Though it may seem hard to believe, 2018 is on the verge of wrapping up. If you want to set the stage for a rewarding 2019, here are a few work-related moves to make in the coming weeks.
1. Prepare for your performance review
If your company conducts performance reviews, there's a good chance you'll have one scheduled in the not-so-distant future. But rather than go into that meeting blindly, take the time to prepare so you're better equipped to address your manager's feedback.
If you were given a copy of last year's review, read it through, see what areas your boss asked you to improve on, and be prepared to show how you acted on those requests (or, if you didn't, come up with a solid explanation). At the same time, compile a list of ways you've added value to your company over the past year, so you can jog your manager's memory if the need arises.
Finally, assess your own performance honestly. Do you think you met expectations this year? If not, prepare for some negative commentary from your boss -- and figure out how you'll respond appropriately.
2. Send your business associates good holiday wishes
You're probably aware of how important it is to maintain your business network, but staying in touch with your various associates is easier said than done when you really have nothing in particular to say. The good thing about this time of the year is that it's always acceptable to reach out and wish folks a happy holiday season, so use it as an opportunity to get back on people's radars.
3. Finish a major project
When you're tasked with a big project, it can easily occupy much of your mental space, adding stress to your existing workload. Therefore, if you're working on a high-profile project, see if you can knock it out in the coming weeks. If you manage to do so before your performance review, even better. But if not, you'll still start the new year with one fewer pressing item on your agenda.
4. Negotiate a raise
Though you technically don't need to wait until the end of the year to talk about getting more money, December is usually an acceptable time to bring up the topic. If you've yet to ask for a raise this year, and your company hasn't yet offered one to take effect in 2019, have that conversation with your manager.
Of course, you shouldn't do so blindly, because you want your boss to take that request seriously. Spend some time researching salary data for your industry and job title to see how your compensation stacks up, and then present a number that represents your skill level in light of that data. To further drive home your point, be prepared to discuss the ways you've directly added value to your company or saved it money. If you have that discussion soon, you might see a nice boost in your first paycheck next year.
5. Update your resume
Even if you're happy at your current job, it never hurts to have an up-to-date resume for when new opportunities arise. So if it's been some time since you've looked at that document, bust it out and revise it accordingly. Though hiring tends to fall by the wayside during the holiday season, once the new year begins, budgets open up and new positions can materialize left and right. And if you are prepared with an updated resume, it'll be easier to jump on openings that come your way.
It's hard to focus on work matters during the holidays, when parties, gatherings, and gift-buying occupy much of your brain space. But tackle these key moves before the year closes out, and there's a chance you'll enjoy even more success once 2019 kicks into gear.