It’s hard to believe that 2012 is only a few days away, but it is. So why not start planning how you can make your career better next year now? We talked with Shelly Gorman, Director of Career Management at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business school, about some proactive resolutions whether you are trying to move up higher in your current field or land a new job. She has spent the last ten years leading a global career management consulting firm, and also assisting over 10,000 individuals in their career management. Here are her great suggestions for resolutions:
1) Conduct your annual career management check-up:
To make sure you are on the right career path for you, it’s important to frequently check-in and ask yourself:
- Does my current role meet my lifestyle needs?
- Am I fully utilizing my expertise?
- What is my 5-year vision and am I on track to realize this goal?
- Do I enjoy what I do day to day? [tagbox tag="resolutions"]
2) Have a proactive mindset – vow to ask for what you want: Many individuals fall into the trap of constantly trying to demonstrate their worth and value – but never get what they want, simply because they don’t ask! It’s important not to be humble when it comes to career management. Figure out what you want, and go for it!
3) Determine ‘Brand You’ and sell it: All too often, individuals don’t effectively market themselves when they’re searching for a new job – or vying for a new position within their current company. Figure out what your strengths are, and exactly what you bring to the table. Once you you’ve done that it becomes a lot easier to effectively communicate your skills and potential and effectively sell “Brand You” – which ultimately means landing that new job or higher position.
4) Give yourself a boost: Take a class, or enroll in an MBA program to help develop your skills and further your career. Programs like MBA@UNC offer a versatile and flexible way for students to get a top-tier education experience without the need to leave their current job role – where their contributions are relied upon by their employers.
5) Network with a purpose: Make networking worth your while. Align your networking efforts with whatever skills or aspects of your career that you’re looking to improve. Make sure the connections you make fit with your development path. Gorman says networking just to say you were networking doesn’t really help you. If you are really serious about networking you need to be going to events at least once a week and really trying to make connections with people.
6) Build a board of mentors: Develop relationships with multiple mentors who align with various aspects of your career advancement goals. It’s important not to just rely on one mentor to have all the answers, but rather – consult with several who can offer insight from different positions. Also, make it an on-going practice to check in with your mentors frequently to ensure that you’re achieving your goals.
7) Throw out your assumptions: Don’t let assumptions about a certain industry or position keep you from exploring the possibility of a career change. It’s important to do your research, and see how you can make a job work for you – rather than assuming it won’t work.
8) Create a career management plan: Put a Career Management plan together, complete with benchmarks and metrics, to help keep yourself on track. Make a plan to attend one networking event a week or contact a certain amount of contacts per month – and stick to it! This will help you reach your goals, and also keep you in the “proactive mindset’. All too often, individuals get sidetracked as “life happens” but having a plan will help ensure that you’re spending a sufficient amount of time dedicated to finding a new position.
9) Be your own best friend: You always rely on your best friends to give you good advice – so do the same for yourself! Trust that you know what’s right for you, and follow your own advice.