Ten New Year pledges to build your career

Many people plan to improve themselves in some capacity in the new year: lose weight, get in shape, get a promotion, make more money, spend more time with family and friends, work less, etc.

But career achieving goals are a complex business–this take time, thought and strategy. Small, simple changes lay the foundation for major changes and transitions. Start small and build on what you achieve as you improve yourself and your quality of work over the course of the year. Here are a few ways to advance your career goals in 2019:

1.      Get organised

This has to be number 1, but it’s surprising how many people do not follow this advice. Be on top of things; be on time; have things filed; be prepared for meetings; etc. Being organised allows you to be efficient, productive and focused. If you constantly have an unmanageable inbox or big piles of papers in disarray on your desk, do not update your calendar and have poor time management you will have to devote time and energy to find whatever you need whenever you need it and you are working from behind.

Invest time in getting organised, it will save you loads of time in the long run. Develop a system that is simple and stick to it.

2.      Meet new people

In the era of Netflix and chill, it’s easy to go through the motions at work, participate in kitchen conversations, fulfil work-related social obligations then go home and relax, or simply just spend time with your friends and family. It is easier than going out and networking with new people. But meeting new people in your field is what keeps you sharp, up-to-date and connected. In terms of career building, who you know is a valuable currency, so make it part of your job to know as many people as possible. Go to industry events, have your friends in the business introduce you to their friends, support others in their professional endeavours.

Networking and meeting new people is the lifeblood of your career.

3.      Don’t hold grudges

If you take things personally, it breeds resentment which is emotionally draining and unproductive. Try not to hold grudges or get involved in disagreements that aren’t purely professional and can be argued in technical terms. As soon as it becomes a more personal disagreement, you lose your footing in the argument and you’re the one who has been unprofessional. Don’t hold grudges, assume whatever that person did they did it in good faith and continue to focus your work.

Holding grudges doesn’t serve you, so let it go.

4.     Read

Take it upon yourself to stay up to speed on news in your industry. Subscribe to your industry trade publications, follow reporters who cover your industry on social media, read books about your industry and by experts in the field. Stay curious and improve yourself. Knowing more about your business is always better, so devour anything you can about your industry, understand how world events impact it so you can understand its current state and know what the future holds.

Read more . . . .

5.     Be punctual

The first sign of an organised, serious professional is punctuality. Good, reliable professionals are not late for anything and nothing signals to others that someone is unorganised and unprofessional than consistently being late.

Force yourself to manage your time, to plan enough time to get ready, get organised and arrive early.

6.     Ask for feedback

When you have completed a project or major assignment, try to get 15 minutes of a managers time for feedback. There is a delicate balance to be struck: you shouldn’t ask for feedback often but ask for it enough so if an issue arises, it can be addressed before an evaluation.

You will be respected for confronting your weaknesses and improving them instead of waiting for colleagues to mention them in a performance review.

7.     Monitor your progress

One way to stay on track of your goals, whether it is to meet more people in your industry, to be on time or to learn a new skill is to track your progress. Set small, incremental goals that can be achieved in a month or in a quarter.

Your confidence will build as you see your progress on paper and it will motivate your work.

8.      Know the best way to reduce stress

When you get upset or stressed about work, experiment with what calms you in the moment. Try going for a walk, having a stretch, deep breathing, going to the gym or reading. Find a way to reduce stress in the moment so you can make clear headed decisions, something that helps change your frame of mind about a situation or helps you feel calm and less overwhelmed.

Knowing the way to calm yourself down in the moment is a way to manage yourself, and ensure you are in the right state of mind to handle conflict or important decisions.

9.     Try volunteering

One way to give back and to meet more people in your industry is to volunteer under the umbrella of your profession. For example, if you work in technology, there are a number of charities that teach certain skills such as coding to children and those in need. If you work in education, there are plenty of education outreach charities and programs you can volunteer with.

It is a meaningful way to give back, build confidence and expand your network.

10. Be decisive

Nothing creates career chaos like incessant self-doubt. Your indecisiveness and inability to take a stand on anything means you’re going nowhere fast, including in your career. 

Silence your inner critic and stop apologising for your perceived mistakes. Confidence is essential to career success and if you can’t believe in yourself, it’s going to be tough to get anyone else to.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *