow you to gain new experience and develop new skills while also giving you an opportunity to impress senior management outside of your current team. For instance, it may allow you to work across different offices and departments. If you are searching for a new job, this will be a great point to make at interviews.
4. Find a mentor
This is something that is normally best done on an informal basis. However, some organisations have established formal mentoring programmes to help develop talent. It is great to have an experienced professional that can offer advice on how to progress your career and deal with certain situations in the workplace.
5. Take a course
Doing a course shows your commitment to lifelong learning and personal development. This is always a strong point to make at an interview. Furthermore, this gives you useful new skills that can be applied in your role. Look into some of the excellent online offerings which are now available, such as Springboard courses or training programmes at your Local Enterprise Office.
6. Update your LinkedIn profile
This should reflect your CV and there should be no discrepancies between your CV and your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you use all the functionality available within LinkedIn. Join relevant groups and make comments about topics you have an interest in. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for online networking, but it is important to engage with LinkedIn on at least a weekly basis. Build your network on LinkedIn – the more (relevant) connections you have the more effective your network will be.
Networking is still best done old school and face to face. Go to industry events or career fairs and use these events to build your network and meet new people. After that, make sure you follow up and connect with those you have met. You never know when you will make that crucial connection that will lead to a great career opportunity, so take every chance you can get to meet professionals in your industry.
8. Research the market
Look at the activity of other companies in your industry to see how your skills and experience match their strategy. Could they be organisations to target? Monitor the IDA and Enterprise Ireland websites regularly to keep up to date on companies that are setting up or expanding in Ireland.
9. Build good relationships with a number of trusted recruiters
Build relationships with a small number of professional recruiters. Meet with the recruiters in person, or at a minimum have a conversation with them over the phone.
Finally, set aside some time each week to review how your job search is going, check the various websites and review what is working. Your plan should be constantly evolving as you go. By doing so, you will ensure that you keep your initial resolutions on track.
Choosing to develop your career is the best resolution you can make. Happy job hunting in 2020!