Turns out, June-uary resolutions are a real thing. If you’re like me and are wondering where 2019 went, it’s a good time to take stock of all the success we can still create in the months ahead. These are 10 commitments I’m making to myself on the career front that I intend to tackle before the year ends.
1. I will acquire a skill outside of my comfort zone.
We often gravitate to things we’re good at. Year after year, we can rack up learning experiences in skills we actually love, leaving the trickier stuff for another day. These last six months of the year, let’s commit to start some learning around the things a little outside of our comfort zone. I’ll be scanning Edx, Udemy, and Skillshare for free and low-cost classes on data science, design, and programming. (Pssst. We’ve got some pretty fun learning ideas here too.)
2. I will join an office networking program.
It’s time to expand the circle. Most offices today have some sort of affinity group or networking organization that can expand your connections at the office and hook you up with some new 9-5 friends. Remote employee? This is even more important, and making connections with others at your place of employment doesn’t have to rely on in-person coffee meetings. Nothing like this around, you say? No problem. You’re the perfect gal to start the new next gen leadership networking forum.
3. I will ask for that raise.
Sometime in the next six months, we’re all likely to be in the mix for a performance review of some sort. Polish off that brag sheet that itemizes all the impact you’ve created in your role this year. (Or start keeping those notes now!) Asking for the raise is about documenting your success and regularly communicating your value to management. Yes, you can do it.
4. I will plot out my my next career chapter.
Six months out is the perfect amount of time to start charting some actual action items against a new role you’d like to explore. Might it be at a new company? Start scoping LinkedIn and hitting up industry conferences to meet new people in your field. Inside your current four walls? Start some informational interviews and see if you can hook up with a new department on a joint project.
A new role doesn’t have to be immediately on the horizon to make these moves. In fact, the more social capital you’re able to build up with people over time, the easier it will be to jump to a new position exactly when you’re ready. These small steps over time are the very things that position you for all kinds of unexpected opportunities.
5. I will learn to have hard conversations with co-workers.
We all have that one co-worker we avoid. Maybe they’re not pulling their weight on a team project, or perhaps they’re just generally difficult to deal with. Over the next six months let’s promise to add to our emotional intelligence toolkit and pick up some skills for how to have hard conversations.
6. I will understand my personal brand.
Whether we think we’re creating one or not, we’re all actively developing a personal brand at the office. So, it’s best to lean into the reality of how this can further your career goals. Think across four dimensions of polishing up your persona. First, your foundational skills are the things that help get the job done. Does your boss know you’re excelling here? Do you need to work on your technical know-how or presentation skills over the next six months?
Second, be sure your network is growing, diverse, and that you are actively connecting and returning the favors of people who have helped you along. Third, how’s your executive presence? From how we dress to how we present, this element goes a long way to conveying competence and confidence. Last, are your brand materials up to date? This means your LinkedIn should be in top shape, with SEO optimized with keywords for the jobs you care about. Your resume should be fresh and you should have a soft commitment from previous managers at the ready to write you a recommendation if that dream job pops up.
7. I will find low-stakes and high-stakes audiences to practice tough stuff.
I could stand to dust up my presentation skills in front of large groups. I need lower-stakes places to do that where I’m feeling less stressed about the material and where I know that I’ll have a friendly audience. Experiences like these help boost your confidence for the tough stuff. Finding other forums that are “high stakes” or have harder material to convey helps build those skills for the next stage of our work journey.
8. I will max out my work benefits based on my lifestyle.
The end of the year is a great time to review benefits and be sure we’re taking advantage of all the things that our employees offer. Start looking at how you might be able to increase your retirement savings through employer contributions. Alternatively, hunt down those lesser-known perks like gym discounts or commuter benefits that you might be leaving on the table!
9. I will give back to someone earlier in their career journey.
It can be easy for us to feel pretty internally focused when we think about our career journeys, but few things are more fulfilling than sharing what you’ve learned along the way with someone a little earlier along. Being a mentor can happen in small moments, so don’t get hung up on feeling like you need to take a junior employee under your wing for the rest of the year. A few well-timed, encouraging words before a client meeting or a coffee pre-game before a big project can go a long way.
10. I will fit my career in my life, not the other way around.
And last, but arguably most importantly, let’s promise to not make our work world our whole world. While our jobs should be exciting enough to get us out of bed every day, our lives are made of so much more. Over these next few months, I’m recommitting to the mindset that my job is just one of the many pieces of my life that add up to who I am.
READY FOR A CHANGE?