We hear it ALL throughout January... "new year, new me!" and with that focus you may feel the pressure to find a new job. 2020 may have even gotten you thinking about your longterm career goals and making your career a focus of your New Year's resolutions. While a new job may be the right direction (and there is NOTHING I love more than helping people find a new gig!) there are a few things you can do right now to improve your career path without applying to a new position.
Start an encouraging emails folder
We all have hard days! I wish I'd understood when I was first starting out in my career that most of the time I wouldn't love my job, and that the days that were really rewarding would be few and far between. But there are times when work isn't only satisfying and providing a roof over our heads, but we truly see our purpose. When that happens it must be documented! Take a few minutes today to start an email folder for encouraging notes and messages from coworkers and clients. Then next time you have a hard day or a challenging meeting, you can take a look at your folder and scroll through those moments of peace and success.
Reach out to past coworkers
It's tempting to focus only on your current team, but I've often learned a lot more from old coworkers after we've stopped working together. It's easier to be more honest and real! If you're looking for feedback this is a great place to start, or you could even just check in with them to see how the holidays were. These are some of your strongest ties in your network, and you never know how they could be helpful to you down the road or vice versa. So send a quick text to a few old pals today and reminisce about that one time you both survived working on that horrible project together.
Schedule LTB chats
One of my dear friends, Marissa, told me about this practice she just started and it's BRILLIANT. She wanted to get to know more people in her company outside of her small team, and especially felt the need to branch out and "meet" more of her coworkers because she's working remotely, so she came up with the idea of "Learn the Business" or "LTB" chats. She reached out to several people and asked if they'd be willing to have a 15-20 minute discussion over Zoom about what they do, their background and what she can do to help them. This has allowed her to connect with entirely new people in her company, especially women, and it's been so beneficial to her morale as well. She's made new connections and friends, and knows way more about what goes on at her company. Take a tip from this brilliant friend of mine and schedule a few LTB chats today.
Update your LinkedIn profile
Too often people wait until they're desperate to find a new job to get their LinkedIn and Resume updated. By then you're often too stressed to even think clearly about your accomplishments! So take some time this week to freshen up your LinkedIn profile and dust off your resume. I recommend that everyone has a resume that's "send ready" for whatever may come your way. You don't want to be left in a panic if an opportunity comes up!
If you're lost and don't know how to talk about your experience in writing (trust me, everyone struggles with this) I know just how to help. My friends at Red Rocket Resume are experts at this and can get your resume ready to roll, and even help with your LinkedIn profile too!
Ask your boss for feedback
As a manager, I'm often shocked that it took an annual review and an ask for a raise to get my employees thinking about feedback. Take the chance this month to ask for honest and helpful feedback from your boss. Let your manager know this is simply for you to improve and that you want to know what you can work on and how you can make their job easier. I promise you this will pay off! I know that this habit is one reason I've been successful in my career.
I know that lists of resolutions and the pressure to change everything in your life can be overwhelming, so instead of trying to do it all, just choose a few of these tips and check them off your list today. You'll be so glad you did, especially when you are finally ready to find a new job.