Best ways to boost your career in the new year

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A new year means a slew of new resolutions: to eat better, to work out more, to finally write the great American novel. It’s also a great time to take stock of your career and set goals for what you’d like to achieve in 2016 and beyond.

While those goals should be tangible and actionable, you also don’t want to box yourself in with something that is too specific, said Trevor Blair, director of executive search for Manpower San Diego, a local employment agency. For instance, a goal of increasing your salary by $10,000 is too simplistic of an aim.

“If you dial it in too much, you end up setting yourself up for failure,” Blair said.  “I’d try to go for a bigger picture.”

Want a bigger and brighter picture for your career? Here are a couple things to consider.

Take stock

You can’t figure out where you want to go if you don’t know where you have been. Take time to really look back at 2015 and assess both what you accomplished and where you fell short.

Rick Gillis, author of "PROMOTE!: It's Who Knows What You Know That Makes a Career," tells his clients to compile a list of accomplishments on weekly, and even daily, basis.  These accomplishments can be anything from improved sales to streamlined operations but they must directly connect to your organization’s strategic goals.

“You have to sit down and be comfortable in setting your value,” he said.

Your evaluation is about more than just your performance, however. You also need to examine what you like — and don’t like — about your job.  A simple pro-and-con list should suffice. You need to review the con list closely to see if you can fix issues in your current position or if you need to make a change.

Take action

If it’s time to move on, the best way to start a job search is by networking, Blair said. He recommended setting a goal of having two networking-type meetings a week with people who are outside of your normal sphere but with expertise in areas that interest you.

Gillis said no matter how happy you are in your current position, you should always be job shopping. That means not only constant networking, but also having an up-to-date résumé and ensuring that your LinkedIn profile is “rich and robust.”

“You’ve really only got 40 years in your life to make something of your career,” Gillis said. “So you need to be open to every opportunity.”



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