As you entered 2018 with a fresh start, many of you likely took this opportunity to come up with some resolutions for the year. According to a commonly cited statistic, only 8% of us will actually stick to our resolutions and 16% of us won’t even make them. I’m definitely in the latter of those groups. Instead, what I do is set goals or intentions for the year. I like to trick my brain into thinking a resolution is a goal, and if you’re anything like me, a goal is a challenge – and then – challenge accepted!
Surprisingly enough, “career” doesn’t make the list of popular new year’s resolutions. But “enjoy life to the fullest”, “spend less, save more”, and “spend more time with family and friends” are in the top 5 (according to the Nielsen report for 2016), which often are affected by your career.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “I’d like to spend less and save more, enjoy life to the fullest and spend more time with my family” then may I suggest creating a career plan for 2018?
Great! Now that you’re on board with that idea, go grab a pad of yellow legal paper, your favourite pen, and let’s start planning.
Create a Career Plan
Whether you’re thinking of changing jobs or planning on a promotion, write down where you want to be one year from now, two years from now, and even up to three years from now. What are the things you’ll need to reach those goals? Is it support from friends, family, or colleagues? Are you needing extra time in your day to develop skills? Is it extra money to take a night class to upgrade your education?
Take Inventory of Your Skills
You’re not making a resume… but what you are doing is reminding yourself of all the things you can do. Perhaps you’ll notice there are some skills you’re not using in your current role that you could be. Do you have skills that could use some development? Do you have skills that you can teach others, ultimately to make your job easier and eventually free up time for yourself to upgrade a skill or spend more time with loved ones?
Research Your Current Job
Using websites like Payscale, Glassdoor, and Indeed will give you a good idea what other companies are paying, asking of employees, and what employees are saying about their jobs and the companies they work for. You might find that your current job description isn’t aligned with other companies, and it’s important to know this information when seeking out a new job. Either you have the right skills and experience to apply, or you’ll search for the job that best matches your skillset. If you’re happy with your current job and there’s a discrepancy in your job description, consider bringing that to the attention of HR or someone with authority to make that change for you.
Clean Up Your Online Reputation
I’m going to let you in on a recruiter’s secret. They Google search you. They scour the depths of the internet for you… and they will find you! Be sure to clean up your Instagram (or set it to private), make sure there’s nothing unsavory on your Facebook, and update your LinkedIn profile. I did a Google image search on my name and I was on the front page 6 times. I have a pretty common name so I’m sure someone with a not-so-common name might be more easy to find. In other words, make sure you have been untagged from that frat party picture from 2009.
Build Up Your Skills
Now that you know what skills you need to land your dream job or promotion, start prioritizing which ones you want to upgrade or develop for 2018. Look into online courses, meet up groups, or survey your friends and/or colleagues and see if they can help in any way. Part-time post-secondary classes are a great option, but often can be expensive. Discuss with your manager or HR and ask if there are government grants or an education reimbursement option.
Side note: If you feel you don’t have a specific skill to land your dream job, don’t feel that you would be out of the running. In a recent webinar by Lyft on recruitment, they stated that men apply for roles when they meet only 60% of qualifications, while women will only apply when they meet 100%. Don’t sell yourself short!