The best New Year's career resolutions for people in their 20s
Get ahead in your career this year with these 10 tips for entry-level workers.
If you're a year or so out of college and still relatively new to the workforce, your career path may feel a little up in the air. What better time than the dawn of the new year to get on track?
Take a look at a few career-related New Year's resolutions and commit yourself to achieving them in the next 12 months.
Ask more questions
Acknowledge that your college degree, while valuable, hasn't taught you everything you need to know to be successful in the world of work. If you don't understand something, say so—and then ask your more experienced colleagues for guidance. This will earn your colleagues' admiration by demonstrating your curiosity and willingness to say, "I don't know, but I'm willing to learn."
Reach out to colleagues you don't know
Don't wait for people you don't know to welcome you to the organization—seek them out and introduce yourself. This will show self-confidence, approachability, and respect for others, which in turn will help earn your colleagues' respect.
Find a mentor
Establish a collaborative relationship with a more seasoned professional in your field who can be a sounding board and support your career development, providing you the benefit of new career wisdom.
Document your successes
Create a spot (desktop folder, file drawer, etc.) where you can store proof of your professional activities and achievements, such as blog posts you've written, budgets you've developed, or educational plans you've created for clients. This will give you organized evidence of you accomplishments for both future employers and yourself.
Learn a new job-related skill
Pick a skill area like writing, developing websites, or presenting to large groups and work on it by taking a course at a nearby college or university or through a local community education program to build on an existing strength or learn how to better manage a weakness.
Volunteer to work on a challenging project
Look for or create a way to push slightly outside your professional comfort zone to gain new skills as well as the experience to help you climb the ladder within your current organization or advance elsewhere.
Build expertise in your field
Read industry publications and attend professional conferences when time and money allow, expanding your knowledge base and demonstrating your ongoing commitment to your chosen field.
Expand your network
Get involved in at least one professional association to meet people outside your own organization. Also, set up periodic meetings with fellow professionals in your area to learn about what they do and how. This will acquaint you with more people in your industry and help them get to know you so you can get (and give) career assistance when you need it.
Spot solutions as well as problems
Go to your colleagues and superiors not just to air concerns, but also to propose ways to effectively address them. Cultivate a reputation as someone who both sees and solves problems.
Get a life
Revive a favorite pastime or pursue a new one so your entire identity isn't built around your career. This will give you the type of work/life balance that will make this coming year a great one, both professionally and personally.