I said my goodbyes to 2019 with an elaborate list of resolutions I was determined to follow through in 2020. All but one resolution on my list aimed at testing my limits and pushing me out of my comfort zone. From learning a new language and making a career change to trekking across the country and travelling to see new places. I wanted it all. By the time February drew close, I logged sixty hours of language study, travelled to Sweden and had a detailed plan for my four week trekking trip later that summer. Once the first news of uncontrollable virus spread reached me, the world began changing ever so slightly. And I gripped my resolution list a bit tighter. I’ll straight with you, 2020 was a tough year (wasn’t it for us all?), but it has taught me a valuable lesson: The importance of career resolution.
Take a Stock of Where You Are At in Your Career
Now is the time to take a good look at your career. What have you achieved this year? What about the last five years? Note all the achievements, progress, setbacks and stagnations, then evaluate each accordingly. What did you learn from each? What should you’ve done differently?
It is vitally important to be honest with yourself and self aware of where you are in your career. This is essential in making a strong career resolution. Should you find yourself making excuses for the choices you made in the past, ask yourself what has prevented you from achieving progress and what are the next steps you can take to advance your career.
Rightfully so, many of us can peg our setbacks on the COVID-19 pandemic. And if this is the case, think about the potential divergences you can make that would allow you to move forward. For example, have you ever thought of freelancing? What about pursuing that great idea you had a while ago? Maybe becoming a solopreneur? Possibilities are endless, as long as you carefully evaluate the market potential for your ideas. The same goes if you notice that your career is not headed where you’d like and you are feeling unhappy.
However, if none of the above applies to you, that is excellent news. After all, it is a lot easier to set goals for the year ahead, and plan a long-term career plan, if you are content with where you are at professionally.
Find a New Approach to Your Career Path
Earlier we mentioned that if you are not satisfied with where you are at in your career, it might be a good idea for you to seek out a new approach to your career path. However, finding a new approach to your career path is not only reserved for those who are feeling unhappy with their career standing. Career paths are no longer linear. To the contrary, we are prompted to expand on our soft and hard skills and invest in continuous learning. So how does pursuing career experience influence our career resolution?
I urge you to think of the ways in which you can expand your set of skills and how that would influence your career experience and ultimately your career path. Especially if you find yourself dissatisfied with your current situation. Build upon your current skills and seek different ways to employ them. Take time to explore different options and evaluate what might be the best solution for you.
If you are unsure how to approach the change, start with your current situation and analyse where you’d like to go from there by assessing your skills. What I mean by this is:
- Assess your skills and career interests (or interests in general).
- Think about how satisfied are you with your job.
- What are possible career choices for you (don’t base your answers on obstacles or current limitations)?
- Search for job listings within the field that interests you and check out the requirements.
- What skills would you need in order to take a job you secretly want?
- Consider doing shadow work in order to get a better sense of the role and the skills necessary for this job.
- Get personal – work on your personal brand.
- Start applying for jobs.
Update Your Resume: Put Focus on Digital
This might be self-explanatory really, but why not go through it anyway? If you by any chance subscribe to the ‘New Year – New Me’ line of thinking, then apply the same principle to your resume by giving it some love and updating it. Your resume is your ticket ahead, so make sure you devote enough time to make sure it represents you in the best possible way.
If you don’t have a personal website, it might be a good idea to consider making one. Having a personal website not only shows that you are willing to go above the bare minimum of what is required to apply for a job (read: CV). The personal website also shows more of you.
Think about it, unlike a CV which dictates a certain form you need to stick to, a personal website allows you to expand on your experiences and express yourself. As a freelancer myself, I found it the best way to show my work and find new clients through my website. A personal website gives a chance to others to get to know me better before deciding to contact me.
If you need more info on what to include on your website, check this out.
Don’t Skip on Networking, Even If Online
Networking can be an overwhelming task for many. But while it certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it needs to be done. Sure it can be awkward and time-consuming, but establishing long-term relationships that can benefit your career is vital for your success.
Networking is not about exchanging your contact information. It is about creating those long-lasting connections that will help you knock on the doors, acquire clients, learn about the industry happenings and exchange opinions.
Seeing how we are more cooped up at our homes than we were this time last year, you might find it hard to start networking. However, I urge you to try and reach out to others online. Do a little research and reach out to those you admire and could potentially learn a lot from.
Take Care of Yourself
If this year has taught us anything, then I’d say than it would be to take care of yourself. Establishing a work-life balance should be the first item on your career resolution list. Taking care of your mental and physical health is vital as this aspect will influence all other areas of your life – both personal and professional.
Take proactive steps to mitigate the feeling of being overwhelmed. If you can establish your home office space and find ways to seclude yourself while you work. This might come harder for those who have or are living with small kids. In case this applies to you, try to establish some form of schedule when you can focus on your work.
Declutter that email inbox. Overloaded inbox with advertisements, notifications and newsletters, follow up from webinars, seminars, courses, and similar content you are no longer interested in will do nothing to motivate you. Hit that unsubscribe button and declutter the mess. Need we say, we strongly recommend you subscribe to our newsletter! We have sworn to send you only useful tips and share our knowledge on building your career! Subscribe here!
At last, although not a career-related resolution, make sure you don’t neglect your physical health either. Physical exercise and stretching routine can be extremely beneficial for your overall wellness. Establish an exercise regimen and try to work it in your schedule, as best you can.
Before You Go
In hindsight, I am sure we can all agree that it is easy to say we could have done this or that better. However, with the year we had, let us all agree that we’ve done the best we could under the circumstances.
This year, I have placed a single thing on my career resolution list. Try to find joy within each step of my steady progress. Underneath I have scribbled: be levelheaded and take a step back to evaluate the situation when things are not going as planned. And this refers to all those moments of uncertainty when I tend to panic (ever so slightly). Will I find the next client? Will they pay the agreed amount? Or will I do a good job and be contacted for a new project? The list of my worries is too long to jot it down here. But as I look back, it is clear that the five aforementioned steps have helped me grow in the past year!
Happy holidays everyone!