New Year's resolutions need not be so daunting or difficult, though it is always a time when we reflect and make room for a little personal improvement. While some might decide to make big leaps into different careers, others might be looking for nuanced, manageable resolution inspiration. This year, why not keep it simple and strive for small ways to improve your skills in your current career? It’ll keep the everyday work from being boring and might make you more hireable in the long run.
Here are a couple of inspiring ways you can get better at your career:
1. Get certified in a skill
If you already see how your current career is trending toward certain skills, why not take a few courses and get certified? For writers, it might look like getting SEO-certified or taking courses in data analysis to get better at content strategy. For project managers, that might look like getting the Google Project Management Certificate. LinkedIn Learning also has some good options for a lot of different creative professions. In short, lean into what most interests you so that the classes you take align with your career goals. Certifications and completed courses show both current and potential employers that you are interested in self-development, are a self-starter, and value ongoing learning. Once you complete your classes, don't forget to add your specializations and certifications to the education section of your resume.
2. Host a networking event
Perhaps you’ve spent the last few years working on all the skills, but lack one-on-one time with crucial people in your industry. Why not host a networking event? Make it as large or small as you’d like and use places like LinkedIn and Alignable to spread the word about your event. Ask your friends to help out and invite their peers to your events. You don’t need to rent a space (though you could!). Networking events can be held at libraries, community centers, schools, cafes, parks, or gardens. Ask your local community centers what’s possible and organize wherever you’re able. Paste fliers up around the community, too. You might be surprised who shows up.
3. Finish that personal project you've been thinking about
If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, give yourself permission to just go ahead and do it! You don’t need to work for a company to, say, design packaging for your dream products or create animations for a game. Instead, write your own brief and follow through on a project that means something to you. You’ll be stretching yourself into learning new skills while having a new project to add to your portfolio. Then add your personal projects to websites like Behance and Dribbble in order to get the attention of companies who might be looking for your style. Continue working on personal projects, not just for a potential dream client to take notice, but for your own feeling of accomplishment and happiness.
4. Find a mentor or career coach
Sometimes you don’t need to fully go back to school in order to receive the kind of one-on-one help that a teacher can provide. Some people might benefit from hiring a mentor to offer feedback and instruction in a new aspect of their career. Check out places like CareerFoundry for specialized mentors or hire a career coach, preferably through a friend you trust. Do your research and meet with the person first to see if it’s a good match. Outline your expectations for what you want to achieve so that you are both on the same page with your goals. When your mentorship or coaching sessions are complete, take the time to sincerely thank them for their time, recommend their services to others, and stay in touch.
5. Ask friends and colleagues for feedback
Finally, if mentors or life coaches are out of your budget, turn to friends in your profession. Especially if you are working on a personal project or revamping your resume, you can ask for feedback from talented friends of yours in exchange for future work trades or treats (like a nice dinner). Be respectful of their time and ability to provide feedback, too, remembering we’re all busy and that time is precious to all professionals.
There are so many ways, big and small, to get better at your career this year. If you’re also looking to speak with a recruiter to see where you might be a great fit, we can help!