Resolve to get your career in gear.

static1.squarespace.comCareer Resolutions can be extraordinarily successful and help us make life changes. So, take advantage of this time of self-reflection and reevaluate your career where it was, where it now stands, and where you want it to be. Here’s a short list of ten career resolutions to consider this holiday season.

1. Re-evaluate your career.
This one should top your list. Before you vow to make any other changes or improvements, you should sit back and take a look at your present career situation. Career development takes place over time, and it’s healthy to ‘take stock’ periodically. In order to learn where you’ll be happiest, take this opportunity get to know yourself. Take some time to assess your skills, aptitudes, likes and dislikes.

2. Continue to educate yourself.
Education does not end after high school or college; it continues throughout your life. And the New Year is the perfect opportunity to step back and look what areas you want to brush up on. Is there an accounting class that would help you manage your work responsibilities? Or maybe you’ve been wanting to take an art history class to create balance between your life and your job? Take advantage of what is out there. Without lifelong learning you will become stagnant and not feel fulfilled or satisfied with life or work. Don’t allow yourself to fall into a ‘couch potato’ mind-set.

3. Manage your time.
After the busy holiday season it will probably become painfully apparent that you need to learn to schedule your time and develop methods to become more efficient. So, add this task to your resolutions for the new millennium. Be on the lookout for a quicker, more efficient way of tackling tasks. This simple commitment to become efficient will get you noticed and help you balance your work and private life.

4. Go the extra mile in your job.
It’s so easy to fall into the “doing your time” rut of a nine-to-five job. But not only is this not satisfying to you, your employer will notice sooner or later. So take this time of year to infuse your day-to-day job with new enthusiasm. Go that extra mile, and when you are done with an assignment don’t sit and wait for something to be handed to you. Be proactive and positive about your assignments. This attitude will get you noticed and maybe even promoted.

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5. Listen to feedback.
This year, make a vow to listen to what people at work are saying to you. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn about how people perceive you. Then work to make changes or if the feedback is very positive, keep doing what you are doing. Also, try to learn how to take feedback, which Zuber claims is not as easy as it seems. “If the feedback is positive, accept it by replying with a simple ‘thank you.'” What if the feedback is negative? “Never become defensive,” says Zuber. “Hear it out. If you believe the feedback is not accurate, ask for examples. If you see it as legitimate, respond with appreciation for having this pointed out to you. If you disagree with it, calmly and confidently state your position. Don’t argue or become upset.”

6. Stay on top of emerging trends in your industry.
Keeping on top of what’s going on in your industry is vital to furthering your career, but we often don’t take the time to do this. This New Year, resolve to read professional publications or attend conferences or workshops in your field. Check out the business section of newspapers and magazines. They are filled with information about new trends. Staying current and being able to discuss trends and issues intelligently will help you stand out and enhance your position. Also, when you know what is going on in the broader world of work, you will also know when and where to look to move up professionally.

7. Find out your worth.
You only need to do this every few months, and the New Year is the perfect time to benchmark your worth. Once you do it, you will be able to determine how it is changing and what you need to do to grow it. Research into similar positions in your own company, or a related one, will quickly reveal the financial worth of your own position. Also, a frequently overlooked value is longevity with your company. “Over time, a person becomes increasingly valuable, especially when you follow the other “resolutions” such as on-going education. When you realize that your worth gives you favor in the eyes of your employer, you might be able to negotiate a raise or a more advanced position.

8. Build good relationships with other professionals.
The holiday season is the perfect time to build and nurture relationships. So why not extend this and make it one of your career resolutions? Be supportive and open with those you work with, and never spread rumors or gossip. Be known as a person of integrity. Make an effort to contact other professionals outside your company. Join the local or state chapter of your professional organization. You might also consider becoming involved with community organizations.

9. Work on your people skills.
Building relationships may also require you to work on your people skills. Be known for your firm handshake and smile. Warmly and sincerely greet people you see every day, only occasionally, or think you may never see again. Learn to be assertive and open. Being assertive is a healthy, positive reaction to any situation. This attitude is respectful both to yourself and to those around you. It lets you state your needs and thoughts on an ongoing basis without offense while allowing others to do the same. It creates an environment of trust and respect.

10. Always make time for yourself.
Last but not least, resolve to take care of yourself this year. You have to take care of yourself. Nobody else will. It’s rare for an employer to suggest you take time off. So you need to do it yourself. Schedule a time for what restores you. Take a friend to lunch, read a book, go to the fitness center, get a massage, or go to a movie, the beach or an art show. Do whatever it takes to put you at ease and regenerate. Only then can you be productive.

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