10 career resolutions to make any time

Set your sights on career goals that are within your reach.

10 career resolutions to make any time

Use these tips to accomplish your career goals.

This past year has certainly been one for the history books! Most likely, the global pandemic has thrown your career goals or job search objectives off course. Not all is lost, however. According to a recent Monster poll, 47% of respondents have set new career goals for 2021—nearly half of them ranking a job search as number one. Take advantage of the momentum of the new year to get your career goals back on track.  

You know the drill: You set a goal (more exercise!), stick to it for a month (if you’re lucky), and then revert to your old habits. This doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail, but it does mean you need to be realistic. Your sights must be set on targets that are within your reach. Beware of biting off more than you can chew.

To help you increase your awesomeness in the next 12 months, Monster compiled 10 resolutions that are suitable for every industry and mid- to senior level workers, as well as 10 goals for entry-level workers—that are achievable at any time of the year.  

Mid- to senior-level career goals

1. Pay attention

If you’ve been doing the same job for a while, it’s easy to let yourself coast—and let your skills development fall by the wayside. The solution? Treat every workday like a school day. Adopt a growth mindset, aim to learn something each day—it doesn’t even have to relate to your skills set—just keep your brain in learning mode.

2. Look for the next rung

If you want to get promoted this year, don’t just sit back and wait for your boss to tap you on the shoulder. Create your own opportunities by meeting with your manager to get clarity on what you need to do to upgrade your position within the company. But remember to take small, achievable steps. All those small steps add up.

3. Make your boss look good

By helping your boss hit her goals, she’ll be more motivated to help you achieve yours. “Find out how your boss is judged and how she gets a bonus,” says Larry Myler, author of Indispensable by Monday. Oftentimes, these are financial targets, so understand how to help your manager hit them.

4. Pick projects with maximum impact

One of the best ways to gain visibility within your company and become known as a leader is by making noticeable contributions on big projects. Therefore, find out what high-profile projects are in the works this year, and ask if there are opportunities for you to play a part on them.

5. Stretch your role

The last thing you want to be is a hamster on a wheel at your job—clocking in and clocking out without pushing yourself. Make stepping outside your comfort zone one of your career goals. Take on new responsibilities to gain the experience you need to climb the ranks. Showing that kind of initiative will also make you more valuable to your employer. Come up with your own ideas, and work with your manager to implement them.

6. Manage up

Building a great relationship with your boss is paramount. After all, the person who signs off on your performance reviews can help or hinder your career trajectory. One approach to managing up: Find out what keeps your boss up at night, recommends Morag Barrett, CEO of HR and leadership consultancy Skye Team. Once you’ve identified these issues, make your manager’s life easier by offering to pitch in.

7. Manage across

Whether you get along with your co-workers can improve or impair your job performance, especially on group projects. To cozy up to colleagues, be a team player by giving co-workers credit when it’s due, engaging with your peers outside of work (doing so builds rapport), and providing these folks with emotional support during hard times. “If you can work more effectively with others, you’re going to build meaningful relationships that can help you long term,” says Joyce Russell, dean at the Villanova School of Business.

8. Be a better communicator

Want to be liked? Be a good communicator. That means returning emails and calls promptly, letting co-workers know what you’re up to, and asking people where they’re at on their own projects. Talk to people; give them a heads up when you’ll be unavailable so they’re not left hanging. And when someone helps you out, be sure to thank them.

9. Create work-life balance

All work and no play can make life a chore—if you’re miserable at work, your career could stall out. The moral? Work hard, but don’t wear yourself out. Carve out time for friends and family. And don’t forget to take your vacation days.

10. Be open to outside opportunities

Whether or not you’re not happy at your job, you should be expanding your career goals and keeping your eyes open for new opportunities regardless. You risk nothing by applying to jobs that seem like they’d be a good fit. Pressed for time? Need help? There’s a very simple solution: Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads.

Entry-level career goals

1. Ask more questions

Acknowledge that your college degree, while valuable, hasn't taught you everything you need to know to be successful in the world of work. If you don't understand something, say so—and then ask your more experienced colleagues for guidance. This will earn your colleagues' admiration by demonstrating your curiosity and willingness to say, "I don't know, but I'm willing to learn."

2. Reach out to colleagues you don't know

Don't wait for people you don't know to welcome you to the organization—seek them out and introduce yourself. This will show self-confidence, approachability, and respect for others, which in turn will help earn your colleagues' respect.

3. Find a mentor

Establish a collaborative relationship with a more seasoned professional in your field who can be a sounding board and support your career development, providing you the benefit of new career wisdom.

4. Document your successes

Create a spot (a digital portfolio/website, a Dropbox folder, or just a folder on your computer's desktop) where you can store proof of your professional activities and achievements, such as blog posts you've written, budgets you've developed, or educational plans you've created for clients. This will give you organized evidence of you accomplishments for both future employers and yourself.

5. Learn a new job-related skill

Your career goals should always aim to strengthen your soft and hard skills. Pick a skill area like writing, developing websites, or presenting to large groups and work on it by taking a course at a nearby college or university or through a local community education program to build on an existing strength or learn how to better manage a weakness. 

6. Volunteer to work on a challenging project

Look for or create a way to push slightly outside your professional comfort zone to gain new skills as well as the experience to help you climb the ladder within your current organization or advance elsewhere.

7. Build expertise in your field

Read industry publications and attend professional conferences when time and money allow, expanding your knowledge base and demonstrating your ongoing commitment to your chosen field.

8. Expand your network

Get involved in at least one professional association to meet people outside your own organization. Also, set up periodic meetings with fellow professionals in your area to learn about what they do and how. This will acquaint you with more people in your industry and help them get to know you so you can get (and give) career assistance when you need it.

9. Spot solutions as well as problems

Go to your colleagues and superiors not just to air concerns, but also to propose ways to effectively address them. Cultivate a reputation as someone who both sees and solves problems.

10. Get a life

Revive a favorite pastime or pursue a new one so your entire identity isn't built around your career. This will give you the type of work/life balance that will make this coming year a great one, both professionally and personally.

11. Polish your resume

One way to stand out from the competition is by having a strong, focused resume that lets hiring managers know you have impressive career goals on your mind. Could you use some help with that? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression.