A new year is upon us! For millions of people around the globe, this means starting a new diet and kicking old habits, but as the final notes of Auld Lang Syne peter out and the confetti settles, there’s also never been a better time to consider how you can get the most out of your career in 2013.
To make sure you get off on the right foot this year, we take a look at some work-related new year’s resolutions that will see you catapulting your way to happiness, health and success.
1. Get your career in shape
The start of a new year is the perfect time to perform a career health check. You’d be surprised at how easy it can be to lapse into professional complacency; cutting corners, cruising at half-speed and losing focus. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned veteran, now is your chance to take stock of your career.
Start by making a list of which aspects of your job make you happy, and which leave room for improvement. Is your current job what you really want to be doing? Is it time to consider a career shift? Recalibrate your sights, and you’ll find that the path ahead becomes much better focused.
It’s also important to remember that a healthy body equals a healthy mind, so don’t let your health and wellbeing fall by the wayside. Take advantage of summer’s extended daylight and organise group PT sessions in the park, or research local lunchtime fitness clubs. Stay committed, and you’ll find that the benefits extend beyond a diminishing waistline – your energy, productivity, motivation, and day-to-day outlook will thank you for it.
2. Get organised
It might sound clichéd, but a little bit of organisation goes a long way. Whether it’s making a more concerted effort to keep track of deadlines and appointments in your diary or planner (if you haven’t got one yet, this is a good place to start!), or sorting through the endless files and folders on your desktop, instilling some order will help you keep on top of things. Tidy your workstation, sift through your drawer of business cards and clear out your in/out trays. Pin up a calendar, or familiarise yourself with some scheduling software or phone apps; use whatever tools allow you to take charge of your own agenda.
Remaining neat and tidy ought to extend beyond your inbox, too – personal presentation is key. Whether you work the checkouts at a discount store, flip burgers at a fast food chain or are the head of a multi-million dollar company, you are what you wear. Keep in mind the golden rules for how to dress for success, and success will follow.
3. Build your relationships
People are the cogs that keep the wheels in every workplace in motion. In a digital age, it can be easy to let electronic platforms like LinkedIn and email take the place of real life relationships with your peers and colleagues. Make contact by organising a team building activity like a game of soccer, or schedule a regular get-together for lunch or after-work drinks. Work on a project with someone you don’t know particularly well, or have a face-to-face chat with a co-worker, rather than sending a lazy email.
Reach out to former colleagues, cement relationships with your current peers and seize every opportunity to make new contacts.
4. Cultivate a sustainable workplace
Environmental sustainability continues to rise to the forefront of our collective conscience, and the workplace is as good a place as any to initiate a green policy. Whether you decide to cycle to work, strategise ways in which to reduce your commercial waste or campaign for education and awareness, the benefits – both for your workplace and our planet – are well worth the effort.
5. Refresh your resume
With so many people vying for the same roles, failing to apply for a job within the first 48 hours could make the difference between an interview and being passed over. To guarantee that you’re ready when opportunity comes knocking, make sure that your resume is up-to-date and up to scratch. Highlight your key achievements and successful projects, rework sections that aren’t relevant to your career trajectory and seek feedback from an industry professional or mentor.
Once you’ve got your credentials in impressive form, make it a point to revisit your resume on a quarterly basis. Aim to add at least one new bullet point to your skills or education section each year, and you’re a shoo-in for success.
6. Extend your professional skills
Regardless of your field, nothing could be more important than keeping up-to-date with evolving industry knowledge, practices and standards. This entails continual professional development in the form of in-house training, workshops and seminars, completing a short course or perhaps doing postgraduate study. Thanks to the convenience of online study, you can now do many courses and degrees by distance, so you can upskill and retrain while maintaining your full-time job.
7. Take on a new challenge
If you’ve been at it for a while, it can be easy to fall into a predictable pattern of routine and general complacency. Make the new year your time to shine, and step outside your comfort zone. Are there projects outside your defined role that you could take on or contribute to? Could your insight and ideas help streamline certain processes or bring in new business revenue? Perhaps it’s time to talk to your manager about taking on new responsibilities or expanding on your current role. Push yourself a little! Take the initiative and rise to new challenges, and you can be sure it won’t go unnoticed.
8. Jump to the next rung
You’ve joined the gym, meticulously organised your schedule, started a carpool and revamped your resume, but something is still missing. Is it time for you to step up and take on board a leadership role within your organisation? Then consider enrolling in one of the many management or project management courses on offer. Or perhaps you’re looking to leapfrog your way up the corporate ladder? An Executive MBA will put you on a whole different level.
Remember, if your career feels stagnant and your job leaves you wanting, then there’s no need to grin and bear it. Follow these simple tips for career development, and come this time next year, you could find yourself looking at a markedly improved professional picture. Maintain your resolve, follow through, and let 2013 be the year of your career!
10 more tips for a prosperous new year
1. Write out a series of short-term and long-term goals
2. Make a point of being punctual
3. Aim to BYO lunch to save a few dollars and avoid unhealthy takeaway
4. Strive for a healthy work/life balance
5. Make time for a regular face-to-face with your boss
6. Organise a charity event or fundraiser within the workplace
7. Implement time management strategies like the Pomodoro technique
8. Take up a new activity or hobby to keep yourself sharp and fresh
9. Brighten up your workstation with a plant or some motivational tools
10. Avoid eating lunch at your desk and sitting for long periods of time – get off your chair and get some fresh air