How to Assess Your Career in 2016 and Make Plans for Career Growth in 2017

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In order to move forward in your career, it’s imperative to take stock from time to time of where you have been. As 2016 comes to a close, it offers the perfect opportunity for you to look back on the last year and reflect on your professional growth. Not only will reflecting on your career help you see where you have grown, or failed to grow, but it can give you direction for where you want to be.

Assess Where You’ve Been

Now that we have reached the end of the year, think back over the last 12 months. Are you where you wanted to be in your career? Regardless of the answer, you should ask yourself several questions each year on a regular basis to determine if you are headed where you want to be, especially since goals can change over the course of time. Ask yourself the following questions to help self-assess your career health and growth:

1.      Did I grow as a professional or in my career in the last year?

2.      What has worked to get me where I am now?

3.      What hasn’t worked well?

4.      How can I grow, improve, and move forward this year?

5.      Do I feel challenged and fulfilled? If the answer is no, what do I need to do to make that happen?

6.      What did I like about my work this year?

7.      What didn’t I like about my work?

8.      What do I want for my career in the long term?

Set New Goals

Where would you like to grow professionally? Where do you see yourself at this time next year? To make a plan for success for the coming year, the first thing to do is to set goals. Set 3-5 goals you would like to bring to fruition in the next 12 months, one of which should be what your next career move will be. Keep the list short or you’ll find yourself overwhelmed.

Break Goals Into Smaller Parts

By breaking down each goal into smaller pieces on a quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily scale, it makes them more easily achievable. For example, if you want to promote in your field by searching for new career opportunities with other companies, perhaps aim to send out 20 resumes and cover letters each quarter, which pans out to about seven each month, or two per week. You could set aside two evenings a week to accomplish the goal: one for searching online for opportunities and the other for filling out cover letters and submitting your resume.

Develop a Plan

Make a list of what you need to do to achieve your next goal. Perhaps you’ll need to take a course, earn a certification, or go back to school to earn that MBA. Develop a timeline and action plan for achieving each specific goal, again, outlining what needs to be done when. Keep this posted in a place where you’ll see it daily, such as on your bathroom mirror, posted on the wall next to your computer, or on your nightstand so you will be reminded of it regularly.

Ask for Help

If you don’t know what steps to take next, ask for help. A trusted supervisor or advisor can offer support. You can also reach out to people in your industry online through LinkedIn and other social media. Asking questions about how you can improve or grow demonstrates to others that you are willing to do what it takes to move up in your career.

Check for Progress Frequently

As you check off your goals on a regular basis, you will feel more accomplished and you’ll be able to see your growth more frequently. This will empower you to take control of your career and make you more inclined to persevere. You can also correct any issues early to keep yourself on course to achieve your ultimate career goals.

Stocking Up for the Future

In conclusion, it’s important to take stock of your career growth on a regular basis in order to keep moving forward. Once you complete one goal, you need to set another in order to keep moving ahead and prevent stagnation in your work, which can lead to unhappiness. By taking the time on a regular basis to reflect on where you have been and where you are now, it can help point you in the right direction for future growth and fulfillment.

If you’re searching for tips on how to create a cutting-edge resume or bring your resume up to speed with 2017 resume trends, check out this article that includes my top 10 2017 resume tips.

In the meantime, I’d love to connect on LinkedIn and expand both our networks! Feel free to send me an invite here. You can also find me online at Great Resumes Fast where I help time-pressed job seekers create interview-winning resumes within three to five business days—and more than 85% of my clients get multiple interviews in two weeks or less. 

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!

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