The new year is here. And regardless of whether you are nearing the end of your academic journey or only recently started your first week of classes, it is never too early to start taking steps toward your career goals. Instead of making resolutions you will probably only keep for a month or two about exercising more or spending less on Starbucks, try making some 2017 resolutions for the new year that will pay dividends for the rest of your life.
In an article on Forbes.com, Caroline Ceniza-Levine, career coach to executives from American Express, Goldman Sachs, eBay and Google, shared her ten New Year’s resolutions for a stronger career in 2017. At Grantham, we are dedicated to helping our students succeed. For us to help you succeed, you have to want to succeed, so try sticking to these ten resolutions in 2017:
1. Stay in Touch
Get out from behind your desk. The new year is a great time to reconnect with your contacts by sending cards and reaching out to people in the new year to hear about their holidays. To continue your resolution throughout the year, try inviting at least one person you haven’t seen in a while to lunch or for coffee. As Ceniza-Levine says, “Even if you only do this once per week, that’s 52 chances for staying in touch.”
2. Manage Your Professional Online Presence
It’s time to face the facts: employers look at your social media accounts. There’s a name for it, too: social screening, and 60 percent of employers do it.2 With this in mind, it’s important to take your social media accounts seriously. Have pictures that accurately represent what you look like today and keep your information up-to-date. Your social media accounts could help (or hurt) you when it comes to your career goals.
3. Preserve Your Focus
“One of the most common obstacles for my clients when reaching for a career goal is the fatigue factor – most are working a hectic, complex day job and feel too depleted to take on something else,” Ceniza-Levine said. “Unfortunately, that something else is often what they really should be focused on – the search for a more ideal job, the pursuit of a promotion, the transition to a new career. If this sounds like you, then make 2017 the year you carve out specific time before, during and at the end of each day to take action on your ‘real’ career aspiration, not the one you happened to be assigned to in your day job.”1
As a student at an entirely online institution, you can make your Grantham education fit your schedule. You have the control to carve out time to spend focusing on your career goals without neglecting your other obligations.
4. Maintain Your Energy
There may be a number of reasons why you have gone back to school: you raised your family first, you want to advance in your career, you want to start on an entirely new career path—the possibilities are endless. Regardless of your reasons, as an adult online learner, you probably describe your life as “demanding.”
Ceniza-Levine suggests preserving your energy as best as you can. Incorporate exercise, meditation, good sleep and healthy eating habits into your daily routine. Though these may not seem like habits that directly relate to your career, if they give you the stamina to take the extra steps toward your career goals—they do relate.
5. Spend Your Mornings Wisely
Some of the most successful people, including President Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Anna Wintour, swear by their morning routines.3
What is your morning routine like? Is it helping you reach your career goals? If it involves hitting snooze six times before jumping in the shower and throwing on whatever clothes you see first as you run out the door, then it may be time to make some early-morning changes.
According to Ceniza-Levine, “Adopting a good energy habit is a logical candidate for how you might remake your morning. If the days seem to get away from you before you get the important stuff done, create a new morning routine. Take one hour and spend 20 minutes each on exercise, meditation and reading.”1
In 2017, you should stretch. Both figuratively and literally. Stretching yourself means taking advantage of opportunities and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, whether you get involved in an organization or work toward a leadership position in any activities you’re involved in. When it comes to your career goals, it’s important to push yourself. And it’s easier to push yourself with a well-stretched back.
Constantly search for opportunities that could lead to growth, whether it’s in your current job or professional development opportunities outside your workplace. Use your network to better yourself and keep yourself challenged. For some, starting your education may be an opportunity for growth. Evaluate your situation and decide what is a good move for you.
8. Ask for What You Want
First ask yourself, “What do I want?” Then, ask your network. “Learning to ask for what you want is a critical career skill, and finding opportunities to ask is the only way you’ll get practice at this. Ask for training, ask to attend a conference, ask for a membership to your industry association, ask for a mentor, ask for feedback so you can identify areas to develop (and strengths to build on),” stated Ceniza-Levine.1
9. Be Marketable
Even if you’re not starting your career yet, you always want to remain as marketable as possible. You can do this by following through on your previous resolutions. Keep in touch with your contacts, maintain a positive, up-to-date online presence, continue to grow and always ask for what you want. If you keep up with your New Year’s resolutions, you will be marketable.
10. Keep Your Options Open
You may still be completing your education, but you can keep yourself knowledgeable about what career opportunities are available to you. Keep up with LinkedIn invites and attend networking events. When the time comes to start your career, have a broad network to turn to for assistance. Take Ceniza-Levine’s advice: “While you don’t want to overextend yourself unnecessarily, you might have gone the opposite extreme, where you’re only interacting with people you already know, working on assignments you know you can do, and keeping the same rut, I mean schedule, day-in and day-out. Keep your options open by keeping an open mind.”1
Attending Grantham Can Help You Reach Your Career Goals
Let Grantham help you with your New Year’s resolutions! Though your coursework is completed online, we will support you every step of the way. We are here to serve you, so you can achieve your goal of graduation. Contact us today to get started!