December 27, 2012
Conduct your own year-end career review
A lot of employers conduct year-end evaluations. That's because it's good to look back at the old before jumping forward into the new.
But maybe your employer doesn't do this. Or maybe you don't have an employer. No problem; you can still take advantage of this useful tool on your own. Here's how.
1. Did you set goals last January? Now is the time to haul them out. Measure the progress against the plan.
2. If you didn't set goals, think back. What did you have in mind for 2012? What came to fruition, and what did not?
3. Forget about your intentions for a moment and think about what you actually accomplished. Have you acquired new skills, made new connections, accomplished new deeds? Make a list.
4. Take a clear-eyed look at what didn't go well. What could you have done to avoid those bloopers? What are you doing to ensure they don't happen again?
5. OK, enough navel gazing; look beyond yourself. Compare yourself to the "norm." How do you measure up to others in the same field, at the same point in their careers?
6. Seek outside input. Do you have mentors? What do they think of your development? Do they have suggestions for how you could do better?
7. This might be the toughest metric of all: Are you happy? Does your career reflect your values, dreams, strengths and weaknesses? What could you do to bring it more in line with who you are and who you want to be? Seriously. Even in a period of low employment and high uncertainty, you are still allowed to consider your own sense of fulfillment.
Keep in mind you don't need to do all this at once. Take it in chunks. A little contemplation is an enlightening way to wrap up any year. So choose a time when you're well rested and in a good mood. Find a quiet spot, bring writing materials and get ready to ponder. You'll be that much more ready for 2013!
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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