While Christmas is about giving to others, it’s also a great time to do something meaningful for ourselves. The festive season provides forced down time for many of us. Perfect for relaxation, and reflection on our careers, in anticipation of the year ahead.
Here are 12 gifts to give your career this Christmas:
1. Personal brand
Identify what you do, how you do it, and why an organisation might want to have you on board. Once clarified, you have the ammunition you need for career conversations, your resume, and interviews. Refer to my earlier post What’s Your Brand? here.
2. Market intelligence
Keep an eye on what’s happening in your market. What are your competitors doing? Which companies do you admire? Are there any organisations you’d like to work for? Get to know them better by following them on LinkedIn and Twitter.
3. Sense of achievement
Buy a journal or download an app, and start recording your professional accomplishments. Not only is it good for the soul, the notes will be useful prompts for resume writing, performance review discussions, and planning a career move.
4. Current resume
While your memory is fresh with the details of projects you’ve been involved with during the year, update your resume. Focus on significant achievements rather than what’s listed in your PD. Potential employers what to understand how you differentiate yourself from sometimes very similar candidates, and the value you offer an organisation. You never know who may come calling in 2014! See my earlier post on Resumes here.
5. LinkedIn profile
If you’re a professional working in the private sector, you can’t afford not to be on LinkedIn. Given its exponential growth over the past few years, both corporate and agency recruiters rely on LinkedIn to source candidates and manage talent pools. If you already have a LinkedIn profile, set up a monthly reminder to edit and update your profile. New content gets you noticed. See my post Are You LinkedIn for Career Success? here.
6. Great recruiters
Although they’re only one source of potential job opportunities, get to know the best recruiters working in your sector, industry or field. Follow what they’re managing, and if appropriate, arrange an exploratory conversation in the new year or connect with them on LinkedIn. Check out my post Do You Know Your Recruiters? here.
7. New experiences
Even if you’re happy where you are, explore the options within your organisation. A secondment or project may provide an opportunity to learn a new skill, bridge a gap or give depth to your expertise. It will also offer exposure to different people and functions inside the company.
8. Development programs
Take advantage any management and leadership development programs provided by your employer, or enrol in an course offered by a professional association. There are also plenty of free and accessible courses available online, eg Coursera and Udemy.
9. Fresh ideas
Nudge the status quo, and subscribe to online industry and professional updates to keep abreast of new research and practise in your field. Buy a book to stimulate and challenge your thinking over the summer break.
The Christmas & New Year holidays connect you with family, friends, and acquaintances. Make the most of these these conversations to learn more about yourself, and career possibilities. Read my 2012 post Network Your Way Through the Festive Season here.
11. Career options
Sketch a one-page overview of where you’re heading, and what you need to do to get there. While it doesn’t have to be perfect nor sophisticated, give some thought to a few scenarios. To get you started, refer to my Visual Career Plan post here.
12. Navigation & support
In just a few sessions, a coach can help you to create a strategy, navigate career hurdles and share job search tactics. Life’s too short to be stuck in a position or organisation that makes you miserable. Make a commitment to take charge of your career in 2014.