Although many resolutions are focused on personal development—like losing weight or quitting smoking—many of them are catered toward professional development, such as getting a promotion or finding a better job. Since New Year's resolutions are notorious for being abandoned by February, it's important to approach your professional goals with a concrete plan within your reach. To discover some helpful tips on reaching your own New Year's resolution, consider these.
Resolution #1: Get a promotion
Almost every working professional believes he or she should have a promotion, but a much smaller portion is actually working toward making this wish a reality. To get that coveted promotion, you have to put yourself in a position where you truly deserve it. This means working harder, investing more time and effort in your company by submitting ideas for improvement, and furthering your education to qualify for higher positions. The latter approach can be one of the best ways to show your boss you are a true go-getter. Although you may put your heart and soul into your work, you can still take advantage of educational opportunities by considering online alternatives to further your degree.
Resolution #2: Quit your job
Quitting your job puts you in a slightly less favorable position than the one presented above, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a negative or dramatic step. New years are about new beginnings: out with the old and in with the new. If you've been slaving away at an unfulfilling job with little sign of advancement or improvement, quitting may be a pragmatic decision.
However, if you truly believe your decision is reasonable, then be reasonable in your approach. Submit a formal letter of resignation that respectfully discusses your decision with your boss and co-workers and gives the company adequate time to find a replacement and tie up loose ends. Leaving on good terms not only benefits the company, but also benefits you when searching for a new job.
Further reading at So You Want to Leave a Job You Hate
Resolution #3: Find a job
Following resolution number two, finding a job can be one of the most difficult resolutions to achieve when the economic odds are against you. However, remaining diligent and assertive throughout your search will generally pay off in the end. The first thing you should do is use every resource possible to help you find a job. This could include connecting with the career services department at your alma mater, industry associations, networking groups, and former professors and peers to discover new job leads. All of these resources can put you in the right place to land the job you've been searching for.
Resolution #4: Improve your professional appeal
Improving your professional appeal usually goes hand in hand with any other professional goal or resolution you may have this year. To improve your professional appeal, and to avoid getting into a monotonous routine at work, you can work on your professional development by taking advantage of a number of opportunities. Education should be a number one focus, since it usually has the biggest impact on an employer's opinion of you. Consider going back to school either in a traditional setting or online to enhance your degree. You can also take training courses relevant to your profession to obtain specialist certifications and give yourself extra credibility. If you're not finding any luck in the job market, consider trying out internships to gain experience and develop connections with other professionals in your industry.
Making resolutions is easy, but keeping them is tough. Commit to following each step that gets you closer to a new job, and you might be celebrating next year with a better job and a promising career.
Further reading at 7 Little Known Ways to Jump Start Your Career
Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing and family life. He writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University
and has a keen interest in business blogging and social media.
Image credit Astragony
That’s right folks; I am going philosophical on you today. As great as the quote from Confucius is, the sad truth is that doing what you love is the dream of many, but the reality of few.
I get asked to help people with their job searches, however some people haven’t got a clue what the next job should be, where they are heading and what the longer term plan is. They are currently doing one thing and would consider doing ten different others. This makes it near impossible for me or the person themselves to actually get anywhere with the job search, let alone accepting a job offer down the line when the doubts start kicking in.
Confucius, the über wise man himself, put the truth down in a nice quote that sounds easy enough. The question is, how do you actually go about finding out what you would love to do? Not even a career coach can tell you exactly what you should do; it has to come from you. I don’t claim to be an expert on people’s dream careers but there are three simple questions you can ask yourself today and the answers can give you some guidance. Take a few minutes out of your day to think this over and you will have better clarity as a result. Here we go:
• What is the passion in your life?
• What would you pay to do?
• How would you fill your days if you were a millionaire?
The answers to these three questions are hopefully somewhat similar and will give you a good indication of what your true calling is. Whatever it may be, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it is your childhood dream or what you set out to do before you stumbled upon an different path. Your dream will latently follow you for the rest of your life, your choice is whether to pursue it now or run the risk of having serious regrets later on.
Let’s say we press on. At this point it may seem like the dream activity is impossible to fill your days with unless you are idle rich. Assuming you don't have that kind of money, your best bet will be to map out what others have done. By modeling others’ path to your dream job, you will have the roadmap ready. Ask yourself the three follow up questions:
• Does anybody get paid doing this?
• How could you get paid doing this?
• What is stopping you?
The answer to the final question is usually an amalgamation of excuses such as limiting beliefs, fear of failure, complacency and the all too cozy comfort zone. These objections can all be overcome with clear goals, hard work and belief in yourself.
Let’s take some action
When you have identified exactly what you want to do, the next step is to research the dream job. What companies or organizations do you target, where are the jobs located, do you need any qualifications, who can you contact that is already doing this? Speak to friends and family, professional contacts, scour Linkedin and the rest of the web for clues. The more research you do, the more fired up you will get.
Set some clear objectives and timescales and make sure you take an action every day to edge toward your goal. Get a big wall calendar to fill out your through goals and achievements. This change could be a long process but as long as you are willing to focus on where you are heading, you will get there.
Please note that while all great jobs out there are up for grabs, you have to do a reality check and make sure you are not delusional when pursuing your dream. There will be physical and other limitations that are out of your control. There could of course be very valid obstacles such as family situation or your finances; as a rule however, there is always a solution that can be worked out over time.
In my mind, as soon as you have identified the job you love you should go for it non-stop. Actually taking the decision to pursue your dream can sometimes be harder than achieving it. I say there are only two things you need to get any job; belief in yourself and desire. The rest will somehow take care of itself.
Are you doing the job you love? Why or why not?
You might want to check out How a Career Coach Can Help Your Job Search as well.
Image by Rob Web
The world’s number one fear is not spiders, global warming, nuclear war, space invaders or even death. It may surprise you to read that it is in fact public speaking. Surveys keep confirming that presentation skills are vital to success in the workplace. If you can become that person that gladly steps up to talk, you will earn more, get promoted quicker and your personal brand will be boosted to new and greater heights.
How does one go about to conquer this fear? I am sure there are lots of ways but one that is working for over 250,000 member is Toastmasters International. You may have heard the name before, in a nutshell it’s a public speaking club that was founded in California back in the 1920s and there are now 12,500 clubs around the world, each comprising of about 30 members.
This may sound rather dull and like a support group where a bunch introverts hold hands and try to overcome their fears of public speaking. Au contraire, the members at Toastmasters are anything but shy. I believe most folks that join Toastmasters already have a showman streak in them and their club provides the perfect outlet for this.
7 reasons you should consider Toastmasters:
1. Learn to present and speak before an audience
Presentation skills are crucial in the business world and if you are aspiring to climb the corporate ladder you have to be confident speaker. The speaking and presenting part is what most people expect to learn from Toastmasters so let’s move on.
2. Learn to write and structure a speech
What are you actually going to speak about? Whatever you like, but you have to put it together yourself. The content of your speeches has to be researched, structured, written, re-written, proofread to have the maximum impact. These activities take time and effort but you pick up a knack for it over time.
3. Learn to listen and evaluate others
Some people are born good speakers. They do not tend to be born good listeners as well. If you work in sales, you will know that your ability to listen and understand your client is perhaps the most important aspect to your success. Toastmasters requires you to evaluate other speakers and giving constructive feedback before the group. After you have done your evaluation, prepare to be evaluated yourself, there is no hiding here!
4. Learn leadership skills
Once you are a regular member you will be asked to get involved in organizing and running meetings and other events. These activities take more effort than you would expect but make for excellent training. The sweat equity you put in will be returned to you as invaluable leadership skills that transfer over nicely to the corporate world.
5. Get to know your local community
You club will be made up of people like you, ambitious, curious and keen to improve their lives and careers. You will expand your professional network exponentially by simply showing up to meetings and talking to fellow members. Toastmasters is not an old boys club intended to further each others’ careers but it is one very useful side to it.
6. Gives you a perfect failure platform
At Toastmasters, you can fail as much as you like. Mess up a speech, show up late, forget to print the program, whatever it is you have not done any damage to your career. And perhaps more importantly, it won’t cost you anything to fail. You can basically regard Toastmasters as a sheltered environment where you can expose others to you shortcomings without fear of repercussions. Over time you will learn from any mistakes you make and you will be stronger as a result, trust me I have done quite a few myself (and keep doing them to a lesser extent).
7. Cost effective
Got you attention now? You are looking at a fee of about $100 for 6 months which is not bad considering a corporate speaking course could cost that per hour. The lion’s share of your membership dues will go towards the room hire, the rest to the global HQ which provides you with course manuals and other handy things. Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization and your meeting is run by functionaries who are basically unpaid volunteers (and before long, you will become one as well).
I found Toastmasters through a Google search, looked up a club near to me (The Grosvenor Square Speakers in London) and went down to check it out. Guests are always welcome and there is no obligation to join up.
After a few meetings I made my mind up to join. When I announced it at the club, this elderly Irish fellow came over to where I was sat, firmly shook my hand and said “son, this is the best decision you have ever made”. That to me was a very powerful endorsement that has stuck in my mind ever since.
Once I started speaking and getting in to the swing of things, I somehow ended on the club committee and I have realized that the many facets to Toastmastering have been very conducive to my business and career. I never did see that Irishman again, perhaps he was a guest, perhaps he was the resident ghost of Toastmasters – whatever the case I am very happy I joined.
Call to action
Is public speaking something you fear? Did you think Toastmasters was related to sliced bread? Please feel free to leave a comment!
Having done recruitment for long, I know that most of us have a think over the holidays and come up with revolutionary plans for January and the year ahead. Some of us follow through on these plans, some of us don’t. What are the factors that make for effective resolutions? Well, these are rules that work for me and people around me so I thought I’d share them well before you start getting to work on next years action plans.
1. Make them achievable
Don’t cheat yourself when making resolutions. If your goal was to quit smoking this year and the last 7 years, you are not very likely to kick the habit next year. If you set a goal that you won’t achieve, it will only have a demoralizing effect on your psyche and you are worse off. Be honest with yourself and set objectives that will challenge and stretch you but definitely are achievable with hard work.
2. Make them measurable
What gets measured, get done as the wise fellow said. Buying a house on stilts, travelling to Patagonia, auditioning for the X-Factor are all goals that you will know when you have achieved. Merely saying ‘learning old church Slavonic’ isn’t good enough, it has to be more detailed than that. Make it: ‘will take 50 lessons and pass exam level B and be able to order fine wine at a restaurant in Slavonia’. If you can come up with milestones or through goals, that’s even better as you can track your progress easier.
3. Write everything down