My new client Chris came to mein a pretty dire situation… He was burnt out, and, on top of that, pretty sure that he was about to lose his job, given that his company had already done several rounds of layoffs, and he wasn’t getting along with his boss.
It wasn’t pretty.
Fortunately for Chris, I was able to help him land a new job (with a pay increase!) before his fears were brought to life, but the reality is that too many workers create their careers from a reactive mindset. But if you’re sick of your job and ready to move on, know that a solid job search doesn’t happen overnight. After all, the proactive job seekers are the ones who end up in intentional jobs; the reactive counterparts end up in yet another job they don’t love. I don’t want that for you—you deserve better than that.
In the spirit of all the “new year, new you,” I’ve been seeing, here are six proactive career steps you need to make for 2017, regardless of whether you’re actively job searching.
- Update your resume and LinkedIn. Keeping your credentials up-to-date is so important, even if you’re not in the job market. More and more employers are recruiting passive candidates, so you never know who will be checking you out online. Make sure your resume style is on point, and use these tips for avoiding the resume black hole.
- Build your skillset. Employers want employees who are motivated to learn new skills, even more than they want employers who are willing to work long hours. The top skills employers want their employees to improve are communication, leadership, and job-related skills. Adding one of these to your resume or building upon an existing one is an excellent way to give your career a boost.
- Improve your mindset. Happy employees are good employees. The more you can keep your mindset positive and inspired, the more productive and engaged you will be in your work. Check out these inspirational TED talks, and make sure you’re not guilty of any of these career-sabotaging behaviors.
- Build your network. Like, yesterday. Don’t wait until your next job search to get moving. Building and maintaining a solid professional network is one of the most important things you can do for yourself professionally, regardless of your employment status.
- Read more. Whether it’s signing up for a blog or reading an academic journal, keeping up with the latest trends in your field will keep you engaged and updated in your field. Staying abreast of changes and developments in your field will set you apart from your colleagues and demonstrate your commitment to your career.
- Find a mentor. Working with mentors has changed my life. And you don’t just have to take my word for it. One study revealed that mentoring had a number of favorable benefits to the mentees, including improved behavior, attitudes, and health as well as higher motivation and better career outcomes. Another study in Canada had similar results. Finding the right mentor isn’t always easy, but these helpful tips can set you on the right path.
Don’t let yourself slip into a career rut like Chris did. Even if you’re perfectly content with where your career stands now, focusing on your professional development will ensure your continued success and will help you be prepared for where your career is headed next.
These six easy resolutions will help put you on that path, but remember: the best careers are proactive. Leave that reactivity in 2016!