Whether you're looking to land your dream job or transition to a different career, a new year represents a fresh start. And while traditional New Year's resolutions, like a desire to eat healthier or read more, are important, don't miss the opportunity to make New Year's career resolutions.
Here are a few to consider ahead of New Year's Eve.
Create or Refresh Your Resume
First, if you don't have a resume, be sure to create one. Your resume is your professional calling card, and a well-crafted one can open doors to exciting career prospects.
If you have one already, give it a thorough review to make sure it's fully up to date. Your contact information should be accurate and add any recent accomplishments. Per Indeed, a resume should only be one page in length for those with one to 10 years of professional experience. So take a critical look at older information that isn't relevant to the type of role you're looking to land. Do you really need to list the first job you ever had there? If not, delete and free up precious real estate for more important — and helpful — experience.
Finally, updating your resume doesn't just have to happen before the clock strikes midnight. Make it a regular part of your professional life as you advance in your career. Monster advises you to update your resume at such career milestones as when you start a new position, get promoted or pick up new skills.
Create or Update Your LinkedIn Profile
No matter how you feel about social media, it's hard to debate the value of LinkedIn for professionals. The platform boasts more than 950 million members around the world, so if you don't have an account, it's worth setting one up to increase your chances of finding your dream job.
If you have a profile, be sure to update it just as you would your resume. While other social media platforms like Facebook allow you to keep things more casual, you'll want to stay professional on LinkedIn. So definitely select a professional-looking headshot for your profile.
Craft a captivating summary that shares your professional story and showcases your unique value proposition. Then, remember that LinkedIn is a social platform, so connect with colleagues, mentors and industry professionals to expand your network. Engage with your network by sharing industry insights, commenting on posts and participating in relevant discussions.
Line Up References
Not every job you apply to will require references, but when they do request them, you want to make sure you have a few on standby. For potential employers, this is an opportunity to learn more about you beyond your resume and interviews — and decide whether they want to bring you on board. So you want to make sure you're putting careful thought into who you ask to serve as a reference.
Ultimately, you'll know best who in your life would do a good job fielding a potential employer's questions. But if you're looking for some pointers, Glassdoor singles out such authority figures as recent managers, college professors, high school teachers and coaches as good reference candidates. Just try not to use friends or family as your references unless they were also supervisors.
Remember to get your references' permission and contact information.
Seek Professional Career Assistance
Finally, know that you don't need to tackle your New Year's career resolutions alone. The AFBA career center provides help with career coaching, resume writing, LinkedIn profile development and more. So don't hesitate to reach out — and here's to a promising New Year filled with professional opportunities!