Now that 2018 is rapidly winding down, many workers are setting their sights on the new year. As you get ready for 2019, it pays to think about the things you can do to further your career and make your work life more fulfilling. Here are a few to focus on.
1. Develop some new skills
Having new skills under your belt won't just make for a more impressive resume; it'll also make you happier professionally. Learning on the job (or outside the job) will help you stay engaged and open the door to new projects and opportunities, whether at your current employer or a new one, so if you can't remember the last time you focused on professional development, sign up for an online course, attend a seminar, or shadow a more seasoned colleague or mentor at work and see what you pick up on.
2. Be a better leader
Whether you're the boss, a project manager, or a regular employee who occasionally gets called upon to step up, the stronger a leader you are, the better it'll serve your career. As the new year kicks into gear, think about the things you can do to improve as a leader, whether it be working on your communication skills or developing skills that relate to your specific job or industry.
3. Take chances
It's easy to coast along inside your comfort zone at work, but in doing so, you'll likely miss out on opportunities to get promoted or dabble in more exciting things. Rather than continue on that path, take a few calculated risks in the coming year. Suggest a process change that alters the way your company runs, or present a marketing campaign that's so out there it just might work. Not only is risk-taking a good way to get your boss' attention, but it might help you enjoy what you do a lot more.
4. Keep networking
When you're busy trying to manage work-related demands, it's hard to carve out time to keep up with old colleagues or the folks you met at a business conference way back when. But, actually, networking is one of the most important things you can do for your career, no matter what stage of it you're in. Being in touch with the right people could help you jump on new opportunities that boost not your only income but your level of job-related satisfaction, so make an effort to meet up with your contacts once every few months for lunch, coffee, or the occasional sporting event. And if there's really no time for that, at least email them every so often.
5. Support those around you
Whether you're a manager or part of a team, the support you give the folks you work with could help them be more content and successful in the coming year. It's never a bad thing to pledge to give more of yourself, whether that means stepping in to help when your colleagues are loaded down with deadlines or volunteering to take over a presentation so your coworker with a fear of public speaking doesn't have to. The more supportive you are, the more others will step in and help you in return. Plus, it's just plain a nice thing to do.
6. Ask for a raise
Bringing up the topic of money is never easy. But if you truly believe you're underpaid at your job, or you haven't gotten a boost in quite some time, you'll need to get over your fears and ask for a raise directly. And if you are willing to speak up, there's a good chance it'll pay off. Job site CareerBuilder reports that 56% of employees have never asked for a raise, but among those who have had that conversation, 66% have been successful to some degree. So do some research to see what the going rate is for your job title, and make a case for more money if your earnings aren't where you want them to be.
The beginning of a new calendar year is the perfect time to focus on improving your career, so think about the things that are most important to you and the goals you want to achieve. With any luck, 2019 will be your most successful year yet.