The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect upon the many experiences and accomplishments you’ve had over the year. It is also a time to think about your hopes for what’s to come in the new year. There are many ways you can use your downtime during the holidays, but if you’re unsettled in your current professional path, one smart way to invest this time is in making a plan to advance your career.
Maybe you simply want to accelerate your growth in your current position, or maybe you want to transition to a whole new field. No matter how big or small your career goals, the best time to develop an action plan is right now.
During the holidays, most people typically have a bit more flexibility in their schedule which can allow for additional time to dedicate to job searching or learning new skills. Additionally, you can get a leg up on the competition who may be shutting down completely during this festive time of year. Do you want a promotion at your current job? Make it a holiday goal to create a list of career move activities that will help you stick to your schedule and reduce frustration.
Don’t wait for the New Year to think about your goals and aspirations; get a jump start during the holidays! A great place to start is with this checklist that will help you find your motivation and zero in on your to-dos.
1. Define Your Career Goals
First, carve out time where you can clear your mind and really think about your “why.” Why are you unsettled on your current career path? Why do you want to make a change? Why is this change worth the time and effort to accomplish your goal? Write down the factors that are motivating you in this moment. Think about your ideal professional situation. What are your goals? Do you want a new job at a new company? Want to step up in your current employment? Or do you want to change your career completely? Maybe you want a remote position or you want to learn more skills to get that promotion. Identify your needs and wants and use them to create a small list of a tangible career goal that you can realistically meet in the new year. Check out this short career evaluation to get you started.
2. Update Your Resume
Whether you’re looking for new employment or want to grow your current position, it is always a good idea to update your resume to reflect your current skills and achievements. Use the holiday downtime to create a list of all your successful projects and identify the impact you made. Use the list and identify strengths and skills that can help place you in your desired role. Free tools like My Perfect Resume and Jobscan’s Resume Builder can help you update and polish your resume. Then, when that job opportunity comes around, you will be well prepared to seize the moment by submitting a glowing resume that reflects who you are today.
3. Refresh Your Online Presence
Whether you're happy with your current job or craving something new, renewing your personal online brand is a great way to stay current in this new digital era. This process starts with your social media presence, especially LinkedIn. If your profile is public, anyone can view or share your profile to see your experience, skills, education, interests, recommendations, and more. The digital world can help spread your brand to your advantage, but only if it’s a positive reflection of your skills, experience, and passion. Ask a friend or family member who works in a professional field to look at your online presence through a potential employer’s eyes. This exercise can help you uncover blindspots you want to address before you begin actively pointing people to check you out online.
4. Invest in Your Social Network
The holidays are a time to socialize! And this includes for professional purposes as well. Attend events that allow you to mingle with people who can introduce you to job opportunities. Office parties or even a holiday party at your friend’s house can help you connect with valuable contacts in a friendly, casual setting. Utilize these social events to reach out to current or old friends, managers, and colleagues. Make job hunting and career transitions a natural part of the conversation. And most importantly, always put your best professional foot forward in your appearance and behavior. Don’t force the conversation, but where the opportunity presents itself, don’t hesitate to mention your job search or desired career transition.
5. Grow Your Skills
Show current or prospective employers that you've been making good use of the holiday season to learn a new skill, gain certification(s), or become better acquainted with an in-demand piece of technology in your field. There are many resources available today that allow you to upskill from the comfort of your home. NuPaths programs can help you sharpen your tech skills and help you get in-demand certifications. Choose from over 7 in-demand programs to help you advance your career starting this holiday season. Additionally, you can treat yourself with a gift by taking advantage of special funding options including free scholarships.
The holidays are a time to reconnect, recharge, and refocus on a brighter future. Investing even just a portion of your holiday downtime into creating a plan to advance your career will be among the best gifts you can give yourself. While others are taking this time “off,” you can take initiative to get ahead. Ultimately, what matters is being able to understand what you want out of your current career and how it will develop in the future. What do you want your future self to look like?
Use the tips mentioned in this checklist to help you put a plan in place for success. Imagine the confidence and excitement you’ll have when you feel that you’ve taken proactive measures to shape your future by thinking and planning ahead this holiday season!