As we enter the new year many lofty resolutions will be made: drink less, eat better, exercise more. If you’re one of the many people who isn’t satisfied at work, this may also include getting a new job. However, when things are going well, it’s equally important to set yourself career-oriented goals, so what better time to do this than the dawn of a new year?
To help you kick-start this process, welcome to Pitch’s festively themed 12 days of career detox.
1. Analyse your achievements over the past year
The New Year is the perfect time to take a step back and take a look at everything you’ve achieved over the past 12 months. This is an incredibly powerful exercise that has extremely broad benefits.
Firstly, if you are considering a career move, this allows you to hone in on those core skills and experiences you can offer a new employer. It also helps assess what you’re looking for in your next role and your next employer.
It’s also a brilliant exercise when it comes to looking at what you want to achieve in your current role over the coming year.
There are all sorts of questions you can ask yourself as part of this. Here are just a few examples:
What has been my proudest achievement this year?
What new skills have I learned?
What new skills would I like to develop?
Am I still feeling challenged?
What one piece of feedback have I received that I can use to be better next year?
2. Look at what you want to achieve in the year ahead
Now that you’ve looked at your achievements over the past year, it’s time to look at what you want to achieve in the year ahead.
It might be that you’re looking for a move, but it might equally be that you’re looking for a promotion, or to up-skill in certain areas.
Taking time to analyse your achievements, then plugging these into your aspirations is not only a fantastic way of creating an inner drive and focus, but it also helps create a powerful narrative for when you’re interviewing for your dream job or discussing your ambitions with your current boss.
Employers love it when employees (or potential employees) demonstrate this level of self-awareness and reflection and it’s often what separates the great from the good.
3. Update your CV.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a new role, an annual CV refresh is an extremely beneficial exercise. Think about it; if you’ve been in your current role for a few years, when was the last time you actually dusted it off & looked at what you’ve achieved since you last updated it?
Honestly, this is one of the best exercises you can do, even if you have no intention whatsoever of moving jobs. It’ll help you hone in on your core strengths, what you’ve achieved and where you’ve made a difference. It’ll also help you focus on areas you want to develop in order to achieve your career aspirations, which in itself is a powerful exercise.
For more detailed advice on how you should approach re-vamping your CV, check out our blog.
4. Update your portfolio
This one is more for the creatives that we work with, although it’s just as relevant to anyone in PR.
Think of your portfolio as your shop window. A well laid out and designed shop window draws people in and creates interest. A poorly designed one puts people off before you’ve even got through the door.
The same applies to your portfolio: the more time and effort you dedicate to honing it, the higher are your chances for attracting potential employers.
Good portfolios are always evolving, you need to be constantly on the lookout to ensure that it’s showcasing your best work. What’s more, your portfolio should create interest and tell a story even if you’re not in the room to present it.
So it’s good practice to always keep your portfolio updated, whether you’re looking for a new job or not. Every time you put a piece in, look at what can be taken out. We’re our own worst critics most of the time so learn to be ruthless with your portfolio and it will always remain strong and relevant.
Avoid the trap of putting every piece of work you’ve ever done in your portfolio. Keep it tight and as high quality as possible. Take a look at this blog for some help.
5. Improve your LinkedIn Profile
If you’ve not been in the job market when was the last time you took a look at your LinkedIn profile? Like it or not, LinkedIn is still the reigning king of professional social networks and maintaining a strong profile is crucial.
In exactly the same way that it’s important to keep your CV up to date and fresh, the same is true for your LinkedIn page.
Of course, it can help you stand out to potential employers, but it can also help you stand out to potential clients, partners or employees.
Once you’ve got it in good shape, why not set yourself a goal of making a new connection every week? There’s never a bad time to build your network and you never know what rewards it will bring.
6. Review your social media presence
We’d hope that by now it’s common sense to lock down your social channels to anyone you don’t want seeing what you got up to on that drunken night out in Kavos.
However, all too often this isn’t the case and as we move into 2018 it’s crucial that you give your social channels a detox, especially if you’re contemplating a new job.
