Three tips to achieve your career goals and ambitions in 2016

Writing your goals down and sharing them with a friend could increase your chances of success by 33 per cent (Source: Getty)

If you're feeling fed up just seven working days into 2016, you aren’t alone. Research by CV-Library found that almost one in three of us return to work in January feeling unhappy about our job.

The study, published in December, estimated that 7.7m workers in the UK were considering leaving their post in the new year. More than half of people surveyed said they were making a career-related resolution, and nearly half of those (46 per cent) said that this would involve finding a new post.

Here are some tips for planning your career in 2016.

TAKE STOCK

“The start of the year is a good opportunity to take stock of your performance during the previous year, and set a fresh agenda for the coming year,” says Hakan Enver, operati ons director at Morgan McKinley. “Good employers will have annual reviews to discuss your goals and development plans.” But reviewing your own goals privately, especially if you’re unsatisfied in your current role, is also a good idea.

Thinking about change is not enough. Research by the Dominican University of California’s Gail Matthews has put scientific weight behind the claim that you are more likely to achieve your career ambitions if you write them down. Your list should answer very specific questions, such as “how much money do I want to make?” to allow you to outline specific goals.

It may sound excessive, but Matthews concluded that those who shared their list with a friend, and sent them weekly updates on their progress, were on average 33 per cent more successful in achieving their stated ambitions than those who simply formulated them.

KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS

You won’t achieve those career goals unless you know how to market yourself. And probing your own work experience to identify sets of personal, transferable, and work-specific skills is difficult for anyone.

View January as the time to update your Linkedin profile. The interactive format will allow you to interrogate your own abilities, and the suggested lists of skills may encourage you to be more forthcoming.

“Last year, we saw organisations offer increasing diversification in job opportunities, and those with additional professional qualifications and behavioural skills were put at the top of the pile,” says Enver. “You can really benefit from assessing your own skill set.”

LATERAL MOVEMENT

At one time, the only movements on the corporate ladder were up or down. But it is expected that today’s workers will hold between eight and 10 different positions during their careers. And with the new year upon us, you may be considering a lateral move into a different department, sector or even industry, and there are a number of issues to think about.

Cathy Benko, vice chairman at Deloitte and author of The Corporate Lattice, believes that the number of future choices offered by a move is a good way to determine whether it is worth it. This kind of cost-benefit analysis is important, especially because you risk poisoning the well with your employer.

But it can be easy for us to confuse lateral moves with stasis. You might benefit from a sideways shift if it allows you to learn new skills, and doesn’t simply involve applying those you’ve already learnt to a different business context.

Monika Hamori, professor at IE Business School in Madrid, warns that certain lateral moves are “deadly”. She told the Harvard Business Review that you should be reluctant to accept a position “across the same job function or the same product division,” because such vacancies won’t allow you “to acquire a relatively new skill set.”

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