As the end of the year ticks down and we dive headfirst into a brand new year (and decade!) it’s a perfect time to get introspective and think about how your career is progressing. Are you happy in your current role? Or is it time to move on to greener pastures and a shiny new job? Here are some tips and resources to help you evaluate your career and make a plan for what comes next.
looking for a job change to start off the new year? we can help you find the right fit.
decide what are your goals are
As the year comes to a close, projects and tasks are wrapped up. Everyone wants to tie their year up in a neat bow before taking off for the holidays. Since you’ve probably closed a chapter on a lot of the things you were working on in the previous year, the New Year is a perfect time to re-evaluate your career goals. What kinds of projects do you want to work on? Is this the year you’re aiming for a promotion? Is there something you want to achieve this year? Having both long and short term goals is ideal as it’ll allow you to check off goals throughout the year, but still have something big-picture to work towards. Check out our tips on how to set goals like a pro.
are there new skills you want to learn?
Most jobs evolve as the world and technology change. Take a moment to stop and think about your skill set and what you want out of your job. If you’ve been in your job for more than a few years, you might have settled into a comfortable routine. While there’s nothing wrong with that, keeping up with what’s happening in your industry will ensure you remain employable for years to come.
Is there a new tool or certification you can obtain that’ll give your resume a little boost? Or maybe there’s just a new skill you’d like to learn. It can be as simple as deciding you want to become more comfortable with your presenting skills, or that you want to work on your organization skills. Also, many employers value upskilling and some even have financial incentives, such as paying for educational courses or attending conferences. So if there’s a professional opportunity that might strengthen your work, it might be worth talking to your boss about it.
is your resume up-to-date?
Whether you plan to job hunt in the New Year or not, it’s a good idea to update your resume. At the end of the year you probably wrapped up a lot of your big projects. Now is the perfect time to add all your projects from the previous year to your resume, before you forget about them and move onto other tasks in the New Year. As a general rule of thumb it’s a good idea to update your resume at least once or twice a year, whether you’re planning on job hunting or not. This keeps the information fresh and ensures you have less work to do to get it up to speed once you’re ready to launch a job search. With the feelings of reflection in the air at the beginning of a new year, it’s the perfect time to get a little introspective about your career achievements over the past year. Check out our ultimate resume writing guide to get the scoop on how to craft a clear resume that will impress anyone.
what about your social media?
In today’s digital world, your social media is an important part of your professional branding, especially if you’re planning on looking for a job. When thinking about social media for work purposes, most people tend to think about LinkedIn. It’s a logical thought, as 95% of recruiters admit that LinkedIn if their social media channel of choice. It’s the first place they go when looking to make a hire and vetting a candidate’s professional background. However don’t forget about any accounts you have that are public. Check out our advice on the importance of doing a social media cleanse when job hunting.
Getting your LinkedIn profile in order and doing a little start-of-the-year cleaning will put you in a good spot when and if you’re ready to explore your career options. Just make sure to turn off the notifications that let everyone know you’re making changes, so they’re not bombarded by updates (this is also helpful if you’re keeping your new year job hunt on the down low.) Also, once your profile is up-to-date, don’t forget to switch on the option that lets recruiters know you’re open to job opportunities. This makes it easier for them to find you.
are you earning a fair market rate in your role?
Are you maximizing your earning potential in your current role? Maybe you’ve received a pay bump in the past year and are feeling great about your current salary. Or maybe you’ve gained some new skills and feel your salary is starting to lag behind your peers? Whatever the case, the New Year is an excellent time to evaluate your salary and determine where you fall on the pay scale. Do some research based on your job title and location to see what others in your profession are making. Check out our salary guide to get an idea of what you should be earning.
If you’re underpaid, the New Year is an excellent time to approach your boss about a raise, as budgets are still being settled and finalized in many companies and there may still be some wiggle room. Or if you’re not feeling good about your prospects of increasing your salary with our current employer, January is one of the busiest hiring months of the year as employers regroup after the busy holiday season and kick hiring into high gear as they prepare to hit the ground running in the new year.
are you happy in your current role?
At the end of the day, one of the most important questions to ask yourself about your career is whether or not it makes you happy. Not everyone is lucky enough to find themselves in a career that’s their true passion (and that’s okay, if that’s the case!) but at the very least your career should be something you feel generally good about and like doing. Do you have more good days than bad days? Do you enjoy coming into work most days, and like the people you work with? Are you content with the work you do and the projects you get to work on? If the answer to most of these is ‘yes’ you’re in a good position. If the answer is ‘no,’ it’s time to evaluate your career path and make some tough decisions about whether your current job (or even the field you’re working in) are a good fit for you. Check out our article: a practical guide to finding a job you enjoy for tips and advice about finding a job that’s a good fit for you.
make a career plan
After you’ve done a deep dive into what’s going on in your career, it’s time to start making plans about what to do next. Flying by the seat of your pants is rarely a sound strategy when it comes to developing your career. In order to make things happen, you need to decide where to you want to be (this is where the first item on this list, setting goals for yourself, comes into play.) Once you know what you’re aiming for, build a realistic plan to get there. For instance, if finding a new job is part of your plan, steps you can take include making sure all your documents are updated, brushing up on your interviewing skills, and deciding what types of employers you want to work for. Or if obtaining a raise is your primary goal – create a document outlining why you’re worth your ask, and a plan to talk to your boss. Need more tips for building a career plan? Check out our article on how to build a career plan at the start of the year.