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5 Career Coaches Share Their Favorite Career Resolutions

Now that we’re nearly done with the Champagne and Auld Lang Syne, it’s time to think about a new start for 2017, and that includes your career. Do you love your job, your co-workers and your company? Can you add more value to your organization or is it time to move on? It’s time to refresh your career and make 2017 fantastic in a way that 2016 simply wasn’t.

To find out how you can put some new life into your career in 2017, we reached out to five career coaches and asked their advice. Here are their best career resolutions.

Find a Better Job

If you’re unemployed or in a job you hate, you already know you need to find something fast. But what if you like your job? Should you still be looking? Yes, says Dave Nast, managing partner at Nast Partners, an executive coaching and leadership development firm in Philadelphia.

The economy is improving and job-hopping is increasingly common as the balance shifts to a job-seeker’s market, he says. “According to a recent national study by Jobvite, 45 percent of employees will jump ship for a new job even though they are happy with their current position,” Nast says. Companies are experiencing a talent shortage, a significant shift from the recession when there were more candidates than jobs. Businesses have gone from having to do more with less to paying top dollar for top talent. Put your résumé online at sites like Louisiana Job Connection and see what kind of response you get. If you already have a résumé posted, take a few minutes to update it. You may find an even better fit than what you have now, Nast says.

Develop New Skills

Perhaps your resolution is to make 2017 a learning year — to get that certification you’ve been lacking for a while, or to learn a foreign language. Any knowledge you gain will make you more valuable to employers. In particular you should emphasize soft skills, says Anu Mandapati, founder of IMPACT Leadership Coaching in Austin, Texas.

She recommends focusing on a single soft skill to take you to the next level. If you don’t know which one to work on, she suggests conducting your own 360-degree feedback and asking how others perceive you. “Once you know which skill to work on, identify a person who has really mastered this skill and ask for their guidance. Communicate your improvement goals to them and others who most interact with you to hold you accountable and help you get there faster,” she says.

Know Your Worth

Did you think about asking for a raise in 2016 but held off simply because 2016 was awful? No one can blame you for that. But now that 2017 is here, it may be time to rethink things and request that raise.

A new year often brings fresh budgets, so there could be money available now, says Josh Doody, author of “Fearless Salary Negotiation: A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Paid What You’re Worth.” However, he cautions, “if everyone gets performance reviews and raises at the same time, it’s probably best to wait a few more months so you’re not splitting the same budget with everyone else.” In the meantime, look for very specific things you’ve done this past year to add additional unanticipated value in your job. If you can list a few things, you’re on good footing to ask for an increase, Doody says.

Land a Promotion

No one wants to be the intern forever. At some point everyone has to take a leap and say they’re ready for more responsibility and a more complex job. Is 2017 the year you reach for a higher rung on the ladder?

If you’re starting to get bored and wanting to contribute more, that’s a sign you’re ready for the next stage in your career, says Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Résumé Strategists in New York City. Other signs include higher-level people valuing your contributions and complimenting your work, seeking your guidance or including you in meetings, she says.

If you want an internal promotion, she recommends volunteering for high-level projects that will get you noticed and give you opportunities to be involved in different areas of the company. And if you have a good relationship with your boss, tell her you want to be considered for other opportunities, she says. “Be careful though. You don’t want them to feel like you’re issuing an ultimatum, like you’ll leave if you don’t get it,” she says.

If there isn’t any room for growth at your organization in the near future, or if you don’t love the culture or pay structure, it may be time to look elsewhere. A lot of people get too comfortable in roles they don’t hate but also don’t love because it’s easier than dealing with a job search, she says. “But what are your real career goals? Will this job get you where you want to go? If the answer is no, move on,” Gelbard says.

Network with Everyone

Networking opens you up to a host of opportunities personally and professionally, and if you haven’t been doing this in a strategic fashion, you should change that in 2017. Whether you want to make more professional connections, sit on a charitable board or simply make new friends, networking is the key.

The key to great networking is helping others, says John Paul Engel, founder and coach at Knowledge Capital Consulting in Sioux City, Iowa. “My life changed the day I realized that I could reach out to anyone and that I could become friends with anyone if I found a way to help them,” he says. Identify any people you want to meet or groups you want to be part of and find a common connection, he suggests. When you attend professional events, ask thoughtful questions, introduce yourself to organizers and volunteer, he says. If you become someone who helps others, you’ll become someone everyone wants to know.

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