The dawn of a new year can be depressing if you focus on all the things you could or should have done the last 12 months. But if you look to the future, you can turn things around, especially if just starting your post-college career.
How? By making a few career-related New Year’s resolutions and committing yourself to achieving them in the next 12 months.
Need some ideas? Feel free to borrow one of these:
Ask More Questions
I will acknowledge that my college degree, while valuable, hasn’t taught me everything I need to know to be successful in the world of work. If I don’t understand something, I’ll say so — and then ask my more experienced colleagues for guidance. This will earn me my colleagues’ admiration by demonstrating my curiosity and ability to say, "I don’t know, but I’m willing to learn."
Reach Out to Colleagues I Don’t Know
I won’t wait for people I don’t know to welcome me to the organization — I’ll seek them out and introduce myself. This will show self-confidence, approachability and respect for others, which in turn will help earn my colleagues’ respect.
Find a Mentor
I’ll establish a collaborative relationship with a more seasoned professional in my field who can be a sounding board and support my career development, providing me the benefit of new career wisdom.
Document My Successes
I’ll create a spot such as a box, folder or file drawer where I can store proof of my professional activities and achievements, such as brochures I’ve written, budgets I’ve developed or educational plans I’ve created for clients. This will give me organized evidence of my accomplishments for both future employers and myself.
Learn a New Job-Related Skill
I’ll pick a skill area like writing, developing Web sites or presenting to large groups and work on it by taking a course at a nearby college or university or through a local community education program. My goal will be to build on an existing strength or learn how to better manage a weakness.
Volunteer to Work on a Challenging Project
I’ll look for or create a way to push slightly outside my professional comfort zone to gain new skills as well as the experience to help me climb the ladder within my current organization or advance elsewhere.
Build Expertise in My Field
I’ll read industry publications and attend professional conferences when time and money allow, expanding my knowledge base and demonstrating my ongoing commitment to my chosen field.
Expand My Network
I’ll get involved in at least one professional association to meet people outside my own organization. I’ll also set up periodic meetings with fellow professionals in my area to learn about what they do and how. This will acquaint me with more people in my industry and help them get to know me so I can get (and give) career assistance when necessary.
Spot Solutions as Well as Problems
I’ll go to my colleagues and superiors not just to air concerns, but also to propose ways to effectively address them. I’ll cultivate a reputation as someone who both sees and solves problems.
Get a Life
I’ll revive a favorite pastime or pursue a new one so my entire identity isn’t built around my career. This will give me the type of work/life balance that will make this coming year a great one, both professionally and personally.