Take stock of your career in 2018 to advance in 2019
With shorter days and longer nights, the end of the year is the perfect time for reflection — so why not spend some time taking stock of your career? It can help clarify whether you’re happy with your job and career progression; plus, it’s a great way to determine what steps you need to take next in order to stay professionally on track.
Not sure where to start? The following pointers will guide you through the process:
- Define your career objectives for 2019. Examine your work over the past 12 months and, based on your achievements, define realistically what you’d like to accomplish in the coming year. Perhaps you’d like a promotion, or maybe you’d like to work with an international team on a project.
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Evaluate which skills you’re confident about and which ones you need to develop further. For example, perhaps you enjoyed spearheading a project and feel that your leadership skills could benefit from more practice, or maybe you’d like to master a new app that could be useful for streamlining your workflow.
- Determine how you can develop these skills. Some skills can be developed by means of online learning, others — especially soft skills — simply take practice. For each ability that you want to work on, determine whether it’s something you can hone by means of coursework, on-the-job learning, volunteer work, or a combination of the above.
- Evaluate what career opportunities you have or can create. Talk to your supervisor about what the next steps would look like for you at your organization. Can you take on more responsibility or make a lateral move that would help you gain more knowledge and experience? If there’s currently no room for growth at your own company, assess whether it’s time to look elsewhere — and if so, what kinds of opportunities are available.
- Review your network to see how you can expand it and leverage it to your advantage. According to the LinkedIn article titled “Eighty percent of professionals consider networking important to career success,” 35 percent of professionals found a new opportunity as a result of an exchange via LinkedIn Messaging, and 61 percent agreed that regular networking could help them get in the door with potential job opportunities. Take some time to assess which of your current connections could help you advance and which ones could connect you to other contacts who might be beneficial to your career. Then set aside some time to connect with those individuals in a respectful manner. And remember — if you’re asking for an introduction, information, or anything else, you should be prepared to reciprocate.
Taking stock of your career is something you should do at least once a year. By regularly setting some time aside to objectively assess your career progression relative to your goals, you can ensure you keep advancing in the direction you want to go workwise.
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