New Year: Time for Change!

By Lori Smith

It is a long-held tradition to celebrate with family and friends to ring in the New Year and to make New Year’s resolutions. Each year people hope for a better year than the one before, a new year that encompasses health and happiness. While we are not certain about what exactly the year ahead has in store for us, we can be relatively sure that it will involve change. This is a perfect opportunity to reassess your career planning. To get started, conduct a Personal SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) on your current position.

Strengths/Weaknesses: Identify your strengths. Think about your values, interests and skills. What differentiates you from the competition? How can these help you obtain a position or advance in your current position? Next, identify your weaknesses. What are some things that you could do better or need to learn? Do these impede your ability to advance in your career? Do you need to further your education, obtain certifications, or complete an internship to meet your goals? These are things that ARE under your control.

Opportunities/Threats: Recognize and search out opportunities which can propel your career. Is there a position opening that you would like to apply for? Do you have an opportunity to make a connection which can help you in your career? Take advantage of these chances by taking action and making the necessary change or commitment. Detect any threats that are out there which can stand in the way of your career goals. Is the outlook for your field bleak? Is there a large amount of competition? What can you do to avoid these threats? Although opportunities and threats are both things that ARE NOT under your control, how you react to them is.

Now that you have a better understanding of your current position, you are ready to make necessary changes and strengthen your strategic career plan. Work on your personal branding to make sure it highlights your strengths and is in line with your career goals. Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and listen to Nacie Carson, CEO of Working Life Media, LLC. Nacie also is the author of, The Finch Effect, a book about personal branding and making the most out of opportunities. I would highly recommend this as a resource in your strategic career planning.

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