No matter how you cut it, the start of a new year holds a lot of excitement. It’s an opportunity to have a fresh start in whatever areas life you choose—and for many of us, prioritizing reinventing our careers is at the top of that list.
Whether you want to finally get the pay raise you know you deserve, get a promotion you’ve been working hard for, or want to switch fields altogether, we have the insight on how to make 2022 your career’s best year yet.
1. Utilize the time you have right now
First things first: the way things are panning out now, most of us are going to be home a lot this winter. Of course, you should spend some of those hours on Netflix binges and taking care of yourself, but also recognize that you have a little more time on your hands than you used to.
Now is the time to set aside a Saturday afternoon to polish up your resume. Use Monday night to update your LinkedIn and connect with old colleagues and professional acquaintances. Dedicate 30 minutes each morning to catching up on job postings. Utilize this time wisely because—hopefully—at some point in the near future, you won’t have all this free time at home.
2. Think about where you want to go
You’re using that time you have at home as best you can, so it’s time to make a vision board. Maybe it’s a paper and scissors kind of deal, or perhaps you take to Pinterest. Whatever feels right to you, use this opportunity to think about where you want to go in 2022.
Could you find fulfillment in a variation on your current role, or is it a total overhaul that you’re looking for? Do you enjoy the skills you use daily and just need a change of industry or company? Or is it the industry you love, but you want to transition teams? Think about what these answers mean for your next role… and the next.
3. Check out what others are doing
When it comes to your career and where you want to go, there is no one correct road map, and sometimes seeing a road that’s already been paved can add some guidance and clarity to your own search. Hop on LinkedIn and search people who already have the positions you’re interested in in the future. See how they describe themselves and their own experience, and then go down that LinkedIn rabbit hole and see where it leads you to give you inspiration.
Want to know more? Reach out! Find something relevant in their resume that you want to know more about or something quirky you two have in common. Add them as a connection and ask a specific question to strike up a conversation. Remember, there’s a human on the other side and most people want to be helpful where they can—but you need to give them a concrete ask from which to work.
4. Take stock of your experience and how it might apply outside of your role
When you look at your job description, does it encompass everything you do? Often, the answer is no. If there’s an area you’re eager to explore, it’s probably because you’ve been exposed to it somewhere in your day-to-day responsibilities. How can you convey that on your resume? Can you add a bullet or two that emphasizes those pieces of your roles that you enjoy most, even if they aren’t what defines your position?
A job description isn’t static. You’re not just regurgitating what was on the listing you applied to three years ago. Think about what you’ve learned, what you’ve enjoyed, and how you can spin your experience to fit the roles you do want.
Feel like you still don’t have the experience? Consider how roles you have outside of work might apply. Do you volunteer with an organization and work on their magazine? Do you organize events? Volunteer work is still very much work and you’ve earned the right to use it on your resume.
5. Map out your next steps
Once you’ve looked at the paths that others took and assessed your own experience, map out a tentative plan for your next role. If you’re making a huge career shift, it may not be an immediate switch, but rather a two, three, or four-point turn.
Any career change, both big or small, takes time and can be a winding road, so remember that just because your next steps aren’t what you thought they’d be, doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting closer to where you want to be.
6. Enroll in an online course to learn a new skill
Have a little extra down time at home these days? Utilize those down hours during the week to identify skills you might be lacking or areas that could be holding you back from transitioning to a new role or shifting your career entirely. Feel like your marketing career could benefit from Google Analytics? Get your certification. Always wanted to pursue web design? Find a course online. If all else fails, YouTube it. Now’s the time to teach yourself the skills that might be holding you back from pursuing your next big role.
7. Be patient
No matter what happens, you have the motivation and the drive to make this the year that you reinvent your career. And, whether or not it brings your dream role on Jan. 1, you’re positioning yourself to find fulfillment in the moment and gain new skills along the way.
Keep that resume updated, and remember, it’s never the wrong time to make a pivot or total 180-degree transition—particularly when it feels as if the entire world has been turned upside down. What better opportunity than now to take a step back and flip your career script on its head?! You’ve got this.