The start of a new year is a great time to focus on self-improvement, so we reached out to career experts and got their best advice on how to achieve these four career-boosting New Year’s resolutions in 2016.
1. Build your professional network. Everyone knows this is important, but many aren’t sure how to do it. Face-to-face networking events are great, but they aren’t enough, says Rising Star Résumés Lynda Spiegel. If you don’t use LinkedIn and Twitter, your network will only be local. Use social media to follow people with similar interests or careers on both sites and engage them in conversation about what they’re sharing, she advises. “Form relationships; that’s what networking is all about.”
2. Earn a degree. This could be the year you finish a degree program or start work on one. “Finishing the right degree can help you advance your career,” says Western Governors University President Robert Mendenhall. Consider institutions that work around adult schedules, such as online outlets or community colleges. “Research competency-based programs, which allow students to progress based on their mastery of knowledge, not how long they’ve put in ‘seat time,’” he says.
3. Boost your personal brand. When you’re seen as a vibrant and active team member, it can put you in line for high-profile projects or even a promotion. Make a commitment to become your office’s go-to person, says ACD Corp Chairman and CEO Ernie Bray. Start by writing and publishing articles on LinkedIn to show your expertise. “Focus on doing at least one goal per week that is designed to grow your professional skillset.”
4. Develop a personal advisory board. “You may already have one or two mentors in your life, but developing relationships with a larger, more varied group of individuals can go a long way toward helping you reach your professional goals,” says Rachel Kim, a career coach at SoFi. Reach out to people within and outside of your organization to benefit from a broader set of perspectives. Enlist an accountability partner who is trying to achieve a similar goal, and start small—for example, aim to add one person each quarter to your board.