You deserve a festive break in December. After all, you waited for this opportunity all year long. But wait, are you done with your 2017 career plans? With the New Year only a few days away, now it is also the time to evaluate and guide your career in the right direction. You cannot afford to delay your career plans until January. Taking a few important steps now will help you jump-start your career right from the first day of New Year. You will feel more confident, prepared and organised while welcoming 2017. So here are five things you should do before the current year comes to an end.
1. Look back at 2016
Before you start planning your career moves for 2017, take some time to reflect back on 2016. If possible, make a list of your top 5 career accomplishments this year. Did you earn a new degree, learn something new, acquire a new skill, or receive any accolades this year? If yes, write about your accomplishments. Provide as many details as possible. For instance, rather than just saying “Learned Photoshop”, you should say, “Completed an online Photoshop course offered by the National Careers Service.”
It is important to list your misses or career goals that you could not accomplish this year. Also, identify the reasons for your failure. Perhaps, you wanted to launch your personal website, but could not do so in 2016. Was it because you did not have enough money or time? Did you fail to find a good designer or SEO expert? You need to find out the exact reasons and think how you want to address the same problems in the coming year.
2. Organise your email inbox and workspace
Spend some time organising your email inbox. Delete the unnecessary emails; send important but older emails to an archive folder. Use different search terms to look for different emails. For instance, if you are looking for emails sent by an insurance company, use the name of the company as your search term. Also, identify and unsubscribe from any unwanted mailing lists. Keeping your workspace organised is important as well. Clean the clutter on your work desk and label important files, so that you can find them quickly.
3. Send thank you notes
Make a list of people who helped you achieve your career goals in the past 12 months. Whether that person is your boss, employee, team member, or business colleague, do not forget to send them a thank-you note. A simple thank-you email would suffice. However, if you want to make a lasting impression, consider sending a handwritten note. You can also send a personalised gift with your thank-you note. These are nice gestures that help strengthen your professional relationships. It is even better if you can catch up with your network before New Year. For instance, you can invite them to a tea party or organise coffee dates with them. December gives you a nice opportunity to get closer to your boss and colleagues.
4. Update your resume and professional materials
Companies usually start recruiting in January, so now is an ideal time to prepare for job hunting. Update your resume to include your new accomplishments and skills. If possible, change the template and design as well. Also, redesign all professional materials – from your website to your business cards. Get new professional attires and if required, get professional help for resume writing.
5. Plan your next career moves
Depending on your career goals, you may want to do a course, look for a new job, or move up in your current organisation. Whatever your goal is, you need to plan how you want to achieve that in 2017. Think about 2-3 most important things you want to do in the next year. Now identify the challenges towards achieving those and plan your career moves accordingly. For instance, if the lack of money is holding you back from getting professional development training, check whether you are eligible for any apprenticeship grant. Otherwise, find out other ways to accomplish your goal.