Easy New Year’s Resolution for Your Career
It’s that time of year to reflect on the last 365 days of our lives, whether good or bad and make a list of changes we’d like ourselves to make. For most, this may be personal goals, such as spend less, exercise more, learn how to salsa dance, etc. But how many of us are considering our careers? I have one simple idea I would like you to consider for this new year, which can have a significant impact on your career.
What I’ve observed as a resume writer is that most people don’t take time to reflect on their career until it’s time to update their resume. Even then, many of the resumes I’ve reviewed lack accomplishments and favor job descriptions. Giving a description of your work is important, but that’s not all a potential employer wants to read. They want to know that you make things happen. They want to see the results of your work. I believe a resume that focuses on results will attract more attention, which will lead to greater career opportunities.
For many, as time goes on, the details of career wins and successes become blurred or forgotten altogether. So, here is my recommendation for a career-oriented new year’s resolution that is easy to implement.
The Periodic Career Reflection Resolution
Create a recurring event on your calendar for 30 minutes at the end of each month or quarter. During this time, Isolate yourself from all distractions so you can dedicate this time to reflecting on the recent past.
Open a Word or Excel document. On it, you will capture your most significant challenges and biggest successes of your recent time. Save it and add to it each time you get your calendar reminder. It is helpful to use the CAR method, which stands for Challenge, Action, Result. When considering accomplishments, try to think of ways that you can quantify your actions. You can think in terms of dollar amount ($) or percentage (%).
Consider the impact you’ve made on your team, department, or the organization as a whole when thinking about your success. Areas in which you can explore may be process improvements and resulting efficiencies, revenue generation, cost savings, turnover and attrition, customer satisfaction, etc.
Don’t overthink it! Before you even begin close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and set an intention to relax and reflect. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You cannot fail by doing this. Start by writing down the first few things that come to mind. This process will evolve over time. At first, you may have a challenging time thinking of ideas, this is natural. But don’t get frustrated if you get stuck. The brain works in mysterious ways, and if for nothing else, you are planting seeds for future ideas.
At the end of this exercise, you will have created a list of ideas that you can draw upon when it comes time to update your resume. A good resume writer will work with the information to help refine it. Imagine your resume compared to someone who didn’t take the time to do this! It is evident, at least to me, that you are giving yourself a definite competitive advantage!
Beyond the Resume
Since I’m writing this as a resume writer, with the intent of empowering you to capture content that that can help make a standout resume, there are some other unintended benefits, I think.
Working through this exercise may prompt you to consider setting some new goals. You may find yourself re-evaluating your priorities at work to focus on broader challenges that have quantifiable results.
When it comes time for job interviews, you can go back and review everything you’ve documented to give you some stellar talking points.
By giving yourself time to reflect on your career at regular, periodic intervals, you are empowering yourself to document the results of your work, consider new goals, and develop content that can be used to create a great resume and help propel your career to new heights. Happy New Year!
By Scott Nichols, MBA, CERM, CPRW, CEIC, CEIP