5 Career Resolutions for a Successful 2017 | Burns & McDonnell CareersIt’s hard to believe that 2016 is almost over — and as you start looking toward new year, it’s time to take a moment to focus on your career and how you can take your professional development to the next level in 2017. New Year’s resolutions aren’t just about trying to eat healthier and finally making time to organize your garage — the new year is the perfect time to outline and plan career-specific goals that will help guide your professional life throughout the coming year.

Need some helping getting started? Don’t worry — we’re here to help! Here are a few simple — yet powerful — resolutions to help you stay on track and be even more successful in 2017!

Learn a new skill. Thanks to technology, the workplace is constantly evolving — and industries are, too. Even if you’ve only been out of school for a few years, you’ve probably noticed that a lot has changed. Now’s the perfect time to teach yourself a new skill, which will help you keep pace with this continued evolution. Maybe you could learn a new software program or pursue an industry-specific certification. Identify one skill you want to pursue, and carve out the time in 2017 to make it happen.

Network. Networking is a tough thing to accomplish. It’s not always fun to strike up conversations with people you don’t know — and depending on your personality type, it can be downright uncomfortable. That said, creating a network of professional connections is an invaluable way not just to build your own brand, but also to stay tapped into a pipeline of new professional opportunities and industry resources. Make it a point to attend a couple of networking events in 2017. And while you’re there, don’t get caught up in firing off your elevator pitch to as many people as possible. Instead, identify a handful of people you’d like to talk to and focus on doing just that — talking. The goal is to form a lasting connection with someone, and conversation is a critical step.

Consider a speaking opportunity. Accepting a speaking engagement is a great way to not only build awareness of your company, but also build your personal brand. If this is something you’re interested in, keep an eye out for speaking opportunities through your company, local professional organizations, conferences, college career days or other resources. Once you’ve booked a speaking engagement, be sure to allow enough time to create and practice your presentation. Don’t hesitate to solicit feedback from a trusted colleague or supervisor so that you can create the best experience possible for you and your audience.

Make a plan. Where do you see your career in one, five or 10 years? It’s never too late to make a career plan — and the start of a new year is the perfect time to put some serious thought into your professional journey. By identifying your long-term career goals, you can more easily measure your short-term progress and spot things you can do to keep yourself aligned with your vision.

Find a mentor (or become one). A mentor is an incredibly valuable professional resource. If you’re in the early stages of your career, enlisting the help of a mentor can help you get the information and perspective you need to excel in the workplace. Or you might find that you can offer some guidance in areas like technology to other colleagues—you don’t necessarily need to have a decade of experience under your belt to serve as a mentor. If you’re more established in your profession, serving as a mentor to a younger hire is a wonderful way to give back and help someone else learn from the wisdom and experience you’ve acquired. Check to see if your company has a mentoring program and get involved. If not, create a more informal partnership with a colleague or make a connection through a local college or professional organization.

You’ve got you work cut out for you, but with just a little planning, these practical resolutions will help you strengthen your network, develop new career skills and recharge your professional drive!

What career-related resolutions are on your list for 2017? Check out our Careers Facebook page, and tell us what you plan to do differently in the coming year to grow your career!

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