Lindsay Olson

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Creating Professional Resolutions for the New Year

It’s a new year and a fresh start. Whether you’re looking for your next career move or are angling for a promotion at your current job, take a moment to create resolutions for what you want to accomplish professionally in 2013.

Take Stock of Where You Are

Are you where you want to be professionally right now? Do you feel like you’re churning your wheels and are ready for the next thing? Do you think you’ve outgrown your current role? These are all important to take stock of when creating your professional resolutions at the start of a year.

Write down all your major professional accomplishments over the past year. Include any new skills you gained, promotions granted or new job secured. It can be beneficial to start by looking at all the great things you’ve done.

Now consider what you want to accomplish this year. Be Realistic If you just got a job promotion or a raise, you might not realistically be able to expect another one this year.

And if you’ve been angling for a Director position, you might need to come down to Earth and realize your resume doesn’t yet stand up to the job requirements.

When creating goals for yourself, it’s important to have a realistic view of what you can feasibly do in the coming year. That being said, you also need to make your goals just painful enough that you have to work hard to achieve them.

Consider Your Options

If you’re unhappy in your current role, consider the possibilities. You could: ask your boss for more responsibilities in an area you’re more interested in present your case for a promotion apply for another job in your company apply for another job outside of your company It’s not enough to say “I hate my job.” You need to then determine what you will do to change the situation.

Once you do this, create action steps to make your resolution a reality. For example, if you think you deserve a promotion, find out what the role you want to take on requires in terms of experience and skills. Then assess your experiences and be honest with yourself about where you fall short. Find the opportunity over the next few months to develop those areas.

Once you feel you’re ready to present yourself as a qualified candidate for the role to your boss, set up a meeting. Discuss the achievements you’ve made in the past few years and pitch him on how you’ve worked hard to get the necessary skills and your accomplishments.

That Being Said…Write it Down on Paper and Share!

Studies show that writing down goals can help increase the chances that you achieve them. Sharing them with someone else can help you keep on track. So give yourself every opportunity to make them become a reality.

Keep your list of resolutions on your desk or refrigerator where you can see them every day, where they will serve of a reminder of what you are working toward. Then when you achieve them one by one, you can mark them off your list!

I’ve come up with a few of my own resolutions – particularly around productivity.

As a mother of a toddler and a baby, this is the spot in my personal and professional life where I need to find more harmony and less guilt.

  1. Spend more time talking with professional contacts and colleagues, and less on email, Facebook, and other places where interaction is limited by “likes”, retweets, and send buttons. Relationships are the key to my business. While social media definitely enhances the relationships and keeps me connected, more one-on-one time with individuals will pay off in the long run.
  2. Focus on specific tasks without interruptions. Stop wasting time by “multi-tasking”, disconnect from the internet and focus on the given task. I know I will be 100% more productive if I minimize the distractions, shut off email and the cell phone, while working on projects.
  3. In addition to expanding Paradigm Staffing, I want to branch out our public relations job board, Hoojobs, into other geographical markets outside the United States and launch at least one new job portal for other industries. What are some of your professional goals for 2013?

Creating Your Own Performance Metrics

While most jobs will hold performance evaluations during the year to let you know where you need to improve, not all companies or managers will do this well. In some cases, you may find that the evaluations are neutral, giving you little or nothing to work with. In others, the supervisor may give unsatisfactory advice or simply forgo the constructive criticism you’d hope to hear in order to continuously improve your skills and performance. In these cases, you will need to come up with your own performance metrics.

Why You Need Goals
Without a good idea of where to improve, you’ll find yourself in a rut, and probably not very happy or challenged in your job. That’s why it’s a good idea to come up with your own evaluations if the company doesn’t offer you any suitable suggestions.

When you improve your work related skills, you’ll find that you increase your chances of:

  • Promotion
  • Earning more
  • Learning new skills and gaining the confidence in your peers and managers to take on new roles and projects

Step One: Identify Trouble Spots
A few questions can help you figure out your weak spots, though you will likely have an idea already if you make a habit of evaluating yourself. Answer the questions and keep a log of the information down to help you keep track of it.

What have people spoken to you about in the past? It isn’t always your supervisor who offers the best criticism. If someone else has mentioned something you’ve missed in your job or on a specific project, then this could indicate an area you need to work on.

What areas do you struggle with in your job? Chances are you already have an idea of where you feel uncomfortable in your job. These are areas that could be improved and you are in the best position to identify them.

How could you better serve the company? Is there anything you could do to improve your efficiency? The more you bring to your company, the more likely you are to be recognized for your efforts.

How could you better serve your clients? In every company, the customers or clients are the most important factor, so it’s worth it to make sure you are serving them to your utmost ability. Think of how you treat your clients. Could you do anything to improve the experience for them?

Which areas or tasks do you tend to put off in your job? If you are avoiding certain aspects of your job or always procrastinate on the same thing, then it is probably an area you could work on.

Once you have your list of areas to improve on, it’s time to move to Step Two.

Step Two: Setting Goals for Improvement
Don’t attempt to fix everything at once. Instead, choose one or two areas to work on first. These should be areas that really affect your job performance and be noticeable if you work on them.

Make sure you choose realistic goals. Look at the big picture and break it down into the appropriate milestones. A plan will help you stay motivated and allow you to see your progress.

Don’t forget to give yourself a specific time limit to reach your milestones and goals. These should also be reasonable, don’t expect dramatic changes in just a few days, of course.

Take your plan to a supervisor and go over it. While the supervisor may not have been the one to come up with the ideas for improvement, he or she will likely see the wisdom of your ideas and can offer some tips or advice on improving in the areas you have chosen (and perhaps give you the additional feedback you’ve been hoping to hear). It shows your employers you are proactive and motivated in your career – all important characteristics to continue to move ahead.

Tips for Success
If you want to be successful in your pursuit of improvement, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind.

  • Keep it simple.
  • Be realistic.
  • Make your goals measurable.
  • Always be evaluating.

Remember S.M.A.R.T: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.

Photo courtesy: Leo Reynolds

Top 5 Posts in 2009

With 2009 quickly coming to an end and some idle time, I've been thinking about my goals for Paradigm Staffing and for this blog in 2010. It's been a difficult year for many of us and I expect 2010 will treat us much better.

Despite the challenging economy, this year has been my most rewarding yet. I become a mother for the first time in September. I had an amazing and easy pregnancy. The support from the awesome team at Paradigm Staffing allowed me take the past few months to spend as a full-time Mommy and the smart group of PR and HR/search professionals I've been so lucky to work with volunteered to share their thoughts and time writing as guest bloggers here.

In preparation for the new year, I was looking through some of the posts written in 2009. In case you missed any, here's a short round-up of the top five posts this year according to page views.

1. How Not To Ask For Help In a Job Search

2. Write an Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter

3. How To Answer the Salary Question

4. Tough Interview Questions and How To Respond

5. Do You Have a PR Personality? (guest post by Alison Kenney)

Chau 2009... may 2010 be even better!


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