We are approaching office holiday party week. More offices and professional organizations may have real parties this year as COVID concerns diminish. Also, from a career perspective, it’s time for end-of-year evaluations, bonuses, and even layoffs in some industries.
As we wrote in a post at the end of 2021, this is the time of year to take action. Here are a few things to do now:
- Recap your 2022 accomplishments,
- Reconnect with your network of business and professional contacts,
- Advance your education, and
- Strategize for next year.
Job market conditions have swung rapidly in recent years, and so have the fortunes of individual companies, so it’s worth the time to take stock of accomplishments, renew your contacts, ad make a plan for 2023. The information you gather and the strategies you devise now could come in handy even if you do not plan on moving now because internal or external opportunities may emerge unexpectedly in 2023.
Recap your 2022 accomplishments.
Now is the time to document your accomplishments. It’s easy if your organization has an annual assessment or evaluation process. If you have your own business, or did freelance work during 2022, you may want to start gathering information for tax purposes, so it is still a good time to review your results.
Organizations that have annual assessment systems may ask employees to provide evidence of their achievements for the year to supervisors or department heads. Some employers make it even easier by asking supervisors to write-up accomplishments for their team. Regardless of whether you or your boss generates the list of accomplishments, you will have a document to use in your next career move. We have constructed major portions of highly successful client resumes from the client’s annual performance reviews. (Click here for an example.)
Whether your company has an assessment structure that helps you track accomplishments, or you have to do it yourself, it’s worth the effort. Your accomplishments, as discussed in a previous blog post, form the centerpiece of your resume, LinkedIn profile, job search letters, and talking points for your interviews.
So, take the opportunity to enumerate your accomplishments this year for your next promotion or job search campaign.
Reconnect with your network of business and professional contacts.
Now that you have documented your accomplishments over the past year, it is time to look forward. Start by attending holiday professional functions you are invited to. Holiday events may be the only chance you get to speak informally with leadership in your organization, industry, or profession. They will now know who you are when your resume or LinkedIn profile comes across their screen later in the year.
Whether or not you attend holiday parties, lunches, or dinners, use the holiday as an opportunity to exchange online greetings with your relevant LinkedIn connections. You can do this over the next few weeks rather than sending hundreds of messages at one time.
Given the labor shortage in many occupations, you may be surprised by the number of contacts that ask who you know that may be looking for work.
You can also refresh your network through conventional holiday card exchanges. It’s relatively easy if your company or professional organization provides a list of home addresses each year. This is an “old school” way of maintain connections with people you rarely see.
And don’t forget to bring business cards to events with family and friends. It was once very common for family members to arrange jobs in their organizations for other family members. My father helped my oldest brother start a career at the company where he worked, for example. While many companies do not permit close relatives to work together, we all have family and friends that “know someone who knows someone.” Such connections do not always pan out, but provide your business contact information anyway. You could be pleasantly surprised with a call or email after the New Year.
Advance your education.
When I began career advising in the 1990s, we told clients that their most important education was a college degree. Anything else seemed to have little credibility with employers.
The situation has changed in recent years. A recruiter told me last year he is finding that the college degree is not the only credential which makes a difference anymore. This is true for at least two reasons. First, industry certifications have increased in importance. Second, short-term courses add valuable keywords to your career marketing materials, especially your LinkedIn profile.
The recruiter told a group that he has received job orders specifying an industry certification as a requirement and a college degree listed as “preferred” instead of “required.” What this means is that, in some cases, you may want to make relevant certifications more prominent than your degree in your career marketing materials.
Short online courses that do not lead to formal certifications now have more value than they once did, too. That is because they add keywords to your LinkedIn profile. For example, I “attended” a SkillShare class on blog writing last year. LinkedIn added the class to my profile, with my approval, so blog writing has been added to the keywords on my profile. Recruiters scan profiles electronically, so the keywords may bring a profile to an employer’s attention even if they do not read the course or certification section of your page.
There is no way a two-hour class in blog writing, or anything else, for that matter, will give you the same knowledge, skill, and credibility you will get from a college degree. People hire people, though, so it is important to get through the electronic filters and appear in a hiring team member’s virtual inbox.
You probably cannot get an accredited college degree during your end-of-year vacation, but you may find time for short courses before your holiday dinner. It’s also easy to start a degree program online at Web sites such as Coursera at any hour of the day or night. The lecture videos, I’ve found, are broken into bite-sized segments you can watch whenever you have a few spare minutes, and you can take quizzes or write papers whenever you are ready.
Set goals and plans for next year.
Last, but not least, make a plan for next year. Tell someone close to you about it so you are more likely to act on your plan. Make your plan as specific as possible so you can measure progress.
Write your plan down. A coach says in her goal-setting course, that you are 42% more likely to reach your goal when you put it on paper.
Your goal should be achievable. Amazingly, I speak with jobseekers from time-to-time that have set goals of landing jobs they do not have the credentials to fill. That does not mean they can never land the job. It means that their short-term goal should be to achieve the needed credentials.
Take a few minutes to match your experience and credentials with the requirements for jobs you are applying for if you are doing a job search now. This will improve your chances of landing the job you want at the salary you deserve in 2023. So, assess your 2022 results, think about what you want to achieve in 2023, and then set an achievable goal.