7 Ways to Jump-Start Your Career in 2012

January 20th, 2012

OK, New Year’s Eve has come and gone, but we’re still early enough into 2012 that you can add a few resolutions to your list, especially when it comes to jump-starting your career.

Start by visualizing today as the last day of the year – you look back with pride over the past 12 months, seeing all you did to advance yourself professionally. It just takes renewed focus and determination to shake things up and chart a new path forward in your life and your career. Here are seven tips to get moving:

  1. Set clear goals. Like most of us, you’re bombarded by distractions and sometimes find it hard to stay focused on what you really want. This is a great time to write down clear-cut career objectives for the year ahead. Ask for a raise. Shoot for a promotion. Aim to become department team leader. (Note: Don’t file your new list away once it’s written. Post it somewhere you can see it to remind yourself on a regular basis.)
  2. Revise your resume. Whether you’re job-hunting or not, resumes need constant refreshing. What have you accomplished lately that’s missing from your resume? Does it just list what your job functions are, without detailing all you’ve achieved? That’s what recruiters are most interested in seeing. Be sure to revise your resume at least once this year.
  3. Less online playtime. Sure, Facebook, Twitter and social networking sites are fun to play with (and can sometimes help with one’s career), but how much time do you spend reading through friends’ accounts of playing with their dog in the park? If this is negatively affecting the quality of your work, best leave it for later.
  4. Learn something new. Whether it’s acquiring new knowledge in your chosen field or branching out into new territory altogether, now’s a good time to learn something new. Take a class, research online, read a book or volunteer with a local organization.
  5. Find a mentor. Learning from someone older and wiser can make a huge difference in a person’s career. Seek out someone at your company or elsewhere in your network who has achieved the kind of success you’re striving for and see if they’ll agree to mentor you.
  6. Strengthen your workplace relationships. Do you hang out with the same people day after day? There are probably many others who could help you professionally working just a few cubicles down. Now’s a good time to expand your in-house professional network.
  7. Think positive! If you don’t like your job, start looking for a way out. If that’s not practical, try to shift to a more accepting attitude of present circumstances and see how you can improve them. This may be the single most important resolution you make for 2012.

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