Have you achieved all your career goals this year? Did you find that perfect job you were hoping to get? Are you satisfied with your job performance? We are in the end of the year Red Zone - the time to take a look back at 2009 and prepare for 2010. Here are 3 areas to look at NOW to improve your career next year. This is what I call the A, B, C's of Career Management.
A - Annual Review
Review last year's annual review and plan for next year's. Just as you change your smoke alarm battery on New Year's Day, make this an annual habit.
Did you get an Annual Review last year? Maybe it was in the beginning of the year, or perhaps it was in the summer. NOW is the time for you to dig through your files and find it. Look for areas where you got good marks and include that in your LinkedIn profile and wins list (see below). Now take a look at the areas for improvement you and your superior set out for this year. What have you done to move forward in those areas? If you have already shown improvement it may be time to shoot your boss an email indicating your progress. S/he will likely put it in your file so you can discuss it at your next review. Be sure to share your wins with you boss as well.
Focus on accomplishments (activities), not on responsibilities of the job. Accomplishments will help you stand out from the crowd.
EXAMPLE - a client told me she had re-organized the office supply purchasing process and ended up saving 50% on supplies. Great job! Even better, she asked her boss to put a copy of the proof for that activity in her file for her annual review, which doesn't take place until June. She helped her boss and herself by this little strategic move, and it didn't take more than a couple of minutes.
What could YOU have your boss put into YOUR file?
B - Brand Review
What is your personal brand? How do you want to present yourself when people think of you? Take a few minutes to look over and update your brand as it exists from the last year (or more). You may want to revise your USP (unique selling proposition), or update your collateral material (business cards, etc). Don't forget to update your blog and website. Perhaps add a twitter account.
Don't forget LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile is one of the most important tools you have in the job search. In today's world, potential employers and recruiters will Google your name to learn more about you - that's a given. LinkedIn helps your name and profile jump to the top of the Google search results. You might want to ADD or DELETE something from your profile to update it. (Remember to include the wins you find while cleaning out your files (below). It may be time to ADD or DELETE links from your profile. How about contacts? ASK FOR 3 RECOMMENDATIONS. Now is the time to do it, while you are still on the top of your customer's mind.
C - Customer Review
Go through and clean up customer Files. For many of us already to this the end of the year. As you go through your files trying to decide what to shred and what to keep, here are a few ideas that can help you improve your career.
- NOTE WINS - what did you do this year that you consider to be a win for your career? Keep track of these accomplishments and quantify the results as best you can.
- NOTE KEY CUSTOMERS/PARTNERS - who did you work with that might be willing to give you a recommendation?
- THANK THEM - you are already planning on sending out Holiday cards, aren't you? Why not include a brief note of gratitude for what they have done for you. Be as specific as you can. A hand-written note goes a LONG way these days.
- FIRE your 5 Worst Customers. If you are in sales, run your own company, or have clients you no doubt have some people who suck away your time and energy. They are never happy with what you do for them, and you probably aren't too happy to work with them either. Well, you don't have to. You are hereby granted permission to fire your 5 worst customers.
- REPLACE them with 5 new customers who fit your PERFECT CLIENT profile! You will glad you did!
What you do now, at the end of 2009, can help you propel your career forward in 2010. We hope these tips help you end the year strong, and begin the next with a bang!
I promise, doing just one or two of these things will move your career or job search forward! Doing all of them religiously every year will make you outstanding! What are you waiting for?