By Yvonne Milosevic
Resolution #1 Leave a job that’s making you miserable.
This is Square One and the most crucial career resolution you can make this year. There are several tell-tale signs that your job is crushing your soul. Maybe you’re burned out or feel like you’ve hit a dead-end, career-wise. Do you have no work/life balance? Or, has your job morphed into something you don’t even recognize? Perhaps your supervisor wants to groom you for a new position you have zero interest in.
If you don’t enjoy what you spend at least a third of your life doing, then something needs to change. Keep your eyes open for fresh opportunities in 2020, and start updating your CV in the High Score Resume format now.
Resolution #2 Develop your skills and enhance your knowledge.
As Henry Ford used to say, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” No matter what career stage you’re in, there’s always room for improvement. Take note of your weaknesses and make this the year you address them head-on.
For example, if you need to strengthen your public speaking prowess, see if there’s an opportunity to address the crowd at a company event or conference. Take a course to learn or improve a skill that’s missing from your toolbox. If your employer offers any professional development or continuing education programs, for heaven’s sake, take advantage of the free opportunity! Continue to build up your resume in 2020 by developing expertise that will make you more marketable later.
Resolution #3 Read an actual book.
Did you know that reading can make you more employable? No matter what industry you work in, you can find a killer title that will motivate and enlighten you in 2020. Choose whatever genre—business, biography, fiction—tickles your fancy. (If you need inspo, check out these titles recommended by the profs at Stanford GSB.)
Now before you say, ain’t nobody got time for that, consider this modest but meaningful goal. Read three books over the next six months. That means reading one 300-page book every two months, or 150 pages per month. That’s just five pages a day. Anyone can do five pages a day—especially when the result is becoming a more engaging and knowledgeable person.
Resolution #4 Take more risks.
Most people love the safety of routines. But getting out of our comfort zone, even (or especially) if it makes us feel awkward, scared, or foolish, is the key to personal growth. Risk acts as an accelerator, pushing you to reach higher in work and life.
In fact, taking risks early in your career—when you have less to lose and more time to make up for mistakes—can set you up for greater success down the road. Oh, and you don’t have to jump out of a plane or swim with sharks to reap the benefits that come from having new experiences. Even something slightly out of your routine is enough to shake things up.
Resolution #5 Up your networking game
Sure, you have your eye out for any opportunity to gain a foothold on the next rung of your career ladder. But when it comes to making the relationships that could help you get there, ‘tis better to give than receive. When you meet someone new at an event, try to learn more about their goals or challenges. Instead of pitching yourself, find ways to meet their needs, even if they’re not asking for it at the moment.
It can feel awkward to hit up acquaintances when you’re looking for a new job or considering a career switch—especially for introverts. If you haven’t invested much effort lately into cultivating your network, it’s time to get busy. If you don’t see those contacts IRL, reconnect through social media. Comment on/like their posts and share articles that would interest them. Focus on making meaningful connections, and you’ll develop those solid relationships that will prove invaluable as your career progresses.
Resolution #6 Find a (new) mentor.
We can all benefit from having a mentor who challenges us and acts as a stellar sounding board. If they can open some doors that lead to fresh new career opportunities, even better, because let’s face it—change is rarely easy. You may feel stuck at work but struggle with the decision to make a significant career pivot. Maybe you need guidance for managing workplace relationships. Or need help sorting out your ambitious career goals and creating a roadmap to achieve them.
Having a trusted coach or mentor at your side can make those changes less scary. If your current adviser seems disinterested in your success, that could signal that it’s time to make a change. Read these tips for finding the perfect mentor in 2020.