An annual review of your current career status will reveal if you need to make yourself a more valuable worker or job candidate — or just happier. The review will help determine if you are not quite where you ought to be and what you need to resolve the situation. Here are some ways to give yourself a yearly career checkup.
Reflect on career: Ask questions that determine how you feel about your current career and whether you are satisfied with the work-life balance. Depending on the answers, write down a one-page summary of what you would like to change or achieve in your career in the coming year, as well as a list of your recent accomplishments and professional-development activities. By doing so, you’ll have this key information at the ready if you need it for your performance review or to apply for a new job.
Update marketing materials: You never know when the perfect job opportunity might surface. Take time to revamp and update your career marketing materials like your resume and LinkedIn profile so they accurately reflect your current career and objectives. Identify opportunities for professional development and training. Your career review might reveal areas that could use some attention.
Audit digital footprint: Every time you make a comment on a blog, post a photo or do anything online you leave a trail of personal information on the web. Sometimes, that online behavior can be problematic because it sends the wrong message about you to prospective employers. Spend time to review, and if necessary, clean up your digital footprint.
Schedule networking commitments: You know how important networking is for your career. But between work and family obligations, it is often hard to find the time. The best way to counteract this dilemma is by scheduling networking activities into your calendar. Try to set aside at least two hours per week for networking; more if you’re in active job search mode.
Research new possibilities: Making a job change or career switch can take longer than you expect. So if you are considering either, begin the process now — before you feel pressured into it. Read industry trade journals, attend professional conferences and follow industry-related discussions online. Set-up Google Alerts for your field, too, so you will stay on top of news and developments that could impact your career. Schedule at least one hour each week for career research. Blocking out that time on your calendar will make it more likely that you’ll honor this commitment going forward.