I’ve got mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions. I like the “fresh start” feeling that January represents and the chance to renew commitments to our goals or make big changes to our lives. But the research on resolutions isn’t so great – in fact, only 8% of people who make a resolution manage to stick to it.
One way to take some of the pressure off is to start now. Begin your resolutions in December. It’s a strategy that allows you to take a few baby steps to create some momentum without the same pressure that you might feel on January 2.
If one of your resolutions is to restart your career after some time spent at home, now is a great time to get started. Here are a four (really easy!) baby steps you can take before January to get you started:
- Read your last-known resume: Notice I did not suggest that you update your resume. Updating your resume can be a daunting step. Especially after time spent away from your professional career. No, just read it. But I mean really read it. Plan to spend 45 to 60 minutes and take the time to go through each entry to remind yourself – What did you like most about that role? What did you like least? Who were your favorite colleagues?
- Reach out to a few former colleagues for lunch or coffee: Many people are away this time of year, but those who are around are usually enjoying a more relaxed schedule. Getting a lunch date – and one that extends beyond the usual rushed hour – can be a little easier. And people are in festive and generous moods, so you are likely to get great ideas and insights from the people you meet.
- Create a “business” card for the Brand of You: An important component to restarting your career is getting out into the world to meet people. The trick is staying connected to them after you meet. Does a business card sound old-fashioned? Maybe, but a simple card with your name, email address and mobile phone number will help increase the chance that you’ll hear from your contact again. Bonus: handing someone your business card often prompts them to hand you one which gives you the ability to follow up with them more quickly. Vistaprint, Moo.com, and Minted all offer chic and inexpensive options. And they are fast. Put an order in this week and you are likely to have them by New Year’s Day.
- Sign up for networking events: One way to create momentum for a resolution is to have a plan going into January so you have a running start. Look for events in the early weeks of January that will give you a chance to meet people in your field, meet recruiters and reconnect with former colleagues in a professional environment. Signing up for an event will also give you the nudge you need start updating your resume, too. Plus, you will have a place to hand out your new business cards!
That’s it! Actually, do any ONE of these and you will be on your way to creating positive momentum for your January job search. If you are looking to restart your career, be sure to sign up for the Path Forward newsletter. We’ll be announcing openings for Path Forward internships as soon as they become available throughout the year.