Five Career Resolutions You Need to Make Right Now
It's a New Year - time to evaluate your professional goals and assess the progress you've made in your career over the last 12 months. Are you happy with where you're at and where you're headed?
If the answer is no, consider putting into practice these straightforward career resolutions.
Know what you want and go get it. In your career, just like in life, it helps to have a plan. "Being successful and advancing is not just about 'the five things I need to do on my review'," says LaVonne Dorsey, a certified leadership, career and life coach. "It is also about an external and internal PR plan, determining who you know doing what you do at other companies and identifying places you can volunteer, network and do good." Be proactive. Don't sit around waiting for someone to give you something.
Ask for help, but be specific. Having a mentor is important if you want to successfully climb the ladder of success. Unfortunately, too many of us approach executives we admire with broad requests, asking them general questions about their career journey instead of asking for exactly what we need. According to John Rice, founder of Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a career development institution that serves high potential African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, workers should "understand what types of introductions or support a possible mentor may be able to offer, making requests based on your needs and their abilities."
Get over yourself. The first step to moving your career forward involves assessing your current situation. You need to be able to ask for-- and stomach --honest feedback. Talk to people who will honest with you, even if that honesty stings. "If you don't have someone who can hold up the mirror for you and give you feedback on your resume, your attitude or your interactions with others, you can't change," says, Dorsey. Be open to receiving feedback, hear it-- really hear it - and then do something with that information
Step outside of your comfort zone. As African-Americans, we sometimes look to befriend co-workers who "look like us." According to Dorsey, living in this 'comfort zone' could be the very thing holding us back. "We have to blend. If we're not in the blend and the mix, we tell a story about ourselves. The story may not be right but that's the perception," she says. This doesn't mean you should turn your back on your culture or who you are; it's about making sure those in a position to advance your career know that you can play well with all types of people.
Get Involved. Joining an affinity group does have its benefits; you just have to know how to make the most of the experience, Rice says. "It does very little for you to simply join an affinity group, but you can actually create a name for yourself if you get involved and support the group's efforts." Choose your activities wisely-- "quality, not quantity" is Rice's guiding principle-- and look for opportunities where you can both demonstrate your strengths while also learning new skills and making new connections.
Venita Griffin researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for Black Careers.