As 2014 winds down, many individuals will begin to approach their careers with a fresh perspective. Goal-setting for the New Year is one way to set a game plan and create a manageable timeline for your “career resolutions.” Below are a few tips that will help you work towards your resolution – whether that’s a new, exciting role or a financial promotion – in 2015.
Communicate your intentions early on
If you’re looking to secure a promotion in 2015, it’s best to work backwards from the “time of promotion” to ensure that you stay on track and do what it takes to hold yourself – and your employer – accountable. Imagine that you are having the conversation in which you’d like to ask for a raise or promotion. Now zoom out and plan to prepare for that conversation six months in advance. This means that as soon as the New Year begins, it’s wise to set up a meeting with your manager or superior and set your goals and plan in motion. This initial meeting is not the time to ask for a promotion or raise (unless previously discussed), but it is a critical time to set up a plan for a future promotion or raise –assuming you are able to meet certain expectations. Rather than being reactive, you empower your position by planning proactively, and in setting up a roadmap to your desired raise or promotion, you are much more likely to get what you want, rather than having to hope for the best and leave your situation in the hands of someone else.
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Use a “long-game” approach
Similar to setting early expectations, it’s also important to think about the big picture and plan for the entire year ahead. Create a list of outcomes that you want to see by the end of 2015. Similar to a career resolution, this list should prioritize your top goals and professional achievements for the year. Check in with your list every month or so to stay focused and track your progress. This information keeps you on track but also provides great data and anecdotes when you prepare to ask for a promotion or raise. Being able to back up your progress and experience with tangible information goes a long way.
Share your goals with others
Although simple, it can’t be stressed enough that when you communicate what you want, you’re more likely to get it. Take this to heart by letting your superiors know that you are working towards certain goals, and also consider sharing your intentions with your family and friends. By letting others know what you want to accomplish, you’re more likely to be held accountable and to visualize the outcome you want. Additionally, talking over your goals with your closest family and friends lets them know what your priorities are for the year, which opens up opportunities for them to support you in ways you might not even realize.
Be prepared to re-assess your goals by third quarter
As the year passes the halfway mark and heads into the third quarter, you may find that your goals are more of a stretch than you initially imagined. If this is the case, it’s a good time to consider looking outside of your role or company for other opportunities that better align with your goals. It is always possible that your current company won’t be able to accommodate your professional aspirations, so having an open mind about outcomes that are different from what you expected (or even complete curve balls) is important. When you find yourself about two-thirds through the year, it’s a good time to weigh what you’ve accomplished and how exactly your resume and experience has changed. Is the promotion you have been working towards still on the table, or is it time to look at other opportunities?