New year, new career?! With a little perseverance and a lot of elbow grease, 2019 could be the year that you transcend your professional plateau and kick your work life into overdrive. Here are 10 things we recommend you do to make 2019 your best professional year ever.
1. Be on time.
“Early is on time. On time is late. And late is unacceptable!” If you ever worked in or were educated in especially strict environments, you’ve probably heard some variation of this quote. And there’s a bit of truth to it. You don’t need to show up 30 minutes early to everything — that’ll creep people out. But you should at least strive to be on time. Punctuality demonstrates that you’re organized and reliable — key traits of every serious professional.
2. Grow your professional network.
As tempting as it is to head home after work and binge that new Netflix series you heard about, you may want to consider incorporating a few networking events into your after-work plans. Meeting new people in your industry is what keeps you connected to what’s going on, and your dream job could be a happy hour away.
3. Update your LinkedIn profile.
You know those new people we told you to go meet? They’re all on LinkedIn, and you should be, too. It’s your virtual resume, so it’s critical that the information on it is 100% up to date, well-written and attention-grabbing. That way, when your new friends add you, your profile will make a great first impression.
4. Update your headshot.
Yeah, and while you’re updating the information on your LinkedIn profile, take a quick gander at your profile photo. Is it blurry? Your dog in the background? Is there some anonymous shoulder touching yours from the person you cropped out? If any of the above are true, or your photo just doesn’t look as good as you know it could, invest in a professional headshot. Your profile, and your career, will thank you.
5. Join a professional organization.
Sure there may be a fee to get started, but if you join the right professional organization, it’ll pay for itself in connections and opportunities. Look for an organization that is focused in your field and hosts events often.
6. Learn something new.
The more skills you have in your repertoire, the more marketable you’ll be to employers. So if there’s something you’ve been meaning to learn, make it a goal in 2019 to get it done. And if you can prove that your new skill will benefit your current employer, they may be willing to cover the cost of your training.
7. Get feedback.
A good supervisor will always take the time to deliver clear, honest feedback to their team members. But every supervisor isn’t a good one, so it’s up to you to make sure you always know where you stand. Every two weeks, try and grab 15 minutes of your supervisor’s time for a quick check-in. You’ll be respected for taking control of your career by addressing any weaknesses head-on.
8. Don’t hold grudges.
The workplace is a breeding ground for conflict. No matter how perfect your job is, there’s bound to be someone that you just don’t vibe with. And that’s okay. But what’s not okay is holding on to disagreements and taking things too personally. It’s emotionally draining and unproductive. Just let it go, and focus on doing your best work.
9. Monitor your stress level.
75-90% of all doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. So if you have a particularly demanding job, it’s critical that you find ways to monitor and manage your stress level. Incorporate activities like slow breathing, stretching and working out to keep you feeling calm and less overwhelmed. Oh, and don’t be afraid to use those vacation days. You need time off to rejuvenate.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, as you’re striving for that next accolade or promotion, it’s easy to forget that there are others out there that have it way worse than you do. Volunteering is a great way to recalibrate your perspective. Feed the hungry or donate your time to a local homeless shelter. You’ll feel much more clear-headed afterward.