Yes, I hate it, too, when people mention Christmas in November. Let's at least wait until December!
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That said, it's never too early to start thinking about the new year when it comes to your career. In fact, there's never a bad time to be thinking about your career.
Let's be honest: Most people invest more time in planning their annual two-week holiday than they do in planning their career.
So, before you shoot the messenger and point out that I'm contradicting myself, know that now is the time to plan for your career in the new year – and here are two really great reasons why:
1. It's Time to Reframe Your State of Mind
Remember: Planning your career is not a chore. It is all about you! Strategizing for your successful future is something you should be extremely excited about! As Winston Churchill once said, "He who fails to plan is planning to fail."
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However, I won't deny that because it's all about you, it is a little scary. We're all pretty good at giving others advice, but when it comes down to our own futures, we tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. We are all struck by the same thought: "What if I plan something wrong or do something wrong?"
The thing is, you actually can't fail. Well, you can fail, but only when you stick your head in the sand and pretend this stuff does not matter. If you go down the wrong path, that's fine. It's a learning curve. You can always correct yourself. So stop making this complicated and just do it! Making those wrong turns will get you where you need to be!
So, a few questions to ask yourself as you begin planning: What do you want? Which company do you want to work for? What salary are you looking for? Do you have the relevant experience and qualifications to earn it?
If you're stuck on some of these questions, you may just need a little more guidance and someone to point you in the right direction. A career coach might be a great investment when you're thinking about your long-term choices!
2. Schedule Your Future – or It May Never Happen
Most people like the idea of planning a successful future, but when it actually comes down to finding the time to do it – well, that's quite another thing! The only way to plan properly is to schedule some time into your busy day to ensure that it actually happens.
Yes, I know I might be stating the obvious, but guess what? Most people talk a good talk but never get around to actually taking any action. If you keep thinking about something and never get around to doing it, that something will weigh on your mind. It will always be there just as you're trying to get to sleep at night – sitting somewhere in your subconscious and eating away at you. So, instead, just schedule it in and make it happen.
If you're not too sure where to start, or it all feels rather overwhelming, just break your planning down into bite-sized chunks. It's better to do something – even if it's something small – than it is to do nothing at all. Once you start, it gets easier. You'll be able to get some momentum going and work your planning sessions regularly into your daily routine.
So, schedule some time into your calendar right now, because it may never happen otherwise!
If you desperately want to get a new job, now is the perfect time to plan out what you need to do and the things that you need to consider. In addition to addressing the questions I posed above, you may want to revamp your resume and spruce up your LinkedIn profile. Just remember that the higher the salary you're looking for and the more senior the job, the better these documents need to be if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition.
If you are aiming for these more senior positions, it is better not to go it alone. While you're trying to figure out what works through trial and error, great opportunities could be passing you by. Many people don't realize they are suffering from what I call "CV shame." Check out the video below to learn more:
On a final note, planning can be fun to do. It doesn't all need to be hard work!
Many of you will know that I recently moved from London to Spain. Every morning, I like to set up career strategy sessions at my local cafe. As you can see, it's a beautiful place to work:
I regularly spend time charting out the things I need to make happen (both personally and professionally). It is not something that can be completed annually or every once in a while. I revisit my strategy regularly to tweak and amend where necessary. Life throws us plenty of curveballs, and we have to be ready for them!
Get Noticed, Get Hired.