The New Year is coming, and you’re making a list of resolutions. And if you’ve got a few related to your career, you might want to consider ditching the typical to-dos and adopting these more unconventional resolutions instead.
If you’re shooting for a raise or promotion next year, you might be thinking about putting in longer hours to prove your worth. But Doug Ringer, president of Fort Collins, Colorado-based business consultancy Doug Ringer Consulting, says it’s a better idea to “get a life.”
Ringer has worked with leaders at Honeywell, GE, Ericsson, and Schneider Electric to help them make business-growth decisions. He says that employees who are burned out from working excessively or not finding any balance in their lives aren’t going to perform exceptionally. So, be sure you’re taking time to recharge. It could even make you better at your job–or lead to an entirely new career.
LIMIT YOUR GOALS
The inclination to set goals can often have us creating–or receiving from our bosses–a laundry list of must-do achievements. But Ringer says that if you have more than about three big goals in the mix, you’re likely to dilute your effort and accomplish very little.
“If you have more than three goals, you have no goals,” he says. Carefully choose what you really want to accomplish. If your supervisor is overloading you with goals, work with your supervisor to identify the three highest-priority achievements, he says. “For the sake of the company, because the goals are set based on the company’s requirements, and for the sake of the employee, so that they can provide the best value for the company all the time. They have to learn how to say no,” he says.
START A SIDE-HUSTLE
Most people are more creative and effective when they’re working from a place of confidence and security. For some people, having an extra income or a side business that lets them work on something for themselves can help foster those feelings and make them better at their day jobs, says Donna Shannon, founder of Personal Touch Career Services in Westminster, Colorado.
“The lack of dependency on a single paycheck will make them better contributors for their employers. They are less concerned about the consequences of losing their job, so they take more risk and are more vocal about needed improvements and impending problems,” she says.
SPRING FOR A PROFESSIONAL RESUME REVIEW
Sure, you can have your best friend or mentor look at your resume to spot typos and make sure the grammar is correct. But, as more companies rely on technology to sort resumes, you also need someone who is in the thick of industry trends and changes, Shannon says. For example, two years ago, the position “customer success manager” didn’t exist, she says. Today, it’s an important role between an onboarding specialist and an account manager. Without industry knowledge, the resume reviewer wouldn’t know that.
Your resume reviewer also needs to ensure that your resume is peppered with the keywords and phrases that will make you a match for the job. These fall into two categories, she says. “Smart keywords” are those that relate directly to your work, such as “account management,” “prospecting,” or “uses Microsoft Word.” The other category, which she calls “stupid keywords,” are the cliché words and phrases such as “team player” or “excellent communication skills” that some might tell you to omit, but which still matter to technology platforms.
“We know we hate them, and you can read lots of advice online that says don’t put that in there, but unfortunately, if HR is using terms like that in the job description and you don’t have it in your resume, the computers could screen you out,” she says. “The computers want a 60% to 70% match before a human being even sees you and that includes stupid keywords.” You need to know what the technology and recruiters look for.
ASK DIFFERENT QUESTIONS
While many people start out the year asking “how can I get a raise or promotion,” that’s probably the wrong question to be asking, says Lauren Herring, CEO of St. Louis, Missouri-based career coaching firm IMPACT Group. “Go a little bit deeper and ask yourself what your career goals are,” she says. Questions might include:
- What do you want to happen in the next three to five years?
- If you want a promotion, what does that look like?
- Do you want your boss’s job?
- Do you want to switch companies into a more senior role?
There are many actions you can take to move your career forward, but you want to be sure you’re moving it in the right direction,” she says. “Really think about what that specific next steps stuff is, and then figure out the strategic plan for getting there.”