The New Year is a traditional time to set personal resolutions. They are a kind of promise we make to ourselves to change something that bothers us. Your career may be bothering you. Ultimately the feeling of unhappiness creeps in during January when we have time to reflect on what could make us happier in the future.
Happiness comes in various forms. It could be more money, maybe a shorter commute, or a more meaningful position. Maybe it’s just a much needed change in jobs or careers.
Whatever is nagging your happiness vibe, there are some ways to kick start the New Year with self indulging career activities.
Here are 3 New Years Resolutions to help you find a new career:
1. Research to gain a clear perspective on what will actually make you happy. Make research a regular part of your day when you are looking for a new career. Look at BLS.gov to learn detailed information on salaries, job outlook, and duties about thousands of careers and job descriptions in a wide range of industries. Find first specific industries that interest you, and then look for specific job descriptions. Also, join industry groups on LinkedIn and so that you can ask questions and read posts from people in the industry to gain a perspective on industry culture and activities. Using the veil of being a student or prospective industry professional and seek out HR folks to perform informational interviews in order to learn about the industry hiring practices.
2. Reflect on your current skills and skills gaps that are obstacles to achieving career goals. Once you know what you know and what you need to know for the career you want, make a learning plan. This is the time to figure out how to build the skills you need to get what you want from your career. Force yourself to be involved with at least two formal learning experiences every 3 months. Try volunteering, attending conferences & workshops, interning, taking classes, and practicing the craft on your own pro bono. Make new learning and skill-building a priority and look for learning opportunities like free webinars and free online classes from places like Kahn Academy. Even if you don’t have experience in a new industry, skills allow you to break in and get a job.
3. Build your professional identity. Update your social media pages with new goals and skills and ask for recommendations. Create a new resume that is even clearer and more focused than previous versions and includes improved skills, project URL’s, and social media addresses. Develop new cover letter versions that address added or forgotten skills and connect with your new career path. Make a Web portfolio to showcase what you can do and what you have done. Portfoliovillage.com and other DIY websites allow you to create a powerful website with programming skills. This is a great way to excel past the competition and keep your “brand” online and relevant.
Make these broad resolutions part of your new year plan to get more happiness in your career. Start in January and make a goal to follow a three month plan that addresses each resolution one month at a time. Commit to yourself that the consequence of not acting is continued unhappiness. Make your career search an active project that you work on like a part time job if you are working or as a full time job if you are not. Don’t settle for unhappiness in your career because of inactivity, ambiguity, or fear. I hope these constructive career changing resolutions make 2014 a happy, healthy career year.
You can follow Dr. John DiMarco on @drdimarco
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