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5 Tips to Jump Start Your Career in 2014

By Lauren Scott | January 14, 2014 | Careers & Culture

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By now, many of us have vowed to do a number of things in 2014. You may have resolved to be healthier and save more money. Those are important goals for sure. But don’t let your career take a backseat. These five pointers will help you jump-start your career with realistic advice you can use now.

  1. Self assessment. Take time to reflect on the successes you had in 2013, and start documenting your goals for 2014. Employers are looking for candidates who are able to articulate their accomplishments and who know where they want to go. Here’s a great place to get started with a self-assessment, including easy-to-use templates.
  2. Be proactive and maximize your potential. Work on maximizing your potential by knowing your strengths, looking for work gaps and offering solutions. Employers are always impressed with candidates who took  charge in leading a project or raised their hand when others would not.
  3. Get your resume together. If you’re thinking about a change in jobs, start updating your resume now. There are many sample resumes and templates available online to help you get started. Resume writing takes time and great attention to detail, so don’t wait until the last minute. After all, job postings can quickly disappear, and you don’t want to miss your opportunity.
  4. Make 2014 the year to build your network. Consider joining local industry groups, meet-up groups, volunteer boards or other organizations. If you’re uncomfortable starting up a conversation, remember that people always like to talk about themselves. Prepare some standard questions you can ask people about their background to get them talking. After the fact, remember to send a LinkedIn request to establish the connection and follow up regularly if it’s someone you want to get to know.
  5. Know your next move. If you’re interested in a career move, start researching now. You can use job boards like Monster or CareerBuilder to see what companies are hiring in your area and the types of jobs they are offering. From there, pick a few companies to target. Visit their website and “like” or “follow” their corporate social media profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook. Employers like an educated candidate who is prepared to explain why they want to work for their company.