The Importance of Setting Career Goals for the New Year

The new year is almost here, which means many people are thinking about New Year’s resolutions and the changes they want to make in the near future. It’s also a great time to think about your own career goals, especially if you’re starting to feel a bit stagnant.

Your Career, Your Goals

Every professional has unique aspirations and ideas about where they want their career to go. As the year winds to a close, think back. Are you where you thought you’d be five years ago? Is this where you truly want to be in your career? If the answer is no or even, “I don’t know,” you’ll want to set some small goals to help generate forward motion that will get your career going in the right direction.

Small goals are easy to achieve and will help you build self-confidence. Some goals that can help you advance in your field might include the following:

Learn Your Market Value.
You should always know how much salary you can command in your field and in your geographic location. Spend some time researching local salaries for your job title on sites like and Indeed to see if you’re getting paid a fair market price.

Develop a New Skill.
If your goal is to take a step up the ladder, what skills or knowledge are you missing that might keep you from getting there? Pick at least one skill to hone and enroll in a class to help grow your skill set and marketability.

Grow Your Network.
Networking isn’t always fun, but it can be tolerable if you take the right approach and if you start off slowly. Set a goal to make five new connections by March. You can join a professional group in your field, a trade organization or a local community business group. Attend some events and put yourself out there.

Apply for Jobs That Might Be Out of Reach.
If a new job is part of your career goals for the year, don’t be afraid to reach upward. Don’t apply for jobs completely out of your range, but take a few risks. You never know just what hiring managers are looking for.

Document Your Achievements.
It can be impossible to think back on all your achievements, so make it a goal to update your resume with new accomplishments in real time.

Focusing on small goals like these will help you build momentum in your career. A constant forward motion may not get you where you want to be by January 31, but it will increase the odds that you’ll achieve your overarching goal by this time next year.

Bonus Goal-Setting Tip: Partner With A Recruiter
If you have an idea of where you want to take your career, but you aren’t quite sure how to get there, a recruiter can be a valuable resource. They can help you understand your market value, they can match you with strong opportunities and help you take the next steps towards success.

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