What excites you about your career or the potential the working world has to offer? Whatever the answer is for you, investing in your own career growth will generate excitement and enthusiasm when you’re feeling burned out. Whether you are already devoted to a position or you’re searching for a new job with the promise of growth and upward mobility, following these tips in the year ahead could energize your career life.

Defining Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Create a list of your career goals and career growth opportunities for the year ahead. Ask yourself questions such as: What excites me about this position? In what areas can I improve? In what areas am I weakest in my current role? What opportunities are there for improvement in my career?

Once you have your list, start looking for opportunities to learn and grow in these areas. It could be as simple as taking an online webinar, a professional course, or earning a new certification. Consider taking leadership courses/classes or reading a book on an area in the field you want to know more about. When you begin to see yourself as a competitive product, you can develop a personal brand that will highlight your strengths while differentiating you from the competition.

Determine Your Career Goals

Where do you see yourself in one year? How about ten years? Decide what your career goals are, and if you aren’t on a pathway that leads you where you want to go, now is the time to set the right course. Determine what excites you most and how you can utilize it to advance in your career or search for positions that will allow you to explore your strengths in order to achieve your goals.

Build a Network and Share Your Passions

Once you have determined what it is you are passionate about, share your talents with others. Let a supervisor know you are willing to host a training at work or can present during a workshop. This allows others to learn while you contribute to a positive work environment. It will also give you something fun to look forward to and an opportunity to show your employer you are interested in forward progress and growth in your career. This all makes a great case for a raise/promotion the next time an opportunity comes up.

Have a Positive Mindset

According to the book The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor, having the right mindset can make all the difference in your life. It’s no surprise Anchor found in his research of Harvard graduates that 75 percent of job success can be predicted on your level of optimism, social relationships, and how you perceive stress. He also reported the most successful workers were those who spent extra time with friends when they were feeling stressed, not those who worked the hardest. The big takeaway here is that your mindset has a huge impact on anything you do—whether you are job searching or are already working to climb the ladder with your current employer—so keep it as positive as possible. This is especially true when you hit a roadblock.

Know the Market and Competition

This is the part where you do your homework. Check with the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. What is the job outlook for your profession? If the numbers are looking good, you’ll be able to expect growth in your sector, which means there will likely be more jobs available. This can mean a shortage of qualified workers and the opportunity for a promotion or raise in the right climate. If there is a poor outlook, you know to expect more competition in the job market.

To get ahead, know what your competitors are doing.  Are they attending classes, joining professional organizations, reading up on the latest developments in your industry? Find out what the latest skills are for someone in your profession and ensure you have them. This may mean taking classes or attending some seminars to get you up to speed. Part of being a professional is knowing what is happening in your field.

Focus on the Right Things

Reserve your energy for the things that matter most to you, both at work and outside of it. Allowing yourself to be sapped of energy each day by an overly demanding boss, colleagues, or work schedule is not productive. Think about the most essential tasks you need to complete each day, set time aside to complete them, and move on. This will preserve enough energy to enjoy a personal life, which will create a more positive attitude for you. Furthermore, it will also give you a better focus on what type of work environment you are looking for if you’re job searching so you can find the right culture fit for you.

Create an Action Plan

Just like anything in life, you need a plan to achieve your goals. Outline what you need to do to get where you want to go. Think of this as your roadmap to success. Set smaller goals on the way to your ultimate goal. Know that as you age, your career goals may change, so you need to revisit your plan often and adapt it as necessary. Consider your career development plan a living document that can be adjusted to fit your needs.

Develop a Realistic Timeline

Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to break your goals into doable chunks with time markers. This will help you keep your eye on the prize so you can meet your smaller goals that add up to big achievements over time. Think of what you need to achieve each year, each month, each week, and daily to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself. Look ahead at the calendar for training dates, professional seminars, and deadlines for large projects and take note so you can make the most of these opportunities for growth and development.

Celebrate Your Successes, Even the Small Ones

Even when you experience a small success, or achieve one of the minor goals in your career development plan, celebrate! Even baby steps in the right direction are something to crow about—so enjoy those small victories to re-energize yourself on the way to achieving your larger career goals.

I believe you deserve a career that brings you joy, fulfillment, and the ability to live your best life.  If you’re having a hard time writing your resume or your current resume isn’t generating the response you’d hoped it would, please reach out to me at mary@resumeassassin.com or www.resumeassassin.com.

Mary Southern, M.Ed, Resume Assassin Founder