10 new year's resolutions to jump-start your career
Wanna revamp your career or find a new one in 2010? Here are some New Year’s resolutions worth making, courtesy of Debra Shigley, author of “The Go-Getter Girl's Guide.”
1. Start asking for more money now. A study showed that women who consistently negotiate salaries earn at least $1 million more over their careers. So don’t accept their first offer. “Your biggest negotiating point is before you get in the door, when they’re trying to court you,” Shigley said. If a company won’t agree to paying you more, ask for other non-monetary perks, such as more vacation days.
The economy has caused some to avoid talking about raises entirely. It shouldn’t. “Even if you’re not going to get a raise right now you want to stake your claim,” she said. “It’s also good practice.”
2. Resourcefulness is key. You can’t expect your boss to hold your hand and teach you how to do something. “You need to figure things out yourself,” Shigley said. “You need to prove that you can do everything they want.”
3. Expand your circle. Shigley suggested going to as many parties as you can — especially work-related or alumni events — and trying to make connections. Often, it can help to bring a friend along, too.
You also want to talk people around you, because you never know who can help you out. “You do need to get out of your comfort zone. That’s how you can stretch your career,” she said.
4. Find allies and advocates. It’s important to find people who respect you and support you in the office, so that when decisions are being made behind closed doors, you know you’ll be vouched for. “It doesn’t have to be a friendship thing, it’s more about looking solid and having a strong work ethic,” Shigley said. While this rule usually applies to superiors, it behooves you to be friendly to everyone,” she said. “You never know when you could be working for your old intern. Or you might find that having a good relationship with the CEO’s assistant will get you a meeting with the CEO faster.”
5. Looks matter at work. Shigley recommends dressing for the job you want, not the job you have. “You want to embody what you want to be. Especially in a corporate environment, that can set you apart. People notice what you wear,” she said.
6. Forget so-called "work life balance.” This “non-meaningful, yet overused term” can make you feel overwhelmed if you’re not acing life AND work, Shigley said. “Think of it more as a ‘work life triage. Think of your life in terms of phases. If you have a very focused professional goal, it might mean your personal life will take a back seat for the moment.”
7. Think in terms of passion AND money. When you think about your dream job, take into account your skills, talent, passion as well as money, Shigley said. You can also always pursue your passions on the side, she added.
8. Create your own opportunities. At work, you want to listen more than you talk. Notice what kinds of problems there are, come up with solutions, and ask your boss if you can implement them.
9. Know when to quit. If you’re bored to tears, have tried creating opportunities and it’s not working, it may be a good time to look for something new.
And, if you’ve asked for a raise or promotion twice and you still haven’t gotten it, you might need to go somewhere with the resources you need. “The recession is kind of an excuse,” Shigley said. “People are getting promoted.”
10.Cultivate mentors. You need three kinds of mentors: "Big picture" mentors (industry leaders) workplace mentors (bosses or co-workers who can provide clarity), and peer mentors (friends who give good advice).
The big picture mentors can be consulted for quarterly check-ins and 15-second questions (it’ll often be incumbent on you to cultivate those relationships); workplace mentors can be consulted more frequently, and peer mentors as often as you like (those can also be more personal).