1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Ten Keys for Taking Control of Your Career

New Year's Resolutions for Job Seekers


In addition to losing weight and spending more time with family, many people will vow to improve their professional lives in the coming year. According to research, one of the top 10 most popular New Year's resolutions is job-related. However, in the busy months that follow, many of these goals are forgotten and never achieved.

Here are 10 keys you need to realize your professional objectives and take control of your career:

1. Explore career options
As the year winds down, reflect on your job by asking yourself these questions: Does my current position utilize my professional abilities and talents? Am I maximizing my earning potential? Am I doing what I was born to do or something that I'm passionate about? If the answer is an overwhelming "no," assess your work style and personal characteristics and discover a career field that highlights them.

2. Brush up on job skills
On the other hand, if your career suits you, take time to better yourself at what you do. Stand out from other employees by completing the latest training and updating your industry expertise. With an Internet connection, workforce development is at your fingertips. You can peruse TheeLearningCenter.com, the world's largest compilation of career training courses in a number of languages, from the comfort of home to find convenient options that will bolster your skill sets and strengthen your resume.

3. Meet with your boss
Instead of guessing at your strengths and weaknesses, gain the input you need directly from your boss. Schedule a lunch or sit down over coffee to get their opinion on skills that will boost your advancement possibilities. Meeting regularly to review performance will help you re-evaluate goals and set priorities.

4. Set realistic career goals
Identify what you want to accomplish professionally in 2008 and write them down in order of priority. Your goals may include improving current work performance, being promoted to a job that you're qualified for or making a complete career switch. Just make sure each goal is specific and attainable.

5. Establish a plan of action
Think of the required steps you need to take to get your 2008 career goals underway, and put them down on paper. Give yourself deadlines to follow, but keep them realistic. Remember that becoming CEO of a company does not happen overnight.

6. Start preparing now
What are you waiting for? The downtime of the holiday season is a perfect time for you to get a head start on your career goals. Make a list of career challenges to conquer this week and celebrate your achievements along the way. The small steps today will lead to big accomplishments in the New Year.

7. Get organized
Take time in the slow holiday weeks to rearrange your files so they are more organized and efficient. Start by archiving anything you haven't sourced in the last year into a file cabinet further from your desk, leaving the files used daily closer and less cluttered.

8. Analyze your work day for efficiencies
Practice better time management in the coming year. Are you making your phone calls when people are normally at their desk (8:00 - 9:30), rather than in meetings or at lunch (10:00 - 1:00)? Are you spending too much time on certain activities? Make a to-do list before you leave the office and dedicate the next day to completing those tasks.

9. Boost work relationships
Strong relationships with people you work with can develop in small ways. For example, keep a positive attitude when working with others or key co-worker birthdays into your calendar and recognize them on their special day. Maintaining good relationships with colleagues will not only make the office a place you want to be but can boost work productivity. And, you never know who may get promoted and become your next boss.

10. Follow through on actions
Taking control of your career will not happen unless you follow through. Visualize your success regularly and don't be afraid to ask for help when necessary. More importantly, pursue your goals aggressively and resolve not to give up on reaching them.

Being in the career training industry for more than 20 years, If you get a head start on your career resolutions now, this will be the year to reach your full potential and finally take charge of your career.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.