The New Year is approaching and it’s the perfect time to take a long hard look at where you are in your career. Whether you have your sights set on a new role or you’re looking to put the zest back into your current one, this is the time to be planning your strategy.
Here are 8 ways to get 2016 off to a productive start:
1. Set your goals
This should come before anything else. Where do you want to be? You need to have a clear view of your destination before you can plan the journey. Whether it is identifying the business that you want to join or zeroing in on the next step up the ladder where you are, having a clear objective will allow you to develop your strategy for getting there.
If you’re not sure about whether to stay or go, arrange a meeting with your manager to talk about what they see as your next challenge. If you get the sense that they don’t see much value in you, it may be time to look elsewhere.
If you decide to go, choose your target company. Start learning as much as you can about that company.
2. Engage your network
Whatever it is you’re planning, the more people you are connected to, the easier it will be to achieve your goal. Ideally you will have maintained your network well anyway but if you’ve let it slip, now is the time to catch up with people.
It is always important to maintain your network and stay in touch before you need help or advice. No one likes to only hear from someone when they want something.
Arrange a coffee, send a Christmas card. Whatever feels most natural.
3. Build your confidence
Change in the workplace can be unsettling and challenging. Push yourself a bit more now to prepare yourself for the coming months. Whether it is making more of an effort to go to work events, taking on a new exercise routine or just making the effort to talk to more people in the office, the more you can build your confidence and sense of connection now, the better you will feel.
4. Update your CV
No one likes refreshing their CV. It is tedious and time consuming. But you need to make time to do it and do it well. Whether you are applying for a promotion or want to jump ship, it is a useful thing to do so that you have a clear view of your experience and skills and any areas you need to work on. It will also mean that when it comes to actually applying, you will only need to tailor the CV for the job you are going for instead of having to start from scratch.
5. Stretch your role
It’s time to be proactive. Are there projects you could get involved in at work? It could be helping out with training or an office relocation or any number of other things that aren’t compulsory but will get you noticed if you put yourself forward. Whether you are looking for promotion or want to go elsewhere this is a great way to get more experience and look like a proactive member of the team. You never know, it could even result in you deciding to stay with a company you’d given up on.
6. Connect with colleagues
Make time to talk to your peers. Understand their roles and get to know the challenges they are dealing with. Again, this is worth doing whether you are planning to stay or go. Showing an interest will teach you a huge amount about how your organisation works and how it is being run. That will be valuable information. You will also probably develop useful connections in the process.
This is simple but hugely important. It’s about putting renewed vigour back into your role. We often get a bit lazy when we’ve been in a job too long and that can be bad for everyone. Get on top of your workload, reply to emails quickly and talk to people around you. Make sure you are one of the people colleagues know will get stuff done.
8. Enjoy it
It can feel like hard work injecting energy and optimism into your job but try and enjoy it and see it as all part of the journey. No one likes a miserable colleague. Develop a good work-life balance so that when you are in the office you know that it is just one side of your life.
See your plan to land a new role or reinvent your current one as a mission and enjoy the mission itself. See what you can achieve.
The New Year is a great time to make important decisions about the direction you are going in. Make a commitment to yourself and your career and stick to it. Good luck!