by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
It’s funny how it often takes the start of a new year for us to face the realities of our lives and decide to make changes for the better — resolutions to find a better job, lose weight, exercise more, and the like. The reality, of course, is that we can take actions steps at any time — and usually, the sooner the better.
It’s the same for dealing with your career. While the beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on your career, don’t feel you have to wait. Placing your career higher on your priority list today should help make other things in your life better as well.
Why do you need to make five career resolutions? You don’t, of course. On the other hand, you could make more than five. These five career resolutions were chosen for their importance — the best you can do for yourself and your career without overwhelming you with too many. Some of these resolutions may not fit your situation, so feel free to modify them to better suit your needs and desires. The important thing, though, is to do something; don’t let your career continue on autopilot.
Five Career Resolutions
1. I resolve to make career planning a top priority. Other elements of your life — family, finances, friends, and the like — can often consume much of your free time, but ignoring your career can easily lead to unhappiness that filters into the other parts. Resolve to make the time, such as a long weekend, to review where you are in your career and develop positive steps to adjust or change it. Read more in our articles:
- How to Conduct a Career-Planning Weekend Retreat
- 10 Tips for Successful Career Planning
- Developing a Strategic Vision for Your Career Plan
2. I resolve to make time to find my ideal career path. When you have a true passion for the work you do, everything about your work is better. If you are unhappy in your career, it is never too late to make a change. If you are unsatisfied or unhappy, the first step is deciding whether it’s your career or your job you don’t like. Assuming it is your career, make the time to assess your career interests and aspirations, conduct career research, and develop plans for making the change. Use these tools to assist you in finding your ideal career — and then taking the steps to make the transition:
- The 10-Step Plan to Career Change
- Deploying Your Intuition to Find Your Ideal Career
- Finding Your Career Passion Tutorial: Uncover Your Ideal Career Path
- Job and Career Resources for Career Changers
3. I resolve to put in the effort to find a better job. If you love the work you do, but hate the job or your employer, decide that this is the year you find a new job. Fight the inertia and comfort to find a more challenging job or a position with an employer whose values better align with yours. If you have been out of the job market for an extended period, you may be apprehensive about facing the road ahead, but with the proper preparation and effort, you’ll soon find yourself with at least one better job offer. Use some of these tools to create or polish your job-hunting skills, methods, and tools:
- Job-Hunting Do’s and Don’ts Articles
- 15 Myths and Misconceptions About Job-Hunting
- Job-Hunting Samples and Examples (Including resumes, cover letters, thank-you letters, reference lists, career stories, interview questions, and more.)
- Networking Your Way to a New Job
- Quintessential Careers Reports on the State of Internet Job-Hunting
4. I resolve to position myself for a promotion, raise, new job. Perhaps you like your job and your employer, but seek greater challenges and/or a pay raise. Two of the most important activities you can do for your career this year is track and record your work accomplishments and develop (or build) your personal brand; doing just these two things should put you in a great position to make a case for a promotion or new job. Use these tools to assist you in achieving this resolution:
- Moving Up the Ladder: 10 Strategies for Getting Yourself Promoted
- For Job-Hunting Success: Track and Leverage Your Accomplishments
- Career Branding Tutorial: Take Your Career to the Next Level
- Using Key Marketing Tools to Position Yourself on the Job Market
5. I resolve to obtain education, training, certification for better job, career. Continuing education is an essential element of many careers — and plays an even bigger role when you are striving for a new job or making a career change. Going back to school for a graduate degree or certification can seem daunting, especially if you have been out of school for years, but there is no age limit on learning. Find the resources you need with these tools:
- College and Graduate School Planning Resources
- Certifiably Empowering: Hot Fields in Which Certification May Boost Your Career
Final Thoughts on Career Resolutions
In the end, any time you spend working on making your career better will make your life better. Implementing some or all of the resolutions in this article, however, will help speed the process.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.