The New Year is here. Are you ready? Here are three action items you can do now to help your career in 2012.
1. Update your resume with business results from 2011
The past quickly fades from view, and if you don't record your business successes — with numbers
— you won't remember what they were when you need them. Like when you're looking for a new job or going after that promotion within your company. Business results are the impact of your work on your business (small company) or department (big company). Saying that you worked on 20 projects over the course of the year doesn't mean as much as saying your programming work defined the inventory business rules that saved your company $100,000 in material inventory. Always define your results in business — not IT — terms. And if you don't have the numbers, now is the time to go get them, before everyone else who worked on the projects forget what was done and what results were achieved.
2. Know what your 2012 business goals are — and how you will achieve them
Most companies should have 2012 goals in place by now. Behind every goal, though, is the story on how you will achieve that goal
. If your business goal is to convert from one system to another, you should already have a plan for how to do that. It should define the timelines and the steps (or milestones) needed to do the conversion. Without a plan to achieve the goal, the goal becomes meaningless. Until your performance review.
3. Determine how long your job will last Every job ends
. It's just a question of when. Whether the company says your time is done, you say you can't stand this job any longer, or you believe it has become a dead-end, someone will decide that your job will end. You have the most influence and control over your circumstances when you forecast the end of your job. And as soon as you predict the end, that's when you should take action and start marketing yourself to land your next gig. Ideally, you should re-evaluate your situation every quarter — or monthly, depending on your circumstances. Most of us, though, don't make that forecast until it is too late. So evaluate your situation now and make a note on your calendar to review again later to see if it is still holding true. Based on my Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ streams, plus face-to-face conversations with my friends, it's clear that many people are happy to kick 2011 to the curb. With enthusiasm. But kicking a year to the curb doesn't change your circumstances; only your actions will. Taking these three action steps will help you start your career off right in 2012. Go get 'em.