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Guess what – we’re more than halfway through 2020! If you’re like us and wondering where the past 8 months have gone, now is a good time to focus on some self-development: to not only reflect on what we have accomplished so far, but also, more importantly, to think ahead about our goals for next year. There’s no place where doing that is more satisfying than in our careers. Not just because we spend the majority of our waking hours at work, but because having career-related goals are good for us — they give us direction, something to look forward to, and, in some cases, make us realize it’s time to find another career. We may be stuck at home due to COVID, but that doesn’t mean we should stop being #goaldiggers. Not sure where to start? Check out our list of top career goals every woman should set herself.
1. Work On Your Self-Confidence
Confidence is quiet, insecurities are loud – or so they say. In the last few months of the year, learn to be more confident in your own skin. Self-confidence can help you go a long way, especially when it comes to your career. Research has consistently demonstrated that being more confident in your professional life is the key to cultivating a successful career. Whether you need to take a course on building self-confidence or simply need to give yourself a pep-talk every morning in the mirror for five minutes, do it. Now is the time to get comfortable with your own decisions and become confident in your own skin.
2. Master Your Work-Life Balance
We often hear of the term ‘work-life balance’, but not many of us can pull it off. We live in a culture that glorifies work. With most of us working from home due to COVID, it has only become more challenging to avoid working all day and eventually succumbing to workaholism. This is why it is more important than ever now to set boundaries between our work lives and personal lives – not only for the sake of our mental health but also for the sake of those around us. As one of your career goals for next year, make a commitment to yourself to maintain a healthy work-life balance, whether that be through setting and sticking to strict schedules or learning how to say ‘no’.
3. Learn How To Say ‘No’
We are social animals who thrive on reciprocity. It’s in our nature to be socially obliging, and the word ‘no’ feels like a confrontation that threatens a potential bond. But when we dole out an easy ‘yes’ instead of a difficult ‘no’ we tend to overcommit our time, energy and finances. If you harbor people-pleaser tendencies, make it a career goal next year to take the driver’s seat of your life and start saying ‘no’. Some helpful strategies include, suggesting an alternative as well as saying you’ll get back to the person making the request later.
4. Find A Career Role Model
Having a role model or mentor to guide you through your career journey can be extremely helpful. A mentor can not only provide you with support, but can also give you constructive feedback so you are consistently improving. While in-person mentorship is fantastic, don’t forget that mentorship can also come in the form of books, webinars, and podcasts. If finding a mentor at work is not an option, pick out a couple of people in your field whom you look up to, and start reading their work and listening to their talks for inspiration.
5. Grow Your Professional Network
Networking isn’t only for entrepreneurs. If you’re already a solid networker, keep up the good work. If not, make it a career goal to start. Begin attending industry events. Make meaningful connections with people who work within and outside your sector. Actively reach out to people who work in organizations you would like to work for or who have roles you would like to transition into. Intimidated? You can always start by joining and contributing to an online professional community, such as girlboss and Elpha. Baby steps like these will help you build confidence.
6. Learn To Have Tough Conversations
We all have that one co-worker we avoid. Maybe they’re not pulling their weight on a team project, or perhaps they’re just generally difficult to deal with. Over the next couple of months, add to your emotional intelligence toolkit and pick up some skills for how to have hard conversations.
7. Ask For A Promotion
Whether that means asking for a higher position, a higher salary, or both, definitely make it a goal to ask for a promotion. Just make sure when you do, you have the examples of why you deserve that raise and tangible factors that show you’re an asset to the company.
8. Acquire Skills Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
We often gravitate towards things we’re good at. Year after year, we can rack up learning experiences in skills we actually love, leaving the trickier stuff for another day. As a career goal for the remainder of 2020, let’s commit to start some learning around the things a little outside of our comfort zones. Check out sites like Edx, Udemy, and Skillshare for free and low-cost classes on data science, design, and content creation. (Pssst. We’ve compiled a list of top online courses to advance your freelance career for you as well.)
Check out Rise for helpful career resources, tools, and more to navigate the changing world of work.