How To Take Your Career Forward In The New Year

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The year 2020 has been challenging to say the least. Many employees have been forced to take salary cuts, sent on unpaid leave, or laid off from their jobs. The new year is the right time to put those unpleasant memories behind and start afresh on an optimistic note.

To take your career forward in the new year, it is essential to improve your employability to stay ahead of other jobseekers. With the economy opening up, and hiring gradually improving, here are a few steps you could take to power your career forward.

1. Get Clarity on Your Professional Goals

This is the basic step to growing your career in the new year. The good thing is that you only need to ask yourself for an answer. Some of the things to consider are:

  • What goal do you want to achieve?
  • What actions should you take which can take you closer to those goals?
  • Are the goals and tasks you have listed, realistic?

Once you know what your goals are, and the tasks you must undertake to achieve them, you can break them up into smaller parts and set plausible deadlines. You could divide your objectives into primary and secondary goals, while eliminating those you deem redundant.

2. Skills Enhancement

Now that you have some clarity on your goals, you need the skills to realise them. You might need to brush up on some of your skills or learn totally new ones. In today’s fast-evolving world, it is always a good idea to update yourself with the latest skillsets. These could include learning Python for a coder, or WordPress editing for a communications expert.

Skills enhancement is useful both, for seeking a new job, as well as upgrading your profile in the current organisation. Adding new skills is a great way to show employers that you are serious about your career, and willing to work hard to achieve your objectives.

3. Networking

This is one of the most important, and sadly, one of the most neglected aspects of career advancement. Networking can open new doors of opportunities at the unlikeliest of places. Professional networking services, such as LinkedIn, your school and university alumni associations, former colleagues, mentors, and managers can be good sources of networking.

There is nothing that works better than a referral when it comes to a potential job opportunity! Whether you get selected or not will depend on how well you are suited for the role, but a referral gives you the opportunity to at least appear for an interview.

Networking is always more effective than a cold call in securing that first shot towards an interview or a job role.

4. Updating Your Resume

If you are applying for a new role in your organisation, and definitely outside, one of the first things to do is update your resume.

To your potential employers, you are a faceless entity. They don’t know you personally, professionally, and since they have not seen you work, won’t have any notion about your professional skills in smartly executing a task. Your resume is their first introduction to your professional expertise and capabilities.

5. Update Your Online Profile

Like your resume, it is also important to update your online profile. Most recruiters tap job and networking sites like LinkedIn while looking for candidates for their organisations. An updated profile not only allows them to carry out a correct assessment of your candidacy, but also stands out as an example of your career-oriented mindset.

Not only professional sites like LinkedIn, it is also important to take a hard look at your social media profiles. Recruiters nowadays tend to make it a point to browse through candidates’ Facebook and Twitter pages so that they are alerted if something is amiss. If you come across as being controversial, racist or non-accommodating—in other words, don’t conform to the right societal norms—then your application could be in danger.

6. Your Physical and Mental Health

Stress caused by factors like work pressure, job losses and pay cuts can take a major toll on health. It may lead to anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, diabetes, blood pressure problems and other lifestyle diseases. Despite the temptation to neglect physical activity, it is important to devote some time to keeping your body fit and your mind active. Exercise, meditation, nutritious food and proper sleep are necessary to remain fit and perform well at work.

New Beginnings 

With the end of the pandemic in sight, the economy is likely to improve and professional opportunities could be plentiful once again. The new year could the right time to resume thinking about your career goals and make plans to pursue them once again.

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