Spring is a time of renewal, a time to make household repairs, plant a garden, or lose the spare tire that mysteriously appeared sometime between Halloween and New Year’s Day. Dusting off the cobwebs from a long, dark, cold winter also applies to your career.
Be it a refocus, a restart, or a change in direction these tips should help you get started and set the course for a great year.
Find your resume: This may sound funny, but unless you’re actively searching for your next role, you may have no idea where this is.
Update it: What does your resume say about you? There is really no better place to highlight who you are as a professional, your skills, and accomplishments. The exercise of reviewing past projects can also serve as a mini pat on the back too.
Stash it away, but don’t forget about it: Now that we’re up to date, let’s keep it that way. Revisiting your resume every year or bi-yearly is good exercise in reflecting where you’ve been and where you’re headed.
Remember though, as is often the case with resumes, more is less. Shoot for a short, engaging paperback not ‘War and Peace’.
Chances are if you’re reading this post you’re not asking yourself “What is social media?” but even the most social-savvy professionals can clean this area up.
Update your LinkedIn profile: Like your resume, this is often ignored. This is a great place to highlight recent projects, promotions, and other changes in your career. This is also an opportunity for new opportunities to find you or to find new connections.
Clean up your Twitter Feed: Twitter is a great source of news and happenings in bite size pieces, but if you let your feed get overgrown (like your lawn) it can be overwhelming to keep up with. Trimming (and adding) from time to time will really help to focus your consumption and strengthen your connections and interactions in this space.
Find a new Social Media space to play in: It might be connecting with like-minded professionals on Facebook or posting something on Github or StackOverflow. There are lots of places and resources you can easily use to expand your network.
Identify Areas of Growth: What do you want to learn this year to add to your career toolkit? What skills or experience will land you that promotion or new role? This could be a leadership workshop, adding a new technical skill, or even going back to school for your MBA.
Make a plan: Now that you’ve identified what you want to learn, make a plan to execute on this. Does your company offer the curriculum? Will you need to attend a conference or go back to school? Map this out and set goals along the way. Think of this as your roadmap to future success.
Celebrate Wins: As you hit your learning and development goals throughout the year, celebrate your wins (the next section might help with this too). This will make learning new skills easier and will provide the much needed motivation along the way.
Give yourself a carrot
Not all our goals need to be deadlines met and projects completed. Sometimes something on the horizon like a vacation, a new sport you’ve been dying to try, or a quick getaway (the carrot J) to look forward to gives us the extra motivation to really do great things. After all, the saying goes Work to Live NOT Live to Work.