As many Americans return to the office after the three-day holiday weekend, it is as good a time as any to start in on those workplace New Year’s resolutions. What’s that? Your resolutions were about eating better and being a better saver? Well, it is never too late to think about how to make 2012 a better year when it comes to the job.
“This year could be a tipping point for the economy and the job market. Hiring was slow and steady in 2011, but it could accelerate in 2012. Conversely, the European economic crises, continued weakness in the housing market and government austerity measures could push us back into recession. Either way, you want to put yourself in the best position to take advantage of expansion or survive any dips,” said workplace authority John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
“For those resolving to find a new job in 2012, the constant barrage of lackluster employment news can make it seem like an impossible goal. It is not. The key to success is to take an active approach and make your own opportunities. A passive strategy of surfing Internet job boards and emailing resumes will be ineffective in this market,” advised Challenger.
There are several positive job-market indicators heading into the new year. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that as of November private-sector employers have experienced 21 consecutive months of net employment gains. Additionally, over the three-month period ending in October, employers hired an average of 4,083,000 new workers per month. At the end of October, there were still nearly 3.3 million job openings.
“Employers are definitely turning their attention toward retention and recruiting. However, this does not mean that employees currently on payrolls will start to feel like they have the upper hand. While, companies are concerned about losing talented workers, they also know that the labor pool is full of willing and able candidates. So, if you have a job, your workplace resolutions should be focused on keeping it, as well as putting yourself in a position for a possible salary increase or promotion,” advised Challenger.
“Those who want to keep or improve their positions in the new year are not going to do so by flying under the radar. It will take a more aggressive approach that goes beyond most people’s comfort zones.
“The other key to succeeding in your New Year’s job-related resolutions is to set specific objectives and reasonable deadlines for achieving them. Instead of making it your goal to find a new job, focus on the smaller steps needed to get that job. For instance, resolve to join a professional association or find other ways to meet 10 new people in your field,” Challenger said.
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2012 Workplace New Year’s Resolutions
For Finding a Job
Remain Positive. It is easy to get discouraged. Much of the job news is negative and the job search itself, even in the best economy, is full of rejection. It is important to remember that companies are hiring, to the tune of approximately four million new workers per month.
Join LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, et al. More employers are seeking candidates and advertising positions through social and professional networking sites. These sites also offer effective means of expanding one’s network. It is critical to create a professional profile and remember that even status updates can be seen by potential employers. Do not post anything that might eliminate you from the running.
Get involved with community service group. This is a great way to build your network as well as hone your professional skills.
Join a professional/trade association. These organizations can provide training and education opportunities and most hold several networking functions every year. The dues are worth their weight in gold if you meet a person at an event who can help you find a new job.
Meet 10 new people in your field but outside of your company. Building these relationships may help you in your current position and they will definitely help when you enter the job market.
Rev up your skills. Build upon your established skill set. Explore online courses and local certificate programs to broaden your industry knowledge, increasing your marketability to a variety of employers.
For Keeping/Improving Your Job
Seek more responsibility. Volunteer for challenging tasks and exhibit a take-charge attitude. By assuming additional responsibilities, you demonstrate how you can increase value for the corporation.
Meet your boss’s boss. At the next company event, go out of your way to meet those at least two rungs higher on the corporate ladder. They are the ones who can advance your career.
Join a company committee. Whether it is a committee developing new workplace policies or simply planning the company holiday party, joining or volunteering can help you build relationships with other people in your company whom you might otherwise never meet.
Find and/or become a mentor. Mentoring and being mentored provide perspectives and new ideas about career goals and how to achieve them.
Align individual and company goals. Evaluate your company’s goals and identify the similarities and differences in comparison to your personal career objectives. Look to bridge the gap in differences by attending meetings and company-offered development courses. This illustrates your willingness to be on board with the company’s future plans.
Discover ways to save money. Find ways to increase efficiency and performance while decreasing costs. This is especially important in a time when employers are looking for ways to reduce spending. You will be making a significant contribution to the organization’s profitability.
Become an expert on one facet of your field. It is important to be a generalist, but knowing more than anyone else on a specific issue or topic will help make you the “go-to” person for anyone in the company who has a question on that area. This specialized knowledge makes you extremely valuable and should be covered in your resume.
Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.©