New Year resolutions/Taking Control of Your Career

In January, many people welcome the New Year with a list of resolutions including a promise to improve their professional lives.
In addition to losing weight and spending more time with family, many people will vow to improve their professional lives in the coming year. According to research, one of the top 10 most popular New Year's resolutions is job-related. However, in the busy months that follow, many of these goals are forgotten and never achieved. Here are 10 keys you need to realize your professional objectives and take control of your career in 2009

1. Explore career options
Reflect on your job by asking yourself these questions: Does my current position utilize my professional abilities and talents? Am I maximizing my earning potential? Am I doing what I was born to do or something that I’m passionate about? If the answer is an overwhelming “no,” assess your work style and personal characteristics and discover a career field that highlights them.

2. Brush up on job skills
On the other hand, if your career suits you, take time to better yourself at what you do. Stand out from other employees by completing the latest training and updating your industry expertise. With an Internet connection, work-force development is at your fingertips. You can peruse, which offers numerous career-training courses in a number of languages, from the comfort of home - to find convenient options that will bolster your skill sets and strengthen your résumé.

3. Meet with your boss
Instead of guessing at your strengths and weaknesses; gain the input you need directly from your boss. Schedule a lunch or sit down over coffee to get his or her opinion on skills that will boost your advancement possibilities. Meeting regularly to review performance will help you re-evaluate goals and set priorities.

4. Set realistic career goals
Identify what you want to accomplish professionally by the end of the year and write them down in order of priority. Your goals may include improving current work performance, being promoted to a job that you're qualified for or making a complete career switch. Just make sure each goal is specific and attainable.

5. Establish a plan of action
Think of the required steps you need to take to get your career goals under way, and put them down on paper. Give yourself deadlines to follow, but keep them realistic. Remember that becoming CEO of a company does not happen overnight.

6. Start preparing now
What are you waiting for? Get a head start on your career goals today. Make a list of career challenges to conquer this week and celebrate your achievements along the way. The small steps today will lead to big accomplishments down the road.

7. Get organized
Take time in the slow weeks at work to rearrange your files so they are more organized and efficient. Start by archiving anything you haven’t used in the last year into a file cabinet farther from your desk, leaving the files used daily closer and less cluttered.

8. Analyze your workday for efficiencies
Practice better time management this year. Are you making your phone calls when people are normally at their desk (8:00-9:30), rather than in meetings or at lunch (10:00-1:00)? Are you spending too much time on certain activities? Make a to-do list before you leave the office and dedicate the next day to completing those tasks.

9. Boost work relationships
Strong relationships with people you work with can develop in small ways. For example, keep a positive attitude when working with others or key co-worker birthdays into your calendar and recognize them on their special day. Maintaining good relationships with colleagues will not only make the office a place you want to be but can boost work productivity. And, you never know who may get promoted and become your next boss.

10. Follow through on actions
Taking control of your career will not happen unless you follow through. Visualize your success regularly and don’t be afraid to ask for help when necessary. More importantly, pursue your goals aggressively and resolve not to give up on reaching them.

It isn’t enough just to make a commitment to improve your professional life – you have to act on it. If you get a head start on your career goals now, you can reach your full potential and finally take charge of your career

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