Did you ever wake up in the New Year and think, “I wish I had [gotten that thing I’d been meaning to do] done last year!”
Maybe it was reaching out to someone in your network. Or starting daily activity on Twitter or LinkedIn. Or maybe it was building that personal web site.
But don’t worry… the year isn’t over yet! There’s still time to do great things for your career.
Instead of spending a month or so thinking about next year’s resolutions, challenge yourself to complete these three smooth career moves before this year ends. That way, you’ll go into the New Year with momentum, feeling inspired and in motion, ready to take on whatever 2016 brings!
This Week: Identify Your Strengths
In my consulting work, I’m amazed at how little people seem to know about what they’re good at. Usually, I hear things like, “I’m very organized,” or “I’m good with people.”
Helpful to know, but your true career success will spring from a deep understanding and application of those things that you are deeply and naturally wired to do well: Your innate strengths.
Research shows that people who use their strengths daily are happier, have a better attitude, and are more productive.
If you have not yet identified your strengths, there’s no time like the present! Check out StrengthsFinder 2.0 and take the assessment. Then read the descriptions for your top five strength profiles. Identify where your work is well matched to your strengths, and where you have gaps.
Think about what you might be able to do to get more aligned with your strengths in your job. For example, if one of your strengths is around having a strategic mindset, but most of your work is analytical in nature, talk to your manager.
See what you can do to take on projects or roles that allow you to take big ideas and help implement them. If job hunting is on your list for next year, look for jobs that align well with your strengths.
Next Week: Polish Your Personal Brand
Perhaps your workplace experiences a bit of a lull during the holidays. If so, it’s a great time to get that personal brand of yours all spiffed up for the New Year. Here are a couple of quick steps you can take right now to do that.
Ask for 10 LinkedIn Recommendations
In January, it’s going to get busy. So take time now to get some housekeeping done while your colleagues and business partners are feeling the holiday spirit and have some free time.
Ask 10 people you’ve worked with to submit recommendations for you. Go here to see my step by step tips for doing so. Be sure to tell them what work you want to be recommended for, and what you want them to specifically address.
If you’re happy where you are, it’s always a good idea to keep building those recommendations as you go, and use it as evidence of your accomplishments at performance review time.
Update Your Resume
Before the year ends, go back through your calendar or performance reviews, and update your resume with key accomplishments for the year. Be sure to quantify your work, and speak to the outcomes you achieved, not just the tasks for which you were responsible.
In The Resume Coloring Book E-Course, I show you how to build a “Super Resume.” This becomes the holder of all your experience. Then when you need an employer-ready resume, you customize it from the information you’ve stored on your Super Resume.
If you get a call from a recruiter, it’ll be hard, and stressful, to go back and recall all the things you’ve done since you started the job three years ago!
I know… you’ve heard this advice a million times. And yet, very few young careerists actually take the time!
Please… do a Google check and see what comes up for your name. Are your Facebook, Instagram, and other social media showing the positive side of you? Is your LinkedIn profile showing as a top result? Are all of your messages exactly what you want potential employers or associates to see?
If not, now’s the time to do some brand grooming.
If you are you blessed with a common name and other results show up, create a strong presence for your name. Build your own sites using your name and career keywords (for example, Megan Smith | Marketing Communications), at places like BrandYourself.com, Flavors.me, About.me, Re.vu, and Vizualize.me.
All of these tools can help you brand your name and make you more findable among others who may share your name.
By the End of the Year: Check In with Your Peeps
There’s no better time for relationship maintenance than the end of the year. As you begin making plans for the coming year, it’s likely some key people in your network will be doing the same. Now is a great time to reach out to your key connections and refresh your relationship.
Along with offering your good wishes for the end of year season, it’s also a great time to ask about plans for the next year.
Ask your network what their big goals are for the coming year. Then, ask how you can help them be successful. Then build that in to your plan.
Maybe someone needs an accountability partner on a job search. Maybe someone else would love your financial tutoring so they can show up better in meetings with their execs. Whatever it is, make a note.
Then, when you build your plan for 2016, include your commitment to helping others succeed into it. Research shows doing favors for others and reconnecting with your network can do great things for your career in the long term. There’s no time like the present to begin!
Before you start thinking about your 2016 resolutions, ending this year by making these smooth career moves. You’ll feel better, go into the New Year energized, and maybe even get some cool karma back at you.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friend, Lea McLeod!
About The Author: Lea McLeod is author of the Resume Coloring Book. Check it out if you are struggling with writing your resume in today’s job market. She’s also founder of the Job Success Lab so that you can GO PRO in any job! Follow her on Twitter and her blog: DegreesofTransition.com.