New Year's Resolution
January 4, 2016
Gyms are packed, fast food places are a little emptier, and everyone’s talking about a “new year, new me.” Goals to lose weight or focus on your health are great, but they usually don’t last. This new year, why not set some new professional goals instead? No matter where you are in your career, there are always ways to improve and grow as an employee and an individual.
Here are some steps to setting solid professional goals this year:
- Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. “Professional development is not an easy task when trying to identifying goals and objectives, as well as your own development needs,” Ashley, hiring expert at Textron, Inc. says. “Knowing your development needs will be a good start in determining which areas you need to improve in.” If you aren’t sure of your strengths in the workplace, don’t worry. “There are a number of tools that can help you with this, such as Strengthfinders and DISC,” Steve, hiring expert at Caterpillar Inc., says. “This will help you to fully take advantage of your strengths and begin to work on your areas for improvement.”
- Make note of your interests. If you’re just beginning to think about your career (or if you’re looking to switch paths!), this is a crucial step. “It is important to never settle and always strive to find a career and interests that you are passionate about,” Bryan, hiring expert at IBM Corporation says. “First and foremost, create a list of things that you are interested in; they do not need to be specific. After composing your list, think about possible careers that go along with each of those interests.”
- Talk to others. You’ll learn so much more about yourself when you ask others for advice or input. Be sure to ask people you trust and know well so they can speak honestly about how you can grow. “Your manager or mentor could help you identify some areas of improvement you did not see and also help you set the necessary goals and steps needed to improve that specified area,” Ashley says. Keep an ongoing relationship with these people so they can help hold you accountable throughout the year.
- Create a plan. Now that you’ve figured out how you can grow, it’s time to get to work. “Once you have identified a weakness that you would like to progress, consider creating a development plan,” Ashley says. “As you create this plan, try to think of ways you can learn and improve in 3 methods – on-the-job experiences, learning from others, and training or courses. A majority of our most effective learning comes from on-the-job experience like projects or putting training into action while the rest comes from colleagues or training courses. Doing this will help you become more comfortable with your weakness while also allowing you to expand on your strengths.” Write these things down! It’s helpful to see them in writing and makes you feel more serious about the goals you’ve made. Share them with your trusted mentor for added support along the way.
- Add to your experiences. Both in the workplace and beyond, the best way to learn and grow is to do hands-on work. You can read great articles and hear about solid strategies, but the best way to stretch yourself is to engage with new people and experiences yourself. “It is important to build your professional network and seek exposure for yourself,” Steve says. “This can be done in a number of ways, but one of the most effective ways is to seek out opportunities to participate on projects teams, particularly those that are not in your direct area of expertise. It is also important to work to establish yourself as a leader on these project teams. You do not have to be a formal position of leadership, but you should show a willingness to step up and take on tasks that others do not want to do and be a vocal presence in project meetings.”
- Think of the big picture. “Where would you ideally like to be in five, ten, even twenty years from now? It is important to not only know your short-term goals, but also set long-term goals for yourself as a professional,” Bryan says. “While these may be subject to change, having a general idea of where you see yourself in life professionally will help you to succeed.”
2016 is going to be a great year, and we are excited to continue providing more helpful resources for you as you set goals and grow as experienced, talented, knowledgeable employees in your chosen fields!
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