What’s almost certain these days is that a potential employer (or client) will Google your name and see what comes up. So give that a try, see what comes up, then get things in shape by a few simple tweaks to profile photos, personal bios, political rants and so on.
7. Improve your mindset
We spend a lot of time obsessing over our skills, our fitness, our diets, what outfit we’re wearing to the Christmas party, but how much time do you spend developing a positive mindset?
Happy employees make good employees, which leads to more opportunities. So take time to detox your mind and invest in your mental wellbeing this new year and see what a difference it can make.
What’s awesome is that it’s even easier than ever to do this via the myriad of apps, youtube channels and inspiring TED talks that are out there.
If you’re looking for a recommendation to get started, our personal favourite is the Headspace app.
8. Get healthy
We couldn’t write a detox blog without a reference to health!
Seriously though, in the same way your mental health is important to your career aspirations, so is your physical health.
We’re not suggesting you should go out and start training for a marathon, but there are some super simple steps to start getting healthier, which will all add up and help you improve your wellbeing.
Start with fighting the dehydration caused by dry air-conditioned environments. Make sure you drink plenty of water to boost your concentration levels.
Other simple things you can do at work to get healthy could include using the stairs instead of the lift, going for a run at lunchtime, getting up and stretching every hour, or bringing in a salad instead of heading to the pre-packed isles.
Try setting yourself small, achievable health goals and you’ll be surprised the difference it makes.
9. Read more
Reading is by far the best way to expand your knowledge and perspective. Regardless of what you do for a living, there will be books out there that will help improve your performance, your habits, or your mindset.
All the best-known entrepreneurs and business leaders cite reading as one of their main habits for success. Whether it’s an industry specific blog, an inspiring autobiography, or a book on how to re-frame your thinking, there’s a ton of awesome reads out there.
Whether it’s staying up to date with all the latest trends in your sector, or learning new techniques to improve your work, we guarantee reading more will help set you apart and get ahead.
10. Improve your skill set
Even if you’re a specialist in a particular discipline like PR, from an employability point of view and from a career progression perspective, what employers look for is people who think broad and collaborate with other teams and departments.
So, constantly looking to improve your skill set by embracing new different tools, tactics and strategies helps you stay current.
Employers are far more interested in people who show a desire to learn new skills than those who work all the hours so they’re seen to be “working hard”.
The candidates who are snapped up quickly are almost always the ones who demonstrate that they’re always looking to stay current, always curious and always adaptable to any given situation.
This isn’t some gene these people are born with, they do this by constantly learning, reading and seeking out information, so make it your new year mission to enhance your skill set.
11. Polish your interview skills
Unless you’re in sales, the majority of people aren’t always comfortable with talking about what they do and how brilliant they are, for fear of sounding a bit brash or arrogant.
The bonus with this point is that honing how you sell yourself at interview is also a fantastic way of improving how you interact with colleagues and clients.
It’s important to prepare for the types of questions you may get asked and to do your background research, but it’s just as important to find a way of talking about accomplishments with genuine confidence and belief.
For more information on how to prepare for an interview check out previous blogs on our website.
12. Get Productive
Most of us feel like we don’t have enough time in the day and one of the key reasons for this is the volume of distractions we’re surrounded by.
By far the biggest distraction is all our social media feeds and one of the best things you can do to get productive is to turn off all the notifications on your phone. While you’re at it, turn off those distracting email pop up notifications.
The less your digital world demands your attention, the more you can focus on one task at a time, and the more you’ll get through. Let’s face it, if your job isn’t managing social media accounts, that photo from the weekend can probably wait to be liked!
You can also detox your environment - get rid of the clutter on your desk and all those files on your desktop. The less clutter in your life, the greater your ability to focus on the job at hand.
In summary. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your job and your career trajectory, by giving yourself a new year career detox and focusing on areas of personal and professional development, you’ll stop yourself falling into a career rut and keep yourself on track for the success that lies ahead.