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New Year, New Career Goals: A Canadian Professional’s Guide to Setting Career Goals

Ready for the New Year? You’ve probably renewed your gym membership and downloaded a few self-help podcasts to get a jump on those resolutions. But have you laid out your career goals for the next 12 months?

One study found that more than two-thirds of Canadians (69%) make New Year’s resolutions. However, most of those apply to personal goals (more than half involve fitness or health). Just under a third (32%) related to financial matters.

These stats suggest that not enough Canadians focus on their professional development while thinking about their goals for the new year. Don’t make this mistake. While you’re reviewing your objectives for the next 12 months, take time to consider your career as well.

How to Focus on Professional Development This New Year

Fix a Long-Term Target

The New Year offers an excellent opportunity to review your career. But that doesn’t mean you only want to plan for the coming 12 months. Rather, you want any evaluation of your professional development to incorporate your long-term goals.

Start by defining a long-term target. This might represent the same objective you’ve been chasing for years. Or maybe your circumstances have changed and you have something else in mind. Whatever the case, pick a prize to put your eyes on. From there, it gets easier to determine what you should try to accomplish over the next year.

Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Judging your career progression requires an honest look at the situation. You have to start with an almost philosophical approach. As such, it’s best to start with a well-known quote from ancient Greece: know thyself.

Take a look at what you can offer an employer. Look first at the short term, covering the coming 12 months. Also, review the kinds of skills you’ll need to add to become an even better candidate over time. From this assessment of your weaknesses, you can determine what you’ll need to work on over the course of the year.

Research the Market

Coming to grips with your strengths and weaknesses requires introspection. But you don’t just want to look inward. You have to review the realities of the market as well, looking out at the employment landscape you hope to conquer.

Research the current market. See if it’s a good time to jump to a new opportunity or if you should hunker down in your current role and wait for a better time. Also, discover what skills employers value most — this will further drive your decision-making next year.

Use Your Network

You know how useful a network can be in landing a new job. It serves a pivotal role in setting career goals as well. Your network offers an amazing resource for understanding the market and narrowing your professional focus.

Talk to the people in your network. Seek out veterans and decision-makers in your industry to get their input on where you should target your effort over the next year. For now, you’re only gathering information. But you never know…you might spark a conversation that will lead to a fresh opportunity.

Remember to Get SMART

As you craft your goals, you want to set them in the right way. Once you’ve done the appropriate research and begun talking to your network, it’s time to create specific objectives, both for the new year and for your long-term development.

When you get to this point, remember the SMART structure that lets you create achievable goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

Looking to Advance Your Career?

Ready to jumpstart your career in the new year? A recruiter can help. A top staffing firm, like Elby Professional Recruitment, will give you the support you need to achieve your goals.

Contact Elby today to start the next phase of your career.

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