Set Your Career Resolutions for the New Year!

by | January 6, 2010

After watching unemployment top 10% in November, many people are more than ready to say good-bye to 2009. Even if you are part of the 90% who remained employed this year, the ongoing bad news about the economy may have prompted you to spend some time thinking about what you would do if you lost your job, or what you could do to feel more secure in your current position.

As we head into 2010, now is a perfect time to take action and make some career development resolutions. To help you to get started, the Career Counselors in Capella’s Career Center suggest giving some thought to the following career development activities.

Nourish your network
Commit to reconnecting with your network of contacts, and to developing new professional relationships. Make some phone calls, set some lunch dates with former colleagues, and consider doing some informational interviews with experienced professionals in careers of interest to you. Increase your involvement with your professional association. If you’re not a member of any professional associations, determine which associations are most relevant, and join the local chapters. Check the dates of upcoming conferences and workshops for your professional associations and mark them on your calendar. Volunteer for one of the association’s committees as a way of developing relationships with other members. Consider submitting a presentation proposal. Presenting at conferences is one way to increase your exposure and establish your expertise in your field. Use online social networking tools like LinkedIn to build your network and share your expertise with others who may be new to the field. Join Capella’s LinkedIn user group to connect with thousands of other learners, alumni, staff, and faculty.

The Capella Career Center offers several free, one-hour webinars on a variety of topics, including Job Search Strategies in a Tough Economy, and Online Social Networking: Cutting Edge Tools to Manage Your Career, which provide more networking and job search strategies.

In addition to the career development webinars, the Career Center has produced a series of YouTube videos related to job search strategies. These videos are available to the public on the Capella University Career Center YouTube Channel.

Refresh your resume
If you have a resume or curriculum vitae (CV), take time to update it with your activities and accomplishments from 2009. Start a resume folder, perhaps both an electronic folder and a manila file folder, to be used for collecting everything that might belong on your resume. This will help you to keep track of dates, achievements, titles of presentations or conferences, etc., so you won’t have to search for them when you’re ready to update your resume in 2010. For tips on creating effective resumes and other application documents, register for the free webinar, Job Application Documents: Tips for Creating Effective Resumes, CVs, and Cover Letters, presented by Career Counselors in the Career Center.

Develop your portfolio
A portfolio is a collection of work samples and other related documents that highlight your professional achievements, and can be used in interviews to demonstrate evidence of a candidate’s skills and expertise. There are a number of important benefits to developing and using a portfolio, not the least of which is the confidence you gain as you compile documents that illustrate your accomplishments and skills. The webinar, Professional Portfolios: Differentiate yourself in the job search, will provide you with guidance in developing and effectively using your portfolio in an interview.

Reflect on your career goals
Career development is an ongoing process. Regardless of whether you’re in an active job search, developing expertise in your current position, or considering changing careers, the start of the new year provides an opportunity for self-reflection and a reassessment of your goals. Perhaps your long-term goals have shifted somewhat over the past year, and you need to “recalibrate” your short-term goals accordingly in order to stay pointed in the right direction. Without taking time to reflect on this, you may find yourself in an unexpected place in your career in a few years – or perhaps in the same place you are now.

Document your resolutions and share them with someone
Clearly defining your goals makes it possible for you to achieve them, and sharing your goals or resolutions with someone who can hold you accountable makes it more likely that you will act on them. Use the following checklist as a starting point for your own list of 2010 career development resolutions, and be sure to utilize the career resources available to you as learners in the Career Center.

The Career Center wishes you much success in 2010!