If you’re like many of us, you probably made a new year’s resolution to advance your career in some way in 2018. But alongside your fitness goals, healthy eating proclamation, and the promise to finally pick up that dusty book on your nightstand, it can be daunting to know where to begin with your professional growth.
Like finding the edge of the tape on that impenetrably-wrapped Christmas present from your brother, all you need is somewhere small to start, then you'll gain momentum. So here are a few simple things you can tick off your professional growth to-do list in the beginning of the year without getting overwhelmed.
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When you start your mornings sipping coffee and catching up on world news or industry trends, you’ll notice the change in your life fast. You’ll find that simply being more knowledgeable about what’s going on in the world makes it easier to start conversations, confidently speak up in meetings and at networking events, and just feel more connected to the world in general.
The Skimm newsletter is an excellent (and free) option, as it breaks down global, political, and pop culture news in a concise and humorous way.
Clean out your closet
Donate any shabby clothes and shoes you’ve been hoarding to your favorite charity and polish your professional look. (Note: This doesn’t require purchasing a brand new wardrobe, as that directly conflicts with New Year’s resolution number E.34, “Save Money”.) Updating your look will not only make a great impression at work, but will increase your self-confidence, which is just as attractive.
Update your LinkedIn photo
Now that you’re riding the endorphins of your bolstered confidence, head over to LinkedIn and give your profile a once over. Upload a new photo that’s no longer a vacation selfie from six years ago. Ask someone to take a new professional headshot for you and try experimenting with a black and white filter.
Invite one of your mentors to grab coffee
This one is easy, and better yet, involves caffeine. Ask a mentor or even a former colleague to meet for coffee and catch up. In today’s world of cyber isolation, it’s so important to maintain our relationships on a personal level. Face-to-face conversations will strengthen your bond - especially helpful if you use that person as a reference on job applications - and can often lead to professional benefits, like learning about a new job opportunity or skills class.
Organize your workspace
It’s a strange but reliable fact that cleaning and organizing your work space can affect how clean and organized your brain feels. Remove clutter, keep useful books and resources nearby, and replenish office supplies. With the mess out of sight, you’ll find yourself more motivated and efficient.
Growing your career in the new year doesn’t need to feel like moving mountains. Professional growth is a marathon, not a sprint. If you make your list too long in January, soon the only marathon you’ll want to participate in is on Netflix. Good luck ticking off your to-do list, and who knows, with the right momentum, you just might feel like adding to it.