I can’t believe 2012 is almost over. This year has flown by! Moving into 2013, I would like to give you some important advice so that you can start the new year prepared and ready to have a successful career. Here are my top ten pieces of career advice:
1. Create a list of new years resolutions and commit to them. You can’t achieve a goal if you don’t set one in the first place. While things are constantly changing, it’s still important to have some goals to strive towards. There’s nothing like the feeling of achievement that you get from hard work.
2. Assess your value in the marketplace. Go to websites like Glassdoor.com, ask your peers (who are in similar roles) what they are making and even try and ask for a raise. Once you understand where you stand, ask your manager what you need to do to get to that next pay level.
3. Develop your online presence and manage it. Gone are the days when the PDF resume on your desktop matters. You need to be on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter or you will suffer as a result. Recruiters are already searching for you or people with your skills. On LinkedIn, for example, get endorsements for your skills so your profile will appear higher when people are searching. Also, ask for recommendations from people you’ve worked with in the past to build credibility and assurance with hiring managers.
4. Ask for projects outside of your current job. If all you do is your current job, you can’t get ahead at work. Once you’ve proven yourself by mastering your job role, you should ask your managers to take on more responsibilities. In addition, if you can do cross-functional projects, that will help increase your network, your visibility and experience.
5. Focus on your soft skills. In my research, I’ve always found that employers are looking for soft skills, such as communication skills and strong emotional intelligence, when hiring and promoting. By going to events, meetups, and just putting yourself in situations when you’re around people, you can develop these skills and further your career.
6. Work on at least one passion project. It’s important to always invest in your future and do work that is meaningful to you even if it’s not part of your full-time gig. By making this investment, you could potentially do it as your full-time job in the future and live your dreams so it’s well worth the time and energy. If nothing else, it will keep you motivated, help you learn new things and be a hobby that you can enjoy.
7. Reconnect with old business contacts. It’s easy to lose track and forget about people you’ve met in the past. One of my rules for networking is “reconnecting.” You should keep tabs and email business contacts that you haven’t touched base with so that you can show you are and that you’re still interested in them. It will pay dividends for you moving forward.
8. Create time for things that are important. If you’re a workaholic like me, then you might find it challenging to make time for other things in your life but it’s important. It’s unhealthy, trust me, to just do work. Think about other things that matter to you and carve out time for them. These could be your family, friends, meeting new people, etc.
9. Become a mentor and a mentee. One of the best ways to forget a strong network, to learn your trade and to have an ally in your field is to find a mentor. In 2013, find at least one new mentor and mentor someone else, so you can give back while receiving at the same time.
10. Read more. The best writers and thinkers are those that are constantly reading about what others have to say. For me, I skim through over a thousand articles a day looking for trends, research, insights and advice from a variety of sources. This makes me smarter and more relevant and it can have the same effect for you.
Best of luck in 2013!