Follow our top tips to boost your career

What are the next steps in your development?

The New Year is the perfect time to reboot your professional growth. Follow our top tips to boost your career.


Jennie Marshall | 3 January 2017

Happy New Year!

This is a time when many of us commit to getting our houses in order be that resolving to go on a diet and exercise more frequently, spend more time with our loved ones, break a bad habit, and so on. But it’s also the perfect occasion to reboot your professional growth and development, so that you can ensure the next twelve months of your work life are as productive and successful as the previous twelve – if not more so.

People are never as honest with themselves as they are at the beginning of the year so it’s an ideal moment to reflect upon your accomplishments and failures.

Whether your new year’s resolution is land that dream job, or earn a big promotion or salary raise at your current one, now is the time to dust yourself off and set about reinvigorating your career. Here are some quick tips for making sure that the New Year is a remarkable one.

Establish your goals for the year

What would a new year be without resolutions? Of course, most resolutions are meant to be broken, as everyone well knows. To avoid going back on the promises you make to yourself, I’d recommend against setting too concrete a goal – for example, to make £15,000 more this year. It’s good to be specific about what you want to accomplish in 2017, but remember that a hefty raise or promotion will be determined by a lot of factors, some of them beyond your control. Focus more on the things you can directly affect and shape, like your own performance and less on the results they lead to, which will be as much a function of other things as your own will.

Start by laying out your professional goals over the next twelve months. Take stock of where you are today – your responsibilities, your compensation, your work environment and happiness. Which of these are you satisfied with? Which could be improved? Perform an ‘audit’ of sorts of your career today: visualise your ideal role and measure the extent to which your role fit those ideals. How might you close the gap between ideal and reality? A bigger salary? More time for your personal life? Only you know the answers.

Over and above any specific targets or benchmarks you define for yourself, what’s most important is that you remain purposeful and conscious about the kind of trajectory or experiences you want for yourself in the coming year. People are never as honest with themselves as they are at the beginning of the year – it’s an ideal moment to reflect upon your accomplishments and failures. Use this time to assess where you are at in your career, so that you can determine where you’d like to be in a year’s time.

Whether your new year’s resolution is land that dream job, or earn a big promotion or salary increase at your current employer, now is the time to dust yourself off and set about reinvigorating your career.

Get help from your networks and mentor

To realise your newly inspired goals, you’ll need to formulate a plan of attack, including some concrete strategies for making them a reality. For this and much more, you’re going to need help from others. If you’re not already networking aggressively, start now. Attend professional events and company social events, make time for coffee with influential people – make as many friends as possible to get your new year’s plans off the ground.

It helps to have a knowledgeable voice in your corner, to steer your career in the right direction and offer a second (or third) opinion on some of the big decisions you’re going to have to make. I’m a huge advocate of mentoring so perhaps now might be the right time to enlist the wisdom of a more experienced peer. Reach out to someone you respect and admire, and whose example you’d like to emulate. Explain the kinds of professional goals you’ve set out for yourself for this year and commit to working with them over the next eight to twelve months, so that when the next time January 1st rolls around, you can cross them off your bucket list.

Update your CV and social media profiles

Take some time early in 2017 to manage and re-evaluate your CV. Most people only look at their CV when they’re already out of work or otherwise actively looking for employment; use your renewed enthusiasm and drive at this time to give yourself a head start on that process. Go through it with a fine tooth comb now, to spare yourself the hair-pulling stress and time-consuming labour later. For example, does your skills summary match your current skill set and abilities?

Much the same goes for your online profiles. Social media is increasingly important for networking and recruiting opportunities, yet during the everyday rush and bustle of the year, it’s easy for the task of managing your internet presence to fall down your list of career priorities. Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are constantly adding (or removing) features and functionality, so you need to stay on top of your accounts to get the most out of them. Now is a good time to ensure that any information you’ve shared is current and up-to-date. You wouldn’t want to miss out on an opportunity just because your LinkedIn profile describes the job you were doing a year and a half ago – and not the one you’re doing today.

Refresh your professional attire

Yes your ability about how you look shouldn’t come in to this, but let’s be honest it does. If Christmas brought you lots of gift cards or cash, how about splurging on a few new outfits to update your wardrobe and polish up your appearance? If your wardrobe has gotten a little stale or ragged over the past few months, now is as good a time as any to spruce it up. Clothes don’t necessarily make the businessman or businesswoman, but you should always look the part of a professional nonetheless. Plus, a new suit or two can inject you with the renewed sense of self-confidence you’ll need to pursue your master plan for the rest of the year.

The end of the festive season not only signals the beginning of a new year, but also a fresh start. The great thing about the 1st of January is that it gives everyone a clean slate, so to speak. So why not take advantage of this annual occasion for renewal to get your career off on the right foot for 2017.

We do a wide range of training courses including ones to help develop your personal effectiveness.

Visit qa.com/nextsteps to see how we can help you map out your plan for professional development and success in 2017.

Related blogs:

Why a mentor can be key to your professional development

Don't commit career suicide

Forget the gym, 2017 should be about flexing your mental muscles

QA Training | Jennie-marshal

Jennie Marshall

Learning Programme Director (Enterprise and Outsource Services)

Jennie Marshall is an award winning learning professional (Winner of the 2016 Learning Performance Institute, Learning Professional of the Year Bronze Award), who joined QA in 2010 as a Learning Consultant in the Leadership, Management and Business Skills team. She has gone on to progress through various positions to her current role of Learning Programme Director where she now designs, develops and manages the delivery of end to end learning programmes. She is an experienced and dedicated learning professional, with expertise including management, leadership and talent, and training and facilitation developed within a variety of environments. Jennie has a proven track record of delivering blended, multi modal learning programmes using Learning Management System platforms and in a more traditional face to face setting, is at home with small and large audiences. She is a proven developer of people and is accredited in the use of a variety of tools including Strength Deployment Inventory®, Emergenetics®, Hogan®, Prism® and Worldsview™ as well as being an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner and Kirkpatrick Certified Professional (Bronze).
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