There are tons of important things to think about over the leisurely holidays, but with a new year approaching, career goals are probably near the top of the list. So, here are three super simple ways that you can…
…and then get back to Netflix, skiing, or consuming the last of those amazing pretzel-shaped holiday butter cookies.
Really though, your career doesn’t have to be a daunting thing to think about in 2019. The biggest progress often comes from taking small steps consistently. So, here are a few you can take right away to get 2019 started on the right career foot:
1) Fill your inbox on purpose.
If you don’t find lots of career-relevant information in your inbox already, there’s an easy solution: start subscribing to updates and newsletters from groups that are engaged in the career paths you want to know more about. Remember, you can always unsubscribe if the mail gets annoying.
Search for Meetup groups, Facebook groups, LinkedIn discussion groups, and networking groups that are specific to your community. Many organizations serve as hubs for specific interests, like community arts centers, nonprofit advocacy programs, or professional associations. Do a Google search of your interest and region to see what comes up. If a cursory review of the website appeals to you, sign up for updates to keep in the loop about opportunities you can take advantage of, like volunteering with an organization you’d like to get a foot in the door of, classes that will help you build a skill for the job you want next, or social events for people in the profession you’re investigating.
(If you’re wondering, “Does this really work?” my answer is YES! Subscribing to a faculty listserve when I wasn’t technically “faculty” introduced me to a call for proposals for new study abroad programs. I ended up co-designing a 3-week immersion in Scotland with a professor and colleague, and it was selected in a competitive process to be piloted with students. Technically it was work…but paid to go to Scotland? Mmmhmm. So, connecting to sources of opportunity and ideas can indeed lead you in awesome new directions.)
2) DJ your downtime.
Use your downtime for professional development. While you clean your apartment you can tune in to a podcast related to your field of interest, gathering interesting conversation starters for your next career-related event . You can harness the power of your daily commute by finding a podcast that expands your knowledge and builds your skills.
Take 10 minutes to check out The Art of Charm, The Art of Manliness, Michael Hyatt, Emma Gannon at Crtl Alt Del, Ahiyana Angel’s Switch, Pivot, or Quit, or Being Boss and download a few episodes for future downtime.
(Does it work? Ok ok, honestly, I’m a reader more than a pod-caster. But the same idea applies. I just read Dr. Atul Gawande’s book “Being Mortal” about end of life care. A week later I reconnected with an old college friend who, to my surprise, had just certified as an End of Life Coach. Thanks to the book, I’m looking forward to much richer conversations than just “Huh?” or “Oh how sad...how do you bear it?” )
3) Reach out to a weak tie.
Weak ties are people who are on the peripheries of your social circle, whose lives overlap just slightly with yours, spending most of their time with very different crowds and communities. This part of your network is a goldmine of opportunity.
Why? Our besties, or “strong ties,” are often so close to us that they have access to nearly the same information we have already. Weak ties, however, are usually different enough that they have access to other sources of information from reading different blogs, spending time with different social networks, and attending different events.
This group will have ideas and connections you’ve never considered, and never knew existed. Sometimes those valuable exchanges of information happen spontaneously, but other times, they need to be coordinated. Reach out to someone you know casually through your gym, church, book club, favorite tea shop, or other groups you’re loosely connected to. Invite them for a casual coffee or lunch date, to learn more about their background and career interests.
You never know where these conversations will go…their uncle just might be specialized in the medical profession you’ve been curious about, and conversely, you might know the talented-but-inexperienced photographer they’ve been trying to find for a low-cost gig.
(Does it work? Yep. I was interviewing some young women for a research project recently and one of them was an especially creative photographer, still finding her way through college, with ambitions to work in the print magazine industry someday. Well, I just so happened to know another woman, a few years ahead in her career, who worked for an award-winning LA-based mag. In this example, I was the “weak tie,” and was glad to connect them for some mentoring. You can invite this magic into your life by setting up coffee dates to intentionally explore those intersections of interest, rather than waiting for serendipity to bring them along.)
If you’d like more ideas for easy actions with big impacts, you can download the full Career Experiment (called “Take One Step in 10 Minutes or Less”) for FREE right here. (The password arrives via email 2 seconds after you sign up ;) )