Goals photo from ShutterstockWe are approaching the end of the year. This means it is time for planning our New Year’s resolutions. Every year companies plan their future growth, sales and income expectations. Similar to companies, I believe every year people should plan their career growth and expectations as well.

Start thinking what you want to achieve in the New Year for your career. For example; maybe you are a manager for a few years and you believe that it is time for you to get promoted to the next level. Then, plan what steps you need to take to achieve this goal in 2014. If you are not happy with your current job, you can consider taking a new position within your current employer. You have more chances of achieving your goals within your current employer since there are people who know you and the company has already invested in you.

First, identify a position that interests you within your current employer. Afterwards, find the hiring manager and the other employees working for him so that you can establish a relationship with them. Finally, convince them that you are the best candidate for that position. However, if you are working for a smaller company which there aren’t any interesting roles for you or if you need a bigger career change, then you should definitely start applying for positions at other employers in 2014. Make sure your personal brand is up-to-date such as your LinkedIn profile, your resume and cover letter before applying.

Career growth is not only about changing your job. It is also about your personal growth as well. Plan how you want to improve yourself in 2014. Think about your weak points compared to your peers/coworkers and invest in yourself. Consider the below alternatives to improve your personal brand:

  • Learn a new language or refresh the second language that you learned in high school/college. There is a Turkish saying that I really like. “One who speaks only one language is one person, but one who speaks two languages is two people.”
  • Continue your education. If you have Bachelor’s degree, you can start taking classes for a Master’s degree. Most universities have evening classes for busy professionals. If you don’t have the time to physically attend a class, you can also consider online degree programs.
  • Get certified. If you don’t have time for a new degree, you can consider attending professional certification programs that can help you get ahead of the competition.
  • Start networking. You can attend industry events, seminars and conferences. These are great for following the trends and innovations in your industry and network with other professionals in your area.
  • Finally, read, read and read. Read newspapers, magazines, self-improvement books, articles, etc. Basically, read anything you enjoy and expand your vision.