By Kim Bassett
The end of the year brings with it a sense of closure …and hope. Hope for a new year filled with opportunities that will make life a little better and more meaningful than the previous year. If one of your goals is to take your career to the next level, then it’s time to create your career action plan for 2018. Change and career movement/progress will not happen on its own.
Here are five things you can do:
- Continuing education. This could be in the form of certifications, online classes or even in person, more traditional routes such as a master’s or additional bachelor’s degree. The key before jumping in is to look at what route would best suit not only your lifestyle and budget, but also your career situation. Depending on where you are in your career, strategically you may get more use out of a certification than you would another 2-4 year degree program. Check with your employer too, there may be some assistance in the form of partial or complete reimbursement.
- Locate a professional organization. Check out a professional organization that is suited to your industry. For example, if you are in healthcare you might consider joining the local chapter of American College of Healthcare Executives. Don’t just join to join, commit time to the organization and become engaged in committees or even the board of directors. This will improve your visibility within your profession and begin building your credibility within your area.
- Look within for opportunities. Schedule time to sit down with your supervisor to let them know of your career aspirations and seek their counsel as a mentor. They may suggest internal opportunities to build up your experience in the area you are looking to grow into. Often, an organization has resources set aside to help you grow such as weekend training or a week-long conference.
- Widen your network. Put the time in to do a better job keeping in touch and growing your professional network. LinkedIn is a great tool to use for this. Go through all those business cards you’ve been collecting in your top drawer and connect with them on LinkedIn. Then begin challenging yourself to initiate a “coffee” style conversation with three people each month. End each call or meeting with asking them what you can do to help them. This will seed your network with true, genuine connections that you can call upon when a career opportunity does arise.
- Keep an open mind and a positive attitude. By keeping an open mind, you open your life to growth. When you see the growth opportunity, a positive attitude gives you the courage needed to take that first step outside your comfort zone. The two combined is an unbeatable combination that increases your overall growth potential as your enthusiasm and interest to try new things becomes apparent to all those around you.
Growth and change is a natural part of life and can be an uncomfortable feeling for us. This feeling is a good thing! That uncomfortable feeling is really just excitement and anticipation associated with learning something new. I encourage you to use one (or all five!) of the above tactics to create your 2018 career action plan. Start creating change. Make 2018 your best year yet!