As 2020 comes to a close (thankfully), we start looking toward the new year. Traditionally most people make New Year’s resolutions focused on exercise, eating, and sleeping habits. However, for many people this year, the pandemic has sent our career goals into a tailspin, set off course by everything from remote work, job loss, or budget cuts within organizations. Despite these derailments, not all is lost. Whether you participate in the activity of making resolutions or not, why not consider setting career goals (resolutions) this year. Here are seven career resolutions everyone should make, no matter where they are in their career path. 

1) Be a Better Communicator – In 2021, take the extra effort to return emails and calls promptly, letting co-workers know the status of your work, projects, etc. and asking where they’re at on their own projects. Simply talk to people. Let them know when you’re unavailable. Don’t leave them hanging, and when someone helps you out, be sure to thank them.

2) Learn a New Skill – No matter what field you are in, there are hundreds of new skills you can learn that could benefit your career. This includes hard skills and soft skills. Not sure where to start. Think about your weaknesses and what you’d like to improve in this department. Maybe you are afraid of public speaking or maybe you need to learn a new program that is critical to your field of work. Once you determine the weakness you’d like to improve upon, set it as one of your work goals for the year and get it done. It may require taking a course online or joining a group like Toastmasters to improve your public speaking skills. You won’t regret it. If it can enhance your work in your current job, your company might even be willing to pay for it!

3) Ask More Questions – Acknowledge that you don’t have the answer to every problem and that others can help you be more successful in your job. If you don’t understand something, speak up. Ask for clarification. Asking questions is a beautiful segway into growing your relationships with colleagues. It creates new dialogue and opens the door to collaboration. 

4) Make New Connections – Whether you’re your looking for a new job or not, you should always be networking and looking for ways to connect with individuals. Even during the pandemic, there are plenty of ways to make new connections. LinkedIn is a fantastic way to expand your reach; just make sure you put a little effort behind it. Provide a personal note or reminder of how you know one another.  You may not be able to attend networking events in person but there are plenty of webinars with break-out sessions that enable people to meet and connect. Also consider networking with colleagues in your office. Seek out coworkers you don’t know well and introduce yourself. This will show self-confidence, approachability, and respect for others, which in turn will help earn your colleagues’ respect and increase collaboration.

5) Read a Career Related Book – Books  are a great way to provide new perspectives and can improve your performance, your outlook, or your personal habits. 

6) Stay Out of Office Politics – Office gossiping really won’t get you anywhere in life. Who cares if so-and-so did xyz to so-and-so? If a colleague tries to engage in a little gossip, give one-word answers and follow with an “I’m really busy, I’ll catch up with you later.”

7) Assess your Social Media Profiles Every couple of months you should review your online profiles to ensure they match what you want to share professionally. You may need to change your privacy settings or remove images that you wouldn’t want your colleagues seeing. This is imperative when you are looking for a job. A study from CareerBuilder revealed that “70 percent of employers now use social media to screen job candidates before hiring them” 

This coming year will be unique. 2021 will still bring challenges, but why not start off on the right foot and try something different; set career resolutions that will ultimately translate to all other parts of your life. 

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