3 Tips To Advance Your Career In The New Year

 As the calendar turns to January 1st, we once again start imagining what the coming year will be like. This year, go beyond imagining and take action. You have the power to shape your career, and the key to doing so is already in your hands. Here are three actions you must take if you want to advance your career this year.

Get clear on your goals.

Getting clear on your goals must be your number one priority. If you aren’t clear on what you want, you won’t be clear on how to get it. This can derail even your best efforts for advancement. Take some time to think about where you’d like to be in six months or a year. Think about what you’re happy with how and what you wish you could change. Is a new job on the horizon? A promotion? Staying in your current role but taking on more responsibility? Once you’re clear on what you want, that becomes your goal.

With your goals set, the next step is to turn them into action plans. Identify what you need to do to achieve success, then break things down into smaller, more manageable steps to take. Think about the skills you’ll need to learn, improve, or strengthen and how you’ll do this. From there, create a timeline and use each step as a micro goal to check off on your way towards accomplishing the big goal.

Invest in your professional development.

There are many ways to learn, so there’s no excuse not to invest in your development. Learning new skills not only helps you succeed at work but also helps prevent boredom and stagnation. Choose from options such as online courses, live virtual training, business coaching, or simply reading a book. There’s no wrong way to learn.

Online courses and live virtual training are great for developing specific skills and come with the bonus of earning a certification or professional development credits. You can add these skills or courses to your resume to showcase your abilities and help set yourself up for a promotion or a new job.

Coaching is ideal for overall development, overcoming challenges, and working on soft skills. Working one on one with a coach means that learning will be 100% customized to meet your specific needs. Coaching can help you improve your performance in your current role, prepare you for a new job, and advance your career.

Make networking a priority.

Having a strong network is a must in today’s business world. Think of your professional network as a support system that’s there to help you grow and advance your career. It should include mentors, co-workers, people in your industry, people you look up to, and people who inspire you.

This year, focus on both building new connections and strengthening existing ones. Reach out to people in your network that you haven’t been in touch within a while and ask them how they’re doing or share an article you think they’d like. Make it about them first, not about you, to avoid coming across as spammy or self-promotional. Once you’ve reestablished the connection, you can ask for advice or help.

To make new connections, look for virtual networking events, community forums, or Slack channels. To make the most of these options, you need to be active. Take part in discussions and share relevant content to showcase your expertise.  Don’t be afraid to make the first move and reach out to connect with someone. Invite them for a 15-minute virtual coffee to build a relationship quicker than simply over text.

If you make all three of these things a priority, you’ll be sure to advance your career in 2021.

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