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Have a New Year's Career Realization - not Resolution

new_yearsNew Year's is always the time of year that people decide to change their behavior to somehow make their lives better. Some people promise themselves to diet and exercise, other promise to quit smoking or volunteer more. Whatever the resolution, unfortunately throughout the year, we slowly forget our resolutions and go back to our old bad habits.

Because of this perpetual backslide, when it comes to a resolution like improving your career, it might actually be more productive to have New Year's realizations, instead of resolutions.

Mark Babbitt, Founder and CEO of YouTern, explains why choosing to make realizations rather than resolutions can actually be more effective and better for you.



By Mark Babbitt, YouTern

The start of a new year motivates many of us to make a fresh start… a deliberate attempt to change and improve our lives – and careers. And, of course, this leads to the creation of a new set of New Year’s resolutions.

Before you jump in and start making your list for 2015, I’d like to suggest a different approach.

Instead of a list of resolutions… take the time to make a list of realizations – those foundational reality points that will help you plan for a successful new year:

  • Good or bad… what is my current career reality?
  • What has worked over the past year to improve my career? What has not worked?
  • What have I learned from the process?
  • What is within my sphere of influence – and what is out of my control?

This process is especially important for anyone anxious about their future who may just be hoping their situation gets better. Included are those out of work as we enter 2014, recent graduates who haven’t yet found their niche in the workplace and college students concerned about joining a tough job market.

As I’ve worked with those students, graduates and workforce veterans who have succeeded over the past year, I’ve compiled a list of suggested realizations that may help you in 2015:

  1. Stop hoping the job market will get back to “good” or even “better” – act and plan as if it will not
  2. In today’s online “everyone knows everyone” world, you are a brand – make it a good brand
  3. Developing an entrepreneurial (or intrapreneurial) spirit is critical to getting hired
  4. You must be networking through social media and face-to-face – or you’re falling behind your career competition
  5. Developing mentor relationships with influencers within your industry is crucial
  6. For college students: your degree alone is not going to get you a job; developing your career is going to be hard work – and you must start right now
  7. For recent graduates and workforce veterans out of work or underemployed more than six months: what you are doing now isn’t working… consider making a significant change to your approach
  8. Aligning your online presence with the culture of the companies you want to work for has never been more important
  9. If you allow yourself to fall into (or stay in) victim mode, or come across as desperate in any way, you are in trouble… victims are rarely hired
  10. You do not need to be perfect – you just need to be better than your job seeking competition

These realizations, and those you add that are specific to your personal situation, will help you know where you stand now – and what needs to be done. From here… now you are ready to make your New Year’s resolutions. Be specific. Set quantifiable goals. Reset your mindset.