7 Work & Career Goals For You To Reach In 2016

With every New Year comes new opportunity, both in our personal and professional lives. We look forward to new memories with friends and family and to becoming more experienced professionals so that we can continue to progress in our careers. The New Year is the perfect time to take a quick pause and reevaluate your position in your professional life. Do you enjoy the work that you do? Would you like to be in a better position, and in the same industry? Are you satisfied with your pay rate?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then I am left to assume you have the greatest job in the world and cannot blame you for wanting to stay put. But if you answered yes to any of the above questions, the New Year is just the thing you need to shift gears and get your career in line with your professional goals. Updating your resume is a good place to start if you want to find a new job altogether, but if you do enjoy working in your industry and would like to further your career in said industry, here are seven goals for you to set for 2016 to further your professional development.

1. Get a promotion.

Obviously getting a promotion is one of the best ways to achieve longevity (so long as you don’t screw up in the new position!), and most of the goals on this list will likely help you get a promotion, so it seems only fitting to make this your first goal. In order to be considered for a higher position, however, you first have to be noticed. Try stepping up your game at work: show up a few minutes early and stay a little later, and volunteer for projects or assignments that come around from the boss or manager. If you start showing pride and passion in your work, you are sure to make an impression on someone.

2. Get a raise.

Getting a raise often times goes hand-in-hand with getting a promotion, but this is not always guaranteed to be the case. If you are comfortable in your position and have no intention of moving yet, but feel you have put in enough time and effort to warrant a small raise, let your manager know about it. Chances are your company would rather pay you a little more for being a loyal employee than go through the expense of interviewing, hiring, and potentially repeating the process if they refuse you and you decide to leave.

3. Go back to school.

If you have been working for a while and are looking for that extra edge to get a promotion in your industry, consider going back to school. There are many online universities dedicated to working professionals looking to pursue graduate programs (Capella University is right here in the Twin Cities), and an MBA or other degree can go a long way in furthering your professional career. Obviously the industry that you work in will play a big role in determining whether or not a graduate degree would be in your best interest. A salesperson, for example, might get more out of attending sales seminars and career-building events than going for a Masters degree, but I suppose it is entirely up to you in the end.

4. Learn a new skill.

If going back to school is not in your plan book right now, you can still continue to learn new professional skills that can help you advance your career. There are thousands of classes offered by various companies and organizations that offer professional skills development courses. Apple and Microsoft, for example, both offer classes on how to use new computer software and utilize professional tools like Excel, PowerPoint, OneLogin, and other such applications. Conventions and seminars that focus on professional development like leadership and management skills are also offered by many associations and businesses throughout the year, so be sure to take advantage of these.

5. Learn a new language.

Today, particularly in the United States, people from all over the globe are coming together to create new businesses, develop new technologies, and establish new friendships in the modern business world. In our increasingly diverse culture, one of the best ways to get an edge both personally and professional is by learning a new language. Taking the time to learn new languages not only shows your ability to dedicate yourself to learning a new skill, but also your willingness to be accommodating and respectful of others’ cultures. This can go a long way in helping you close business deals and form new partnerships, and it never hurts to have good business connections in various places on the globe.

6. Conquer your fears.

Promotions generally coincide with more responsibility, so if you hope to get into a higher position, you will have to put aside your fear of certain tasks, like managing other people, leading meetings, and organizing projects and activities for your team, and possibly the office or company. The best way to do this is to simply throw yourself into it. For example, if you have a fear of speaking in front of others, whether it’s a large crowd or a small room of people, force yourself to step up and speak during meetings with your boss or team. Once you have overcome your fears, there will be nothing stopping you from achieving whatever level of success you wish to achieve.

7. Develop work projects of your own.

Taking the initiative to propose new projects and ideas to your managers or co-workers can also go a long way in helping you move up at work. Even if you feel like you are not in an appropriate position to make such suggestions, taking the time to do so can show that you take pride in your work and that you enjoy working for your company and plan to stay. Try volunteering to lead a new project, or research a new project that you think would be beneficial for the company to undertake and write out a professional proposal to present to your boss or manager. Chances are they will be impressed at your professional attitude and level of enthusiasm, and will want to be sure to keep you around.