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Stepping Up Your Professional Business Game

With the dawn of each new year, many people make declarations about resolutions to which they plan to commit. From losing weight to reading more books, many of us decide that the new year will be the start of our new selves. Many resolutions are often worthy, if not lofty goals that if most people will abandon before the end of the first month. These new goals usually require dramatic shifts in habits that we truly haven’t resolved to do. While personal objectives are worthy of the effort, consider focusing your energy on professional improvement this year. Here are a few tips that can lead to professional growth, promotion and personal satisfaction.

Dust Off That Resume

Most people don’t think about their resume until they’re actively looking for a new job or find themselves forced to due to layoffs. Your resume shouldn’t be something you think about when you’re on the job hunt. Wisdom says that the job hunt never really stops and that at any moment, a new opportunity may present itself. Don’t get caught out there. Commit to regularly updating and refining your resume to reflect new achievements, new skills acquired and new responsibilities. Many employees are required to do annual performance reviews which require reflection on the past year. This is a good time to update your resume to include your accomplishments and growth.

Educate Yourself

Some industries such as nursing, engineering and law require practitioners to complete continuing education as a way to stay up to date on changes and new knowledge within their respective fields. Various companies offer industry-specific online courses you can take and receive professional development or continuing education hours as part of a licensing requirement. Even if you are not required to take courses, consider taking classes to acquire new skills or certifications. Whether you change jobs or stay put, skills are often transferrable and add value to your credentials.

Dress It Up

Popular wisdom says that you should dress for the job that you want, not the job you have. Unless you’re required to wear a uniform, most companies expect business or business casual attire. You may work in an environment where you’re not required to dress up, but dressing up may be a great way of standing out. It can also signal to your bosses that you are focused and committed not only to the job, but future advancement. Dressing up doesn’t always mean throwing on a tie or business pumps. Even something as simple as patterned socks helps you stand out positively. Taking pride in your appearance shows others that you are serious about the work you do.

Create a LinkedIn Profile

These days many professionals from all industries have a profile on LinkedIn. LinkedIn and other business-focused social media platforms are a great way to connect with people in and out of your industry. If you already have a profile on LinkedIn, be sure to keep it updated just as you would with your resume. It’s a great opportunity to stay up on industry trends and the happenings with your colleagues and other connections. You can search for people who work at a particular company or graduated from a particular school to make connections that could result in opportunities for employment, collaboration and entrepreneurship. Many users have acknowledged that they were made aware of a new job thanks to a LinkedIn connection. Several recruiters and headhunters use the platform to look for users with specific work experience and expertise to staff jobs.

Show up to Networking Events

Although social media makes it possible to develop and nurture meaningful connections, nothing beats face to face interactions. Many industries have professional organizations that sponsor industry or locale-specific events such as luncheons and seminars which allow you to connect and expand your professional networks. Take advantage of these events as a way to meet new people, gain new insights and deepen your awareness and knowledge of industry news and issues. Consider formally joining professional organizations that relate to your industry and volunteering. You may even make connections that lead to new employment and greater income. Bring plenty of business cards!

When it comes to professional New Year resolutions, small, consistent habits can result in huge possibilities. Professional improvement ultimately results in a better you. You acquire more knowledge, you make new business acquaintances, and you engage in practices that make you better at whatever you do. Personal goals such as losing weight and engaging in self care are worthy goals, but don’t neglect your professional life in the new year.

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