Happy New Year! Are you back at work and getting settled into the swing of things? As always, these first weeks of January are a good time to think about setting some new year resolutions and career goals for the year ahead.
This year, you might have your heart set on getting a promotion, landing your dream job, or moving your career in a new direction. Maybe you’re entirely happy in your current role, but want to improve the way you manage deadlines, or develop new leadership skills?
Whatever your goals are this year, taking the time to invest in your professional development is one of the best things you can do for your career. By taking charge of your own development, you can make sure you’re filling in any skills gaps and keeping up-to-date with current knowledge in your industry. You’ll also feel more in control of your own happiness and direction.
Here are three things you can do to start the new year off on the right foot, while making 2018 your most successful career year yet.
Have you never really been all that keen on setting new year resolutions or goals?
That’s fine – if you’re happy to find yourself in the exact same place this time next year. But if you want to change things up, you’ll need to get real about goal setting, especially when it comes to your career.
Like it or not, goal-setting is the best way to achieve results. To get where you want to go in 2018, you’ll need to map out a clear pathway of what you want the year ahead to look like. Goals, both short and long-term, act as a catalyst to help direct you where you want to be.
Take some time to look back at 2017 and take stock of the year’s events. Think about what you achieved professionally. Also think about what you wish you’d done differently. Is there anything you weren’t proud of, or could have handled better? Opportunities you didn’t take advantage of because you were too busy, or scared, or just couldn’t be bothered?
These questions will help you identify things you need to improve, work on, or eliminate, in order to reach your goals.
Let’s say you didn’t go for that higher role because you weren’t feeling all that confident about your public speaking skills? Or you let yourself get really run down and burnt out at work? You can then start outlining a plan of attack – to improve your interview skills, manage your stress levels… you get the idea. Identifying the areas in which you want to see positive change is the first step in achieving your goals.
Make sure you’re setting goals that are realistic, specific, and measurable. Your new goals will help keep you on track and accountable throughout the year. Put them somewhere visible and check in on yourself regularly.
Start the year by thinking about exactly what it is you want from your career. If you feel that you’re getting what you need from your job and employer, that’s great!
But if you’re dragging yourself back to a job that you hate, use the fresh energy of the new year to look realistically at your work satisfaction. Because you’re most likely on the wrong track.
One of the main reasons why people are unhappy in their jobs is that their work, career or employer is at odds with their values. Often, employees won’t even realise their dissatisfaction stems from this mismatch – there’s just a general feeling that something isn’t quite right.
While not everyone can have the luxury of working in a job that aligns perfectly with their values, or feels endlessly emotionally rewarding or meaningful, it is important to find some satisfaction in your daily work – even if that job is simply a stepping stone to somewhere else.
This year, think about what your personal values actually are. What motivates and inspires you? What are your passions? This will help you identify what exactly it is that you need from a job role and an employer (besides a pay cheque).
If you’re stuck in your current role for the time being, get to work on an action plan that will help move you further towards a job or industry that is more in line with your values. This will allow you to stay true to yourself and your goals and derive more happiness from your current situation.
Those goals you set in step one? The career track you’ve identified in step two?
This is the learning pathway you need to be on in 2018. And professional development training is what’s going to help get you there.
Many employees rely solely on the training provided by their employer for their career development – but there’s nothing stopping you from spending your own time learning and developing new skills. With so many online courses and eLearning solutions available, there’s never been a better time for employees to take charge of their professional development.
Think about the gaps in your skill set that are preventing you from achieving your goals. It’s very likely that you can find high-quality eLearning courses that provide training in those areas.
It’s not just technical skills that can be developed through online learning. Many employers these days are placing great emphasis on soft skills – those skills that help us become better communicators, leaders and team players.
Online training and eLearning courses are great for brushing up on your soft skills, while also showing potential employers that you’re committed to self-improvement in this area. And if you’re looking to change fields or industries, you can identify the courses you need to complete to move forward in this new direction.
As we said before, whatever your goals are, there’s nothing to stop you from learning in your own time and it’ll be well worth it in the long run!