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Start off the New Year with 5 goals that will improve you as a professional.

At the beginning of every new year, millions of people all across the world make New Year’s Resolutions. These range from the classic “I’m going to be healthy” to “I’m going to make my bed every day,” to the more extreme “This is the year I’ll find love” (we all know that person).

For us at Career Services we are big advocates for improvement in the professional world and huge fans of tangible goals. So we put together a list of 5 Career New Year’s Resolutions that are applicable to all students as they look to a new year of growth:

1. Learn a New Skill

No matter what your major is or what your job is, there are hundreds of ways that you can improve yourself and your skillset. This could look like learning a new coding language, learning how to use Adobe Photoshop, etc. There are so many options for you as an employee, or potential employee, to grow and learn valuable skills to take with you into the professional world. Code Academy has a ton of free options for you to learn coding languages or strengthen your already existing skills.

Pick a skill that you want to learn or improve at and then set attainable time period goals for when you want to achieve those. So, for example, if you want to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop you could commit to watching one tutorial a week, and set a long-range goal of obtaining intermediate proficiency in Photoshop by October 1st of this year. The key in choosing skills to learn is to set marks that you can hit over time and keep you on track.

2. Update Your Resume

This one can often fall to the wayside once you have obtained a job, but it is an important and easy step to ensure that you are always on top of things for your professional life. In your current job you are learning skills and holding responsibilities that would strengthen a resume. Be sure to add these to yours. If you need help working on your resume, we are here to help.

3. Read a Career-Related or Motivational Book

Reading is one of the best ways to learn and grow as a person. This new year find one book that interests you and pertains to an area of your life that you feel you need to improve on, it might be leadership, organization, networking, or time/money management. There are so many books out there that can grow you as a person. Take the time to choose books that you want to read this year. Again, plan out the marks that you want to hit at different time periods so that you can stay on track to hit this goal. If you aren’t sure what kinds of books to read, check out this list here of 10 motivational books that have rave reviews. 

4. Build a New Professional Contact Every Month

It is important that you are constantly networking and building relationships with other professionals in the business world. This year use resources like LinkedIn to connect with someone new, maybe someone within your company or at another. There is never any harm in establishing connections with those who may be able to help you find a job down the road or may be able to provide some insight into your life. Shoot to make one new and meaningful relationship every single month to continue building your network.

5. Find a Mentor

This one may seem a little unorthodox, but getting a mentor can be one of the most influential choices of your life. Those who are older than us have so much wisdom and experience to offer. We can learn so much by finding just one person who is ahead of us to pour into and invest in us. This could be a boss, another co-worker, a professor, etc. This is exceptionally helpful in the professional world. Find the person who has the job that you want and ask them to share with you some of the things they have learned, ask them questions that you may have. One person can share with you wisdom and advice that you would never be able to find in books. They have gone through so much and can share what to do, and probably what not to do, now that they are on the other side. If you need help finding a mentor, keep an eye out for the Mentor-a-Charger (MAC) program at the start of each Fall semester.

These are just five simple ways to grow yourself over the next year. Remember, the most important aspect is to set goals and marks that you can hit over time to keep you on track. You do not have to do all of these, but maybe one of these really resonates with you. Take advantage of the time that you have and really leverage this new year to grow as a professional.