Following the busy festive period, this week, most of us are settling back into our everyday working routines. The start of a new year is a key time for making changes in our lives and January is often a time for self-reflection. Over the next few weeks, many of us will be thinking about what we’ve achieved over the last 12 months and our aspirations for the year ahead.
For some, this reflection can lead to a craving for a change of direction. Making a career change ranks high on many people’s list of New Year’s resolutions; each January, 40% of employees are tempted to dip their toe in the jobs market and explore new opportunities.
Compared with the hectic run-up to Christmas, January offers some downtime during which you can start preparing for the months to come. Whether you’re looking to move on from your current role or not, there are 5 steps you can take to stand yourself in good stead for the next 12 months and make this year your best yet.
1. Refresh your CV
Even if a new job isn’t at the top of your agenda for 2018, it’s important to keep your CV and LinkedIn profile up-to-date. Each time you change roles or receive a promotion, you should ensure that both your online and offline CVs reflect this.
It’s much easier to update your accomplishments periodically when they’re fresh in your mind rather than attempting to add in a couple of years of experience all at once in preparation for making a career move down the line.
It’s particularly important to make sure that your LinkedIn credentials are up-to-date. As many as 94% of recruiters use the platform for recruiting and, because nowadays, more and more employers are recruiting passive candidates, you never know who will be checking you out online.
2. Enhance your skill set
Self-development is one of the most valuable ways you can improve your career. Not only will learning new skills and sharpening existing ones help you to feel more personally fulfilled, but it will also boost your professional value. It’s also important to note that many firms want employees who are motivated to learn new things even more than they want employees who work long hours.
Take a course, work towards a professional qualification, volunteer or improve soft skills like leadership or communication. Not only will doing so help boost your career, but building upon your skillset will give you more to talk about at interview should you eventually choose to enter the jobs market.
3. Be positive
While you’re always going to have bad days at the office, do your best to keep up your energy and have a positive attitude at work. By improving your mindset and demonstrating your interest and enthusiasm, you’ll be more productive and engaged at work. Look after yourself; exercise, get plenty of sleep and spend time with friends and family outside of working hours to improve your mood to help you feel refreshed and mentally prepared for the office.
4. Expand your network
Startlingly, 85% of jobs are filled through networking, so if you’re in the legal jobs market, expanding your network is essential. However, regardless of whether you’re planning on changing roles, building and maintaining a solid professional network is one of the most important things you can do for your career. Grow your network by reach out to former colleagues, classmates and acquaintances and follow up with those you’ve met at meetings and events.
Seize networking opportunities such as conferences or training days. Not only will doing this give you a break from the office and a chance to relax and socialise, but connecting with like-minded individuals can present exciting professional opportunities that can make your work life more fulfilling and enjoyable.
By attending these events, you might find yourself forming meaningful friendships with peers from other firms. Alternatively, you might be lucky enough to come across a mentor, someone with valuable experience in your field who you can turn to for help and advice throughout your career.
5. Read more
While you should already be aware of the key developments taking place in the legal industry, making a concerted effort to keep up with the latest trends will help set you apart from your peers. Reading key legal news sites like The Law Gazette on a regular basis or subscribing to a legal blog will ensure you’re abreast of changes taking place and demonstrate your commitment to your career.
Even if you’re happy with your current role and the way your career is developing, to maintain your success and remain fulfilled in your working life, focusing on your ongoing professional development is essential. Whether this something you implement on your own or with the help of a career coach, investing time in your personal and professional growth will pay dividends in the long-run.
If you’re looking for a change in direction, our friendly specialist consultants are ready to help you. Check out our jobs page to view our latest opportunities or get in touch today by calling 03300 245 606 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org