By Michael Lopez
Ok, so we've all recovered from our New Year's hangovers; now it's time to get serious. The cold hard facts are that over half a million workers were laid off last in year in corporate America. Do you want to be another statistic? We didn't think so. So break out the laptop and take a few notes because we've got five easy ways (and one not so easy) to give your career some upward momentum.
Polish That Resume
Whether you currently have a gig or not it never hurts to give your resume a nice facelift. Even if you feel nothing's changed since your last update, try completely revamping the structure. Use a new font, change around some bullet points or challenge yourself to cut it down to one page. Just the fact that you are retooling it can inspire you. Think of this task as a way to review what you've accomplished (and what you hope to accomplish in the coming year). P.S. -- it never hurts to spruce up that LinkedIn account as well. If you do this, be careful about appearing to look for another job when currently employed as it is not out of the realm of possibility for HR departments to snoop around employees LinkedIn accounts.
Yes, your work should speak for itself. But in today's climate, you've got to look the part if you want to succeed. So use some of abuela's Christmas money and buy yourself a new "corporate" wardrobe. Then make your way to the barbershop and get a nice, clean fade. It should go without saying that if you want to impress the boss man, you're going to have to leave the scraggly beards, beat up Nikes and Affliction t-shirts behind.
Start Networking More
Remember those coworkers from your old job? Now is the time to hit them up. As the New Year begins, it's important to reignite relationships. You don't necessarily have to grab a beer with everyone you had a college business class with (though that would be fun), but it is important to let them know you exist and that you're still a viable contact. Also, start searching online for local industry mixers in your field (trust us, they're out there). They are great opportunities to connect with employers and former colleagues.
Help Someone Else Along the Way
We've all heard the phrase, "pay it forward." Well believe it or not, it can actually turn out to be the most rewarding career goal of all. As you ascend the corporate ladder, make sure to take time to pass down some of your knowledge. Mentor an intern; help the new girl with the copy machine. You never know, someday they may be running the company and looking to give you a cushy VP slot.
Set Goals and Reward Yourself
There's nothing wrong with giving yourself a little pat on the back, especially after a job well done. As you plan your personal career goals for the year, set aside some incentives for each task accomplished. Maybe it's a fancy dinner, maybe its tickets to an NBA game. Whatever floats your boat put it on the list. It's a great way to stay motivated and heck, if you wind up running up the company, it's an excuse to buy yourself a brand new ride!
Keep At It
This is the not-so-easy way to career prosperity. Whether you're gunning for a promotion or raise, looking for a new job or interested in switching fields entirely, in today's uber competitive employment environment encountering obstacles will be inevitable. This is where the old adage "persistence over resistance" should come into play. Don't stop because someone says "no." Persist by continuing to try or finding another way to meet your goals. It won't be easy, but nothing worth having ever is.
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