Sunday, 1 January 2012

Setting new year resolutions for your career

It is that time of year, the time when people vow to lose weight, eat healthy, quit a bad habit, or improve their career. For some, this might mean finding a new job, whereas for others, they may be looking for a salary increase, greater responsibility or promotion to that coveted corner office. The problem with resolutions, however, is that they are often created and not followed through upon. The secret is making easy to accomplish, measurable goals and sticking to them throughout January and hopefully the rest of the year.

1. Write down your goals. This is one of the most important skill sets you can develop for your personal development. It has been researched that those who set goals are simply more successful than people who do not set goals. Learn more about personal goal setting here.

2. What does LinkedIn say about you. I am a strong proponent of LinkedIn, especially for those passive job seekers who are not actively searching for a new career path each day. By highlighting your accomplishments and experience, you’ll be profiling your expertise to current contacts as well as potential future employers. By updating your status or adding information, your contacts will receive notification, keeping you top of mind. This is the highest quality social network for professionalism without question. 

3. Use new tools. Join the conversation. Twitter can be a wonderful tool that is free and great for research, but remember that resolutions need to be measurable. While microblogging is a trend of future business communication style, I’m not convinced that one can be effective without an incredible amount of time and effort. In order to gain a relevant following, time needs to be invested to find people to connect with in a meaningful way, share valuable information and engage in dialogue with fellow industry professionals. Consider this option a nice to have in your personal branding toolbox.

4. Be sincere with your approach. This point suggests that people should send a note of appreciation to individuals in their network. While not a bad suggestion, it can easily be construed as insincere or even patronizing if not done correctly. There is more value in dialogue exchange, content sharing and post commentary. Instead of just sending a compliment, actively engage the individual and share your thoughts and opinions at the same time.

5. Get noticed. As above, posting well thought out comments on others’ LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or blog accounts demonstrates that you are actively listening to what they are saying and are providing your own insight and perspectives. In addition to strengthening the relationship with your connections, in the right light you’ll present yourself as credible on a topic. Provide thoughtful feedback or questions as a learning experience.

6. Keep your finger on the pulse. While it can often be fruitless to set up a Google Alert on yourself -- especially if you have a common name -- it is a valuable suggestion if you are researching a company or industry. In addition to available company and stock information, Google Alerts generally picks up any relevant real time commentary about companies on blogs and websites. Another suggestion is performing a key word or company search on Twitter and see what is being said in the microblogging community. Use these tools to save time finding information you need.

7. Build your online reach. Important industry circles can become stale if it isn’t regularly tended to and expanded. By finding new people to connect with, you’ll further enhance your community exposure and possibly connect with someone who can help advance your career.

Advancing one’s career should not be a one off activity between periods of employment. It is an activity that should be conducted 365 days a year. While each new connection or status update may seem insignificant, when amassed over a period of time, each drop will eventually overflow the bucket. Making small, easy-to-accomplish resolutions will help ensure that you stay on track for your future goals.

About Minto Roy

Brings more than a decade of experience and perspective in career management. To learn more about Minto Roy connect with him on Twitter, or LinkedIn. Leave your thoughts or creative responses in the comments section below.

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