As 2018 approaches, many professionals desire a new job, promotion or career change. When you start to feel like your career is becoming stale or stagnant, it`s time to push the reset button and upgrade yourself the same way you upgrade the mobile apps on your smartphone.
Every 12 months, when I was an Information Technology professional, I reassessed my career in order to function and execute better in the workplace.
When I finally relaunched my career from the federal government into the private sector, I created a career roadmap of both short- and long-term goals that would help me brand, market and sell myself, as well as make me happy.
Below, I’ve identified five powerful strategies that helped me — follow them yourself, and you can relaunch a career full of passion and purpose in 2018.
1. Set (and achieve) new personal goals
Personal goals seem to always get lost in the midst of career planning, but they really set the tone for what type of life you want for yourself. A great way to document your personal goals is in a journal. Before I relaunched my career, I remember writing down in my journal that I wanted to spend more time with family and make more time for photography and writing.
Once your personal goals have been established, identify small actions that will help you obtain those goals. As you start to accomplish them, you’ll feel better about yourself and your life, making it much easier to feel good about setting goals for your career.
2. Set new career goals
It’s so important to be proactive in your career goal-setting — it’s not your manager’s responsibility, but your responsibility. You control your career brand, so it’s worth personally documenting your goals in an Individual Development Plan (IDP) at the start of 2018, even if your employer doesn’t require it. When I relaunched my information technology career into the private sector, I created new career goals that were going to make me a happier professional.
For instance, I set new training goals, established work-life balance boundaries and decided I only wanted to commute 25 miles from home to work. And within nine months of leaving my federal government job, I earned my ScrumMaster certification. This certification helped me earn over $40,000 more than my former salary.
3. Give your career brand a facelift
Your career brand represents you, not only as a professional but as an individual. A career brand facelift helps to keep your career expertise fresh, creative and innovative.
One of the best ways to refresh your career brand is to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. If you write a book, make a personal website or create an industry-related blog, you can showcase your expertise to your colleagues and leadership. Books, blogs and websites also open doors for speaking engagements and writing opportunities with more popular websites — and maybe even job opportunities.
4. Update your application materials
As the new year approaches, think about documenting all the projects, professional training and volunteer work you have completed in 2017 in your resume. Making sure your resume is current is critical, as the start of the year is a prime time for recruiters to look for new talent.
When I relaunched my federal government career into the private sector, I spent a full day revamping my resume, LinkedIn profile, headshot and professional summary. Then, I joined professional groups and invited industry professionals to be a part of my online network.
It’s important to connect with recruiters and senior executives at the companies where your desire to work in 2018 — feel free to send them a direct message and introduce yourself. Most of my direct messages landed me interviews at companies like Deloitte, Microsoft, Amazon and Booz Allen Hamilton.
Don’t forget to have fun relaunching your career in 2018. Remember: You own your career and personal brand, and you have the power to effect the change that you desire